10 Colors to Start your Watercolor Paint Palette

Sep 1 / Han.A

Did I ever mention that I have an addiction to buying paint? There are so many pretty colors to choose from that it's just too hard to resist!
But that’s not at all economical and I truly wished someone had warned me when I first started painting. 

To help save you from color temptation, discover which 10 colors to get that allow you to create a variety of secondary and tertiary colors, and learn how to identify color pigments so you can shop for colors across a variety of paint brands.

Watch Me use 2 Primary Colors to replace the original colors I used in Amethyst Alchemy

(The original colors from tubes include: Moonglow, Payne's Blue Grey, Indigo, Ultramarine Violet, Amethyst Genuine & Quinacridone Violet)
Write your awesome label here.

Color Mixing Basics

Typically Reds, Oranges and Yellows are considered warm colors, while blues, greens and violets are cool colors. However it blew my mind when I first learnt that all these colors actually exist in both warm and cool shades!

Yes, that's true.

Red is available is a cool or warm red, and same for blues and yellows.

Cool Colors

Warm Colors

Therefore, when color mixing, the ideal is to have these three primary colors in both cool and warm shades as this helps in creating a variety of secondary and tertiary colors in that are either vivid or muted.
Vivid and muted colors are created differently. For instance, vivid orange, being a warm color, can be created by mixing a warm red with a warm yellow. While a muted orange will be created using a warm red and a cool yellow for instance.

10 Essential Colors for Your Palette 

The 10 essential colors you need to get start your watercolor paint palette should include the cool and warm shades of the Primary Colors and additional colors to help you create dark tones, pastels and earthy tones.
SUPRISE! THERE ARE ACTUALLY 11!  Right click to download the image

Pigment Index

Each tube of paint has a Pigment Index. This is a reference number that’s worth getting familiar with so that you can shop for the same color across different brands. They look like this

P + (Color Family) + (Number)

For example PR254 denotes Pigment Red Number 254 which across different brands may be known as
  • Scarlet Red (Schmincke Horadam)
  • Winsor Red Deep (Winsor and Newton) or
  • Pyrrol Red (Daniel Smith)  
The other Indices include:
  • PB = Blue
  • PY = Yellow
  • PW = White
  • PBk = Black
  • PBr = Brown
  • PG = Green
  • PO = Orange
  • PV = Violet

Locating the Pigment Index and other Information on Paint

What do you do when 2 colors have the same Pigment Index?

Sometimes, it gets confusing when 2 different colors have the same Pigment Index, just like Winsor Blue Red Shade and Winsor Blue Green Shade, or even, Cadmium Yellow Light and Cadmium Yellow Deep.

In this situation, you can use the image above as a guide and your own judgement to compare the colors that are available to you the my image chart. 

Want to learn more about color pigments?

I found this article very useful and you might want to read more about pigments in this blog article by store Jackson Art
(Please note that I am not affiliated by any means to this store)

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