Express Yourself: Watercolor Sets for Novice Painters

Let your inner artist out to play.

Close up watercolor painting
Get creative with a watercolor set.Pexels/Alicia Zinn

Whether you’re taking up watercolor painting as a relaxing new hobby or are dedicated to honing the craft, there are a few things to consider before diving in. The beauty of watercolors is you can make bright colors lighter or mix together and create all new hues. Available in traditional pan trays or individual tubes, in student and professional grades—once you choose a set, it’s best to experiment and go at your own pace. No matter how you unleash your creativity, here’s what to think about when purchasing your first watercolor set.

MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set, 36 Vivid Colors in Pocket Box with Metal Ring and Bonus Watercolor Brush, Perfect for Students, Kids, Beginners and More
Comes in a portable case, making it easy to take anywhere.LIGHTWISH

Look for high-quality Arabic gum (also known as gum acacia) as an ingredient in your watercolor set, as it increases color brilliancy, gloss and transparency. It also helps make watercolor paint easier to lift from the paper in case you make mistakes or start experimenting with new techniques.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint, Set of 12, 8ml Tubes
This kit includes a dozen different hues, but you can make up to 40 different shades from them.Winsor & Newton

While a solid palette may be what you think of for watercolor painting, a set that comes in tubes has great advantages. You can pour the colors into paint pans and add water to make them lighter or mix together to create a customized set. Once dried and out of the tube, they’re still reusable by re-wetting.

Crayola 8 Pan Set Washable Watercolors,12 Pack, Kids Indoor Activities At Home
These watercolors are non-toxic and easy to remove from clothes.Crayola

A great benefit of a watercolor pan set with a hard case is the portability. Take it on trips to create art when the mood strikes or if you have kids, keep one handy in your bag. And, look for washable watercolor sets as a mess free way to paint the world around you.