Whether you are just starting as an artist or already a professional painter, a good watercolor palette’s prominence cannot be overlooked. A palette gives you a great working space where you can mix and match different shades and be more creative with your work.
Additionally, these come in a plethora of sizes, styles, and materials. If you are worried about the maintenance, then you can be rest assured as watercolor palettes are very easy to clean.
Considering that they are a must-have, you will find tons of options for a watercolor palette. The myriad of options is likely to leave you perplexed, especially if you are a beginner.
But here we are sharing a detailed review of the top watercolor palette to make the buying process easier and more informed.
Top 10 Best Watercolor Palette
1. GenCrafts Watercolor Palette
This is a premium product from GenCrafts that is highly preferred by professionals. The reason is simple – each individual pan in this watercolor palette is removable, allowing artists to set their workspace the way they want and with the exact colors they need.
The best thing is that the set includes 48 premium watercolors, which can be refilled again as per your requirements. The paint that comes in the set half pans. However, the modules are adjustable, and you can remove them if you want to put full pans in the box.
It is an intelligently designed palette, particularly for those who love to paint on the go. The palette is incredibly portable and is engineered to be leak proof. You can carry it around to places with ease thanks to the convenient storage case included with the set.
What we like the most is the refillable brush pens with two different brush tips for short-controlled strokes and bold strokes, among other types of design.
The manufacturer has also included a watercolor paper pad that you can easily carry in the case. The pad comprises 15 watercolor pages, allowing you to create and express your ideas at every moment.
- 15 Watercolor papers included in the palette set
- Comes with 48 vivid, vibrant colors
- Each pan in the palette is adjustable
- 2 refillable water brush pens with different tips
- Includes a portable carry case
2. MEEDEN Watercolor Palette Paint Case
If you want versatility, then MEEDEN has a perfect product for you. This tin palette allows you to create your own paint set for different projects. It is painted with enamel – black on the outside and white on the inside – making it sturdy and reusable for prolonged years.
The empty tins are suitable for two different sizes of watercolor pans – one with a capacity of 1.8 ml and the other with a capacity of 2.8 ml. The manufacturer has included extra watercolor pans in the set so that you can add more colors as per your requirements.
Most importantly, there is room for a brush and extra pans inside the tin case. Based on how you add the pans, you can personalize the watercolor palette as per the project requirements.
For mixing colors, there are 4 medium fold-out mixing areas. And if you remove any one of the pans, you get one extra mixing space.
The tin palette has a sleek design, making it easy to hold. You can take it anywhere where art takes you.
All you have to do is fill the pans with your favorite watercolors, mix up your custom shades, and paint. The 24 pieces and half pans are enough to explore your different color needs for a particular art.
- 24 pieces half pans for easy creation of paint sets
- High-quality tin palette box with enamel coating
- Separate mixing areas included in the box
- Extra room for pans and brush
- The case is incredibly portable and travel-ready
3. Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolor Palette
Kuretake is a popular Japanese brand that designs and manufactures art products for professional artists and crafters.
Its Gansai line of watercolor pallets is loved across the globe. Gansai is a traditional Japanese watercolor that utilizes colors based on those seen in nature. You can use it for creating sketches, Sumi-e, and illustrations, among other things.
You will absolutely love painting with this watercolor palette that includes 36 Gansai colors, 12 of which are the newest additions.
The colors are vivid and opaque. The difference between your ordinary watercolor and Gansai is that ordinary watercolors are slightly granulated, whereas Gansai colors are ridiculously smooth. And the best part is that they dry with a shiny finish.
The pans, on the other hand, are much larger in this Gansai Tambi watercolor palette, allowing you to use both large and small brushes without any hassle.
To help you understand the color differences, the manufacturer has included a palette and color chart. The color chart allows you to swatch the colors and distinguish between them quickly.
There is a protective sheet included in the box that keeps the pans from shifting. You can also use it as a palette mixer for mixing colors and coming up with your own unique color palette.
If you are a professional artist with a greater understanding of different colors and palettes, then this could be an ideal watercolor palette for you.
- Gansai colors are bright, quick-dissolving, and offers clean blending
- The colors are ideal for Sumi-e, illustration, sketching, etc.
- The protective sheet included can be used as a palette mixer
- Gansai pans offer great brush dexterity
- Comes in 36 unique colors
4. Portable Painter Watercolor Palette
For artists who are always traveling, this is a pocket-sized watercolor palette that fits in your pocket just like your smartphone.
It transforms from a smartphone size to a watercolor palette system within minutes for you to use it anywhere while on the go. Its ease of use makes it an ideal watercolor palette for artists who take their art everywhere they go.
At first glance, it looks like a simple container that opens and closes like a pencil box. But, a lot of thinking has been put into its design.
For starters, it has detachable water containers for mixing and blending colors. It also acts as the watercolor palette stand when you are painting outdoors, making it quite convenient.
The manufacturer has included 12 detachable empty half pans to hold your favorite solid and liquid colors. Also, the palette comes with several mixing wells where you blend different colors for your artwork.
As a bonus, the company has included a versatile synthetic double-sided brush – one of size 2 and the other of size 4 – for a hassle-free painting experience. There is a separate space inside the palette where you can store the brush.
- 12 detachable half pans with an adhesive base
- Two detachable water containers that also acts as a sturdy pedestal base
- The set includes a double-sided synthetic brush of dual sizes
- The container has 13 mixing wells for color mixing and blending
- It is the size of a smartphone that easily fits in your pocket
5. Mijello Airtight Watercolor Palette
For budding artists who are learning the art, this is a reasonably priced watercolor palette from Mijello.
What’s special about it is the palette is an airtight box, so even if you have some color left after the project, you can reuse it for other projects as well. Simply put, the colors won’t dry out when stored inside this container.
Don’t go for its small size because there are 18 color slants and two large mixing areas for a hassle-free painting experience. The best part is that the container is leak proof. So, when you carry it around in your pocket or bag, it won’t leak any water or residue.
It is made from high-quality acrylic that is rigid and only weighs 8 ounces. This watercolor palette is designed to last longer. In fact, the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on the product, excluding the fabric on the acrylic surface.
Aesthetically as well, it is quite impressive to the eyes and thus; perfect for school and college children.
It is available in blue color, but there are different variants within that. After use, the colors are easy to wash off. Simply put it under running water, and your color palette will be fresh as new.
- A pocket-friendly design for a hassle-free carry
- Airtight and leak proof protects colors inside
- Has 18 color slants and two large mixing areas
- The tray can be removed for convenience
- Made of high-quality acrylic
6. John Pike Palette for Watercolor
John Pike watercolor palette is not the regular palette that you see around beginners and hobbyists. Professionals use it for a specific need – mixing. While it has 20 wells, John Pike watercolor palette is known for its incredible mixing.
It is a large palette and does the mixing process better than any other palette you will see on the market.
All the wells are placed on the corners of the rectangular palette, and in the center, there is a gigantic mixing area. With that being said, it is perfect for studio use.
It is made using injection-molded plastic and offers durability and great versatility. The plastic material offers a smooth surface to facilitate quality mixing.
The manufacturer realized that no bells and whistles are necessary, so they made it a truly minimal palette.
So, if you are an artist who has always struggled to mix the right combination of colors, this watercolor palette will give you enough room to practice.
And the best part is that the 20 wells give you the option to add all the necessary colors to the palette and perform unrestricted mixing. It comes with an airtight lid that proves to be handy in case you are working outdoors.
- The palette boasts a unique minimalist design
- The injection-molded plastic material offers great durability
- Comes with an airtight lid
- Has a huge mixing area for unrestricted mixing
- Includes 20 wells for extra colors
7. PRO ART Large Folding Watercolor Palette
One of the great things about plastic watercolor palettes is that plastic does not bead over time. This is one of the qualities of the PRO ART large folding watercolor palette. Depending on your needs, you can have it in three different sizes-small, medium and large.
While you may think that the large size should appeal to professional artists, it is highly recommended for newbies and intermediates who are still learning the art of mixing colors.
To start with, there are five decent-sized mixing areas provided in the palette, accompanied by 24 wells and five brush holders. So, this is a complete package for those who are looking for a beginner-friendly watercolor palette. The wells are intelligently placed across the palette.
There is a thumb hole as well that allows you to grab the palette while you draw, sketch, or illustrate the design on the canvas. This comes in handy when you are standing or drawing outdoors.
Many people prefer drawing on large canvas while standing. Of all the watercolor palettes we have discussed above, this is the only model that lets you draw while standing. Others are meant to be kept on the surface while working.
Most importantly, it is reasonably priced. You won’t have to break your bank to purchase this color palette.
- Available in three different size variants
- Consists 24 intelligently placed wells and 5 mixing areas
- The design includes a thumb hole so that you can stand while painting
- Five brush holders of different sizes
- The high-quality plastic material used
8. Jack Richeson Stephen Quiller Porcelain Palette
This is quite different from what we have reviewed so far. For starters, Jack Richeson is a premium brand, and you can expect its watercolor palette to be expensive.
Now, it is not the brand alone, but the material of the palette that makes it premium and expensive. This is a porcelain palette that gives the product amazing quality and performance.
Given the price and quality of the palette, it is perfect for professional and studio use. One of the significant benefits of a porcelain palette is that water will not bead up, ruining your colors.
Also, porcelain is smooth and not porous, which makes mixing colors a hassle-free task. Another perk of a smooth surface is that it is easy to clean after the job.
This Stephen Quiller porcelain palette from Jack Richeson has 32 wells and one large mixing area in the center. It also includes a large plastic dust cover for superior mixing and better storage.
The manufacturer recommends that it best works with casein and acrylic colors. And to prevent the paint from drying, simply put a wet sponge over the paint. Nevertheless, it comes with a cover that will protect the paint from drying out.
- Simple yet premium design
- Porcelain material gives a smooth surface to mix the paint
- Leftover paint can be easily cleaned
- Includes 32 wells and one large mixing area in the center
- Great for casein and acrylic paint
9. Rigger Art Large Watercolor Folding Palette
Rigger Art has brought you a large travel watercolor palette that is perfect for both beginners and professionals. You can carry the palette anywhere from Plein air painting to a classroom, art studio, or school. It is made of durable plastic and weighs a little over 6 ounces.
This allows the artists to easily hold the palette while drawing. The icing on the cake is the thumb hole that makes holding the palette for longer durations a comfortable experience.
It has a foldable design, so the colors remain safe, thanks to the folding box cover. There are a total 33 compartments, out of which 28 are wells, and 5 are large mixing areas.
This means that you can add 28 different colors to the palette and make different combinations with unrestricted mixing.
The manufacturer has designed this palette to be used for watercolor, oil, and acrylic colors. So, whether you are learning to use different color types or just learning to mix, this watercolor palette fits perfectly for your every need.
What’s interesting about the compartments is that they are all sloped. This makes it easy to mix and clean. The slope design ensures that the color in one well doesn’t get into another well with a different color.
- Long-lasting, durable plastic material
- Incredibly lightweight and portable
- Has a total of 33 compartments – 28 wells and 5 mixing wells
- Includes a thumb hole – perfect for painting while standing
- An ideal palette for watercolors, acrylics, and oil colors
10. MISULOVE Watercolor Paint Set
The last on our list is the MISULOVE watercolor paint set that comes with an incredible palette of 48 cake colors. If you are an art student or a beginner, then this is a perfect set to start with.
The colors are vivid and bright, offering fluency, hand feeling, Satur ability, sunproof, fade-proof, easy to melt, and good transparency. Once you add water, the color cakes will express brighter colors.
The set also includes two water brushes – round and broad tips, a mixing palette, eight sheets of watercolor papers, and two sponges.
Everything is contained inside a sturdy box that is portable and travel-ready. The brushes are refillable – one offers short controlled strokes, and the other offers bold strokes.
The primary reason why we included this palette on our list is that the high-quality pigments are concentrated yet non-toxic. The cakes are stored in a removable pan that prevents smearing, even when mixing colors.
Even though it comes with so many accessories, it is priced quite reasonably. You won’t have to spend a fortune on this watercolor palette. The palette has a foldable design. The cap prevents the colors from drying out, and it also works as the mixing compartment.
- 48 high-quality colorful pigments
- Highly portable and great travel palette kit
- Includes a large mixing area for unrestricted mixing
- Comes with two refillable brushes with the board and round tips
- The pigments are non-toxic and extremely safe to use around children
Buying a Watercolor Palette: Things to consider?
As you can see from the review, the watercolor palette choices are countless. For beginners, it is common to feel overwhelmed because there is a constant pressure of choosing the ‘perfect’ watercolor palette.
Now, you need to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect palette. While it is true that there are a multitude of variants available, each variant serves a specific purpose.
So, you can’t just really pick the ones that top in all the categories. But, there are some things that you can do to ensure that you get an ideal watercolor palette that suits your requirements.
To help you find the right watercolor palette, we will look into certain aspects that are key in distinguishing between a good palette and a not so good palette.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Portable or Studio
First things first, determine what kind of palette you want, whether it is for studio use or travel-ready. Not all watercolor palettes are made for travel, and not all are made for the studio.
If you take the porcelain watercolor palette as an example, it is probably the most expensive watercolor palette you can ever purchase. Its premium design doesn’t offer convenience and portability. Plus, it could break easily. So overall, it is ideal for studio use.
On the other hand, palettes that are designed for portability are lightweight. They don’t offer sufficiently sized pans because of their compact design. But they do come with a carry case, making them travel-ready.
Here, we are determining whether the palette you choose will remain parked on a desk or will be mobile. The handheld palettes boast a special design with a thumb hole.
The thumbhole allows you to comfortably hold the palette in your hand while painting. Nevertheless, a quality palette will offer you the best of both worlds so that you can use it anywhere.
2. How Many Pigment Walls?
The thumb rule of buying a watercolor palette is to choose a model that is large enough to store all the colors that you use regularly.
You will find palettes with different compartments and wells. Some have 20 wells, while others have 30 and even 40 wells. It is not that you will be holding all the colors you have in the palette but just the important ones.
So, if you are just starting out, we advise you to go with a limited palette just so that you understand what you need and what you don’t. The number of wells you want also depends on the type of painting you do. Palettes with a large number of wells are quite big in size.
Thus, they are not suitable for outdoor use. And it is not that you will only use a single palette the entire lifetime. As an artist, ensure to plan for a bit of change or growth. That is, keep updating your palettes once a while.
3. Mixing Wells
One of the most important features of a watercolor palette is mixing well. As an artist, you need to keep experimenting with colors. For that, you need mixing wells.
Mixing is a fun activity that artists constantly do to explore new shades. Some palettes have a single large mixing well, while others have multiple small mixing wells.
So if you are someone who loves to experiment with colors, then you need a palette with a big well to enjoy the mixing and exploring.
4. Don’t Overlook Your Budget
Just because a palette looks amazing does not mean that you can buy it if it is beyond your price range. Before going on the shopping spree, set a budget that you can use for a watercolor palette, and stick to it.
This will help you steer clear from temptation, especially in online shopping. You can simply set the price filter and search for palettes that are within your budget.
5. Adjustable Pans
If you have studio palettes or you travel a lot, then an adjustable pan proves to be a valuable asset.
These pans make it easier for you to rearrange or change the watercolor palette as you please. Considering that you would not have to invest in different types of palettes, it will save money as well.
Moreover, when it comes to cleaning the palette, a removable palette proves to be more efficient. When you want to remove the color, washing or scraping off the pigment becomes a loss, but when the pans are removable, you save the pigment for later uses.
6. Palette Cover
Palette, which comes with covers, makes it easier for you to carry it around. Additionally, when it is secured in the cover, you have to worry less about dust and dirt sticking to it.
And, you can find many affordable palette options with cover, so you can continue to stick to the budget. And a little tip for people who do not have a cover, you can use aluminum foil or plastic wrap, a sheet of cardstock, or a sketchbook to keep the palette away from dirt and dust when you are not using it.
7. What About The Material?
When working with pain, most people are prepared to experience some stain. So the material used in the watercolor palette does not matter much.
But if you are concerned about paint staying in the mixing well or separation while mixing, there is a simple solution to it. Use super-fine steel wool or Magic Eraser to lightly rub the surface.
Additionally, staining pigments can stain metals and plastics; however, with porcelain, you don’t have to worry about the same.
How Many Colors Do You Need For Watercolor?
If you are just starting out, it might be tempting to many a lot of colors at once. And the fact that the color options you have are truly extensive further adds to the temptation.
However, you only need that many colors to make a painting. In fact, the most experienced painters stick to a basic palette along with a few of their favorite shades.
Theoretically speaking, you need to have three primary colors that include blue, red, and yellow. These three colors are all you need to create a rainbow.
But you might not always have the time to mix and get different shapes. And this is why a lot of painters invest in a 12 color basic watercolor palette.
This palette generally includes cool and warm shades of the color blue, red, yellow, a warm and cool green gue, neutral grey and black, violet red, and two earth shades.
You might be wondering where is white?
The traditional transparent watercolor method uses white background instead of the color white, so these are not always a part of the basic palette.
How To Set Up A Watercolor Palette?
Setting up a watercolor palette is nothing short of a brain teaser, especially when you are just starting out.
While customizing your palette may appear trivial, when done correctly, it can make your painting experience seamless. So here are some helpful tips that you can use to set-up your palette –
- A frequently seen mistake among beginners is choosing too many colors. When you start with a limited color option, you can better learn how to control the mixing of colors. Initial work with a limited range of colors and gradually add shades with your evolving palette preferences.
- Opt for colors that offer a lot of mixing possibilities. This is because colors tend to work well with the pigments on the palette when mixing.
- In the beginning, you can start with warm and cool tones of primary colors. These colors include blue, yellow, and red. With these three shades, you can get a lot of other colors as well.
- When you mix single pigment pains with strongly saturated colors, it significantly increases the mixing possibilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do you need a watercolor palette?
It does not matter if you have just started out or had experience in painting; a good quality paint palette is a must-have investment.
These make it easier for you to mix and match colors and make your painting more versatile and comfortable.
2. What are the types of watercolor paint?
Watercolors can be divided into two types that include Tube and pan and liquid watercolor. Tubes were commonly used back in 1846 when watercolors were introduced by Winsor and Newton.
On the other hand, liquid watercolors are concentrated colored fluid stored in small bottles. These are stronger and give a rich, vibrant color.
3. Which is the best material for a watercolor palette?
When it comes to choosing the right material for a watercolor palette, you cannot go wrong with ceramic or porcelain.
These materials allow colors to appear richer, paints to stay moist longer, better mixing surface, and easy cleaning.
For people who are serious about their art, investing in a quality watercolor palette is very important. Above, we have reviewed some of the best options available in the market. The features of these products are everything that one looks for in a watercolor palette.
Additionally, we have also added some more useful information that will help you use your palette to the fullest. Now that we have reached the end of this review, you have a better idea of why you need a watercolor palette, which palette to choose, and how to use it properly.