Paints are the third ingredient with paper and brush of the watercolor art. It's easy to be misled by art marketing hype, but this section will help you choose and use watercolor paints with confidence.
how to choose watercolor paints
My five step process for choosing the right paints for your needs.
how watercolor paints are made
Paint ingredients (the backbone composition: pigment, brightener, binder, plasticizer, humectant, filler, additives, water), handmade watercolors, pigment types (natural inorganic, synthetic inorganic, natural organic, synthetic organic), pigment manufacture, paint manufacture.
the material attributes of paints
Pigment & paint attributes (color appearance, pigment concentration, particle size, lightfastness, tinting strength, refractive index, specific gravity), basic paint tests (draw down samples, tinting test, dissolving test, sedimentation test, drying/rewetting test, black field test, microscopic examination), test paintings, making paint swatches.
doing your own lightfastness tests
Materials lists and procedures you can use to perform "quick and dirty" or more extensive lightfastness tests.
labeling, lightfastness & toxicity
Pigments, paints & "colors", the marketing romance, paint ingredient information, lightfastness tests, lightfastness with a grain of salt, artistic responsibility, health & environmental issues.
Evaluations of the "professional" watercolor paint lines from seventeen of the most recommended, commonly used, or noteworthy brands of watercolor paints.
guide to watercolor pigments
The most comprehensive guide to artist's pigments on the Internet. Detailed pigment ratings and background information based on tests of more than 750 watercolor paints from the most recommended manufacturers.
what the ratings mean
Explanation of the pigment attributes listed in the guide, and how the attributes were measured.
the complete palette
A complete listing of the over 100 pigments currently used in commercial watercolor paints, organized by color category, with each pigment linked to its review in the guide to watercolor pigments.
2004 lightfastness tests
Walking the talk: summary of methods I used to test paint lightfastness, with an overview of the test results and recommendations to the watercolor painter.
tube, pan & liquid watercolors
A brief history of watercolors, tube vs. pan, when to use, paint tube tricks, dry pan tricks, liquid watercolors.
gouache & bodycolor
The opaque watercolor, gouache is often combined with transparent watercolors for subjects requiring special color or texturing effects.
A relatively recent addition to watercolor lines, these artist quality paints contain special ingredients for luster and sparkle.
DISCLAIMER: The information on watercolor products contained in this site is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. If you discover errors or omissions, please offer your guidance with an email. Thanks.