A few weeks ago, I bought myself a new set of watercolour pans. My old set, a Van Gogh 12-pan set, (really great for travelling with!) has served me well for many years, but it recently dawned on me that with the limited colours provided, there would be hues that I’d never be able to achieve in my paintings. I first tried supplementing my paints with some old tubes, but having worked with pans for so long it felt inconvenient to deal with tubes.
So I started researching. I was lead to the Winsor & Newton Cotman range, watercolours designed as affordable alternatives to the high end artists’ colours. I narrowed my choice down to two kits, the Cotman Studio Set, and the Cotman Half-Pan Studio Set. The decision came down to – less colours with larger paint cakes, or more colours?
I chose the half-pan set, which includes every colour in the Cotman range. Many watercolour artists will use, and advise use of, a handful of colours for all of their paintings. This is something I was aware of before making my purchase, so why did I go for the larger set?
Well, I suppose after using only twelve colours for so long, I felt like spreading out a bit. There are colours in this set that can be mixed fairly closely, but that would rely on me mixing them accurately each time, and often the mix feels less lively than a straight colour. My hopes are to use watercolours in my comics – and being able to reliably produce the same colour on the fly seems like a great advantage to me.
Eventually, I figure that I’ll find that I’m using certain colours more than others, and those colours may eventually form my working palette. For now, I’m learning about the new colours I have and the way they behave. I also made myself a colour chart to help me remember what appears where in the set!
The new and old watercolour kits, ready for action!
Getting these new colours has been a great experience. From learning what was available, to shopping around online to get the best price (I paid less than $60 for the set), to the anticipation and excitement, waiting for it to come to my mailbox… and finally, being able to paint with them! I’ll be posting art soon, I promise!
Finally, I’ll just mention this kit contains five repeat colours. In my pre-purchase research I was unable to find out what they were. Now that I have the set, I can inform that the colours are: Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine, Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black and Chinese White.