Difference between tubes vs pans?

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  • Hello all! Recently I stumbled upon a discussion about the difference between pans vs tubes. I was told that the pigment load in Winsor & Newton professional tubes is much higher than in pans. Schmincke Horadam on the other hand is known for having the same recipe for both tubes and pans.

    Now I wonder – is this true? Why have a lower pigment load in pans? What about other brands? And other differences in tubes vs pans?

    Sennelier is the same, Da Vinci is the same, tube versus pan too.  I cannot imagine why WN would do this, but I don’t buy WN so have not paid attention.   Many companies don’t do pans — MGraham, Danial Smith, to name two.

    I suspect the difference has to do with formulating the paint for pan versus tube.  Pan paints need a certain consistency so that they remain in the pans but don’t dry out.  WN probably found it too costly to  make the formulation the same for both.

    During a visit to the M Graham factory a couple of years ago, they talked about the reason that M Graham had a higher pigment load than Winsor Newton.  M Graham is a small company so it isn’t very expensive for them to add extra pigment.  WN is HUGE, for them that same extra pigment would run into millions of dollars.

    Bigger is not always better.

    I will say that I’d rather buy tubes.  I think they are economical in the end (tubes last me years most of the time with only a few that I use endlessly being bought once a year), though there is a good argument to be made for buying pan sets if you are a newbie or happen to like the pan and need one (like the pretty Schminke pan that is coming out!).  I can then put the tube watercolor into my larger pans (I hate half-pans and I hate it when pans are filled to the tippy-top) in a manner that allows me some room for a little water at one end, which I like when I am not in studio.  With DS Primateks it can be tricky in the dryer colors like Sleeping Beauty Turquoise — it may fall out.  But it still works fine when rewet.

    I hate filling up the pans – I always end up wearing more of the paint than what gets in the tubes, lol.  Only a slight exaggeration, there.  But I agree that I prefer whole pans and tubes are more economical and you can always make DIY pans, which are fun.  However, there is also the addiction factor – I’m into palette tins and as often as not they come filled.  Logically, not the best choice.  Aesthetically, who cares – I like ’em!

    Well now addiction-wise that is a whole other thang.  I have done my share of THAT!

    where would you find the information about the W&N pans containing less pigment? the cotman pans (and tubes) are definitely less interesting to paint with, i really despair when beginner students turn up with them!

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