Express Yourself: Watercolor Sets for Novice Painters

Let your inner artist out to play.

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.

Intense Colors

Comes in a portable case, making it easy to take anywhere. LIGHTWISH

BUY NOW

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.

Mix Your Own

This kit includes a dozen different hues, but you can make up to 40 different shades from them. Winsor & Newton

BUY NOW

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.

Classic Look

This nostalgic product boasts fast-drying colors. Crayola

BUY NOW

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.