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Quality difference in watercolor paint

by Judith Joosten 01 Oct 2017

Watercolor paint comes in all kinds of different shapes and qualities. Where can you actually find those differences? Read more about it in this blog.

Is there a difference between watercolor and watercolor?
Actually I can be very brief about this: there is no difference at all between watercolor and watercolor. Watercolor and watercolor painting are exactly the same. In the Netherlands, the term watercolor is often used to indicate cheap paint and watercolor paint for the high-quality version. In fact, there is absolutely no difference between the paint. I use the terms interchangeably on my website.

So what is the difference in quality?
Do you use watercolor occasionally, for example in a book? Then you can get by just fine with a low budget set. These low budget versions are just not suitable for work 'on the wall'. This is because the lightfastness is often poor with these types of sets. If a paint is lightfast, the colors will be retained well as soon as they are exposed to a lot of light. It therefore indicates how well a paint is resistant to light. If a paint is not lightfast, it will fade quickly under the influence of light. Lightfastness is often indicated in plus signs or the like. Each brand has a different system for this.

This does not mean that you always have to use lightfast paint, or that it is then a fine paint. Non-lightfast paint can still work very well and be of good quality. It's just better not to expose them to too much light, because it would be a shame if the colors faded. Are you going to scan work, or use it in a booklet? Then the lightfastness does not matter much.

Ph Martins Hydrus Watercolor Paint , Gansai Tambi and Winsor and Newton Cotman pallets are lightfast.

Larger color spectrum
With expensive paints, you pay more for consistent colors. In addition, you can vary much more. For example; you have a pan of ocher. The color appears much darker in the pan, but you can use this color from super light and transparent to dark. This means you can vary the intensity. It can be tempting to buy a cheap palette with lots of different colors. Actually, you would be better off investing in a palette like this Cotman from Winsor and Newton . There are 10 different colors in this palette, but it is much easier to vary these colors.

How is quality indicated?
When it comes to watercolor, the description often refers to Artist and Student Quality. Student quality is already very good quality. Artist quality goes even further, this paint is often the best of the best. 'Unfortunately' it often remains that more expensive paint actually has better quality. The quality of the paint mainly depends on the choice of pigments. With a cheap paint, expensive pigments will not be used as quickly and it is the same the other way around.

You can find the watercolor here in the shop!

Do you have any questions? Post them in the comments!


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