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Pan or Tube Watercolors?

Are you like me, always trying to find ways to simplify your artistic process? You can find many sites and videos on watercolor brands, pan verses tubes, papers etc. The information available can be overwhelming, especially when you first start to use a new medium.

I recently picked up the new popular 36 pan Kuretake watercolor set from Japan. I have tubes from several brands too. I've been seeing posts around the web about which watercolor is better, and questions concerning pans over tubes, papers and more. Here is my two cents... or maybe five, since I do use watercolor in my work daily.

It doesn't matter what you're painting with. What matters is if you have lights and darks, and warm and cools of the primary colors, and secondary colors if you want to mix less. Most "sets" of any kind whether it's watercolor, colored pencil, oil, acrylic etc., don't have a good variety of cool and warm of the primary/secondary colors, and most likely won't have enough darks. Look for sets that you can supplement or just buy the colors you need individually.

That said, this Kuretake set (top right in photo) is really nice because it does have primary colors in both cool and warm, plus some warm and cool secondary colors. Yet, it is missing some dark darks, like in the red and greens. I have some darks in tubes, so that's good for me until I run out.

This set is also at a nice price point and does a really nice job as far as watercolor properties go. That's not to say others won't. I've also switched to pan watercolors because I've tired of the mess that the tubes make. Plus the tops eventually crack, or stop fitting and then they harden. Pans... just add water.

My favorite is Winsor & Newton, but the price point always has me looking elsewhere. You're not going to find a ton of difference between the good popular brands. The differences are minor and you most likely won't notice the difference unless you spend the money and take the time to test each one. Who want's to do that? Not me. I'd rather be painting.

I can live with this pan set then supplement with some nice darks and maybe a cadmium or two from Winsor & Newton or another good brand.

If you are not familiar with, or have never painted with a limited pallet, which I recommend for your own education, check out the info here

Jane also does a lot of testing and mixing regarding watercolor brands and such. Check out the rest of her site. Great info and all done for you! Love!

Also here about Anders Zorn's (1860-1920) limited palette

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