I could use some help picking colors to complete a set. [Archive] - Artist Forum

: I could use some help picking colors to complete a set.

03-10-2019, 05:24 PM
I started watercolors a few months ago and have begun to advance past fooling around to studying color theory and technique.

So far I've been using an inexpensive 24 color set that I bought to practice with. I also, in my enthusiasm and while I had the money to spend, purchased 19 individual Van Gogh tubes to use once I got a little better. That day has come.

Before I crack them open I would like a few suggestions on which essentials I may be missing or really-nice-to-have's to add to my set. Try to keep it around 4 or 5 if you can and let me know which category each color falls under (fairly essential or luxury).

This is what I have so far:

Madder Lake Deep 331
Permanent Red Deep 371
Quinacridone Rose 366

Permanent Lemon Yellow 254
Azo Yellow Medium 269
Yellow Ocher 227

Permanent Orange 266

Permanent Green 662
Viridian 616 (heh, I wonder if that's what they use to paint the Hulk)

Cerulean Blue 535
Cobalt Blue 512
Ultramarine Deep 506
Indigo 533
Permanent Blue Violet 568

Burnt Sienna 411
Burnt Umber 409

Payne's Grey 708
Ivory Black 701

Titanium White 644 (this one is actually Winsor & Newton brand since the Van Gogh version is slightly toxic)

Thank you in advance.

04-06-2019, 09:06 AM
Hi Vorshack,

You'll find - by adding Aureolin [essential], Rose Madder [essential] and Transparent Brown Oxide [ essential] - that in combination with Cobalt Blue, Veridian and Payne's Grey ... you can paint some amazing work.

Best regards

PS - you'll find a color wheel invaluable in working with these colors.

04-06-2020, 09:10 AM
I substitute Neutral Tint for Payne's Grey. It gives watercolour work a different overall colour cast. Payne's Grey I find is too blue. Just a personal trait!

I use mostly the following colours:

Primaries: Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Aureolin, Indian Yellow, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson.
Earth Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sepia.

(Designers White Gouache). I also have Cerulean Blue kicking around as it's good for evening skies.

Hope that helps.


05-11-2020, 12:41 PM
An artist's palette is a very personal choice. A specific pigment that is essential for one artist will be nice to have for another, and avoided at all costs by a third. Overall palette is the same, so, instead of picking specific colors, decide what will be painted. Landscapes, seascapes, portraits, still lives, etc, each have their own range of colors.

Better, maybe, to decide on what to paint and then choose six basic colors for that palette - one cool and one warm of each of the primary colors. Maybe a white, but even that isn't necessary, and no black - mixing one's own black opens up so many doors.