Do paint brands make a difference?

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 46 total)
  • I so totally agree. I find that living in the Pacific North West with all it’s rain, the M. Graham just doesn’t dry enough. If its been sitting for weeks I still get sticky paint on my finger if I touch the top of a half pan to sets it’s Set-ness. I’d rather have DS so they dry. DS is incredibly bright too so I feel ok that I don’t get M. Graham;s incredible colors.

    LOL, ya, me too. Sever paint shortage… find Jennifer (and sandra!)

    In the case of an apocalypse, Jennifer, you and I will have to get together and set up shop as the only two with stores of valuable watercolor paint.


    I was so interested in what you said about DS. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one to find a few problems lately. Interesting. I have the dot card for da vinci coming to me soon and I can’t wait to dig in and test them. I’m so partial to some specific Schmincke colors, don’t give up on them yet Kate, lol. I think the woman who picked the last set really didn’t care about transparency, obviously. The newer colors don’t reflect the beauty I’ve found in some of Schmincke’s signature colors. I can’t imagine not having transparent orange, pure yellow, Payne’s Grey Blue shade and Neutral Tint just to name a few.

    To add my two cents in… I’ve found that only lately did I find W&N colors that I liked. I think I’ve been wholly prejudiced against them because my first paints were Cotman and they were horrible. So muddy and wouldn’t move well. The student grade Van Gogh is so heads over Cotman it isn’t funny. Then my next foray into paint was to “upgrade” to Holbein. I found them mostly too opaque and not “clean” enough for me. When I got my Schmincke palette (I think in 2012-ish) and then added another 15ish colors of DS I found my happy place. BRIGHT COLOR and now I know I also have to be as transparent as physically possible. If I could make even more transparent than transparent I’d pay a mint for those! LOL. I’m obsessed with transparent more than even single pigment. But if I find true transparent color and it’s also a single pigment then it’s also clean and bright, I’m truly in love. Can’t wait to try those Da Vinci’s, Hopefully with al the good words from Charlie means they’re top notch. I already want two or three colors.

    PS. Yes, I know two of my four favorite Schminekcs are not transparent but then I use them as both drop shadows and internal shadows mostly. Thought I’d qualify. ;o)

    gos yes, if you find your niche products and you’re so totally happy with them stick with them! Being quixotic is expensive and also as you noted in another thread Tanya, can get confusing when you just have too much stuff. then one has to thin “the herd” which can really really, REALLY hurt as you then have to not only do a lot of testing work but then also have to admit that every tube is 10-15 dollars down the drain. Ouch.

    ya, I find qor doesn’t move as freely.

    I think it’s great you could have fun with cheap paints. I wasted two hundred dollars on “cheap” cotman and found I couldn’t get anything I liked. Good for you for saving money in the beginning. I totally hear you about snob buying, lol. I hate that about myself but I can’t stop! eheheheheh. I’m hoping trying different papers with new brands shows me differences in paint etc. Tonya and sandra seem to indicate that’s the case. What fun to learn now that I have a few different kinds of paper. (I only had arches before this month)


    i found the exact same thing with both paint and brushes. I switched to artist grade paint and noticed a phenomenal difference, I didn’t get mud all the time. Then and even more extra ordinary difference when I switched from a water brush to Kolinsky sable brushes (1503’s by Da Vinci brush company). Just like you, I have a mentor who’s a good friend and professional artist with so many degrees it’s frightening. She said it was night and day with the changes.

    Daniel I love Sennelier also but prefer the tubes.  The colors are intense and creamy.  I finally must go in to Blicks (the only place I know that carries them locally) and buy a couple more tubes, and may try a few others.   I think I’d have bought more of them early on but they were hard to find and a bit more than other brands…


    As some people have already shared, there is some difference between brands, though any professional-quality paint will have similar pigment concentrations. The way the paint handles and the variety of pigments available are the main differences. M. Graham and Sennelier are made with a higher honey content than any others, so they take longer to dry (some pigments will never dry when squeezed into pans), though they also tend to re-wet more easily when they dry in the palette; Holbein has a smooth consistency, and tends to disperse less freely; Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith handle very similarly, though the individual handling properties of each pigment seem more apparent in Daniel Smith; Schmincke tends to disperse more readily/evenly, though may be a bit muted, due to a higher ox gall content; and QOR doesn’t seem to re-wet easily from dried tube paints, but their pan paints dissolve beautifully. I’m not that familiar with the other watercolor brands.

    I wouldn’t use just one brand, though. I would choose the best version of whatever pigment you’re looking for; there’s a surprising difference in individual pigment performance between brands.

    Hi all! Loving this thread! So interesting to read everyone’s takes! Thought I’d share some of my own —

    M. Graham — I got some in 2017 and they still haven’t set up and will run to the side of the pan if it’s titled and if  I accidentally touch my finger to it a gob of paint will stick argh! I’m in Austin, TX where we have all kinds of crazy weather but mostly HOT/100 degrees lately — tested a pan the other day and it’s still not set. I have one tube of gouache and one of watercolor and both are the same. Also the gouache isn’t as opaque as other brands. (I tried Viridian and it’s almost like watercolor — had to mix it with white!)

    DaVinci — I tried a few and really like them! Have been slowly replacing DS with these.

    Pro watercolors vs student — agree agree agree! I wish I would have switched sooner, as trying glazing techniques with student grade just gives a chalky mess.

    Lately I’ve been trying 100% cotton paper and I really think it’s made a huge difference — even more than the brush I’m using. Previously I mostly worked in a sketchbook and it’s really changing the way I can paint to have the good stuff!!

    Has anyone tried cotman paints on 100% cotton paper? Haha! Might have to give that s pin just to see what happens!

    I primarily use Daniel Smith.  There have been very few of their paints I have flat out hated. I also love their random granulation and separation properties and many of their convenience mixes do really fun things. I primarily work in a sketchbook these days, applying paint with a waterbrush, mixing on paper, so paints that do crazy things like that appeal to me.

    That said, after DS, I have several paints by DaVinci on my palette. Pthalo Blue RS and Pthalo Turquoise tend to get a little bronzy in masstone, but it’s easy to work around that. I also have three M. Grahams on my palette (and a few stray colors here and there). I also own Sennelier, Winsor and Newton, QoR and one tube of Schmincke.  I love how wild and bright the QoR’s are and they are fun when working with lots of water. Sennelier and M. Graham make gorgeous paints, although the three M. Grahams I have on my palette (Indian Yellow, Cerulean, Neutral Tint) are incredibly tacky, esp. that Neutral Tint (which is a PV19/PG7 mix with no black … I love it!).


    After an attempt with acrylic paints, I’ve switched gears and just recently started with watercolor. I have two sets of watercolor pencils that I enjoy using. The watercolor paints I picked up are very inexpensive. I’ve been rather disappointed with them, but I’m not sure what the matter really is, my mixing or the pigment/binder ratio.

    The set I purchased from Amazon: “TBC The Best Crafts 36 Colors Watercolor Paint Set, Portable Travel Watercolor Pan Set with Paint Brush, Student Quality Watercolor Cake for Kids”. The reviews were encouraging but I find it very difficult to mix the paints with water to get a smooth waterpaint. It appears gritty and the pigment adheres to my brush like white on rice, also the pigment will separate from the water, sort of like red blood cells from plasma. I’ve tried mixing in the small shallow cups on the lid, on a ceramic platter and a plastic palette dish. I get the same results every time. If I paint directly from the cake, it comes out a brilliant color and I can make a simple wash with it in stages. Is it normal to paint directly from the cake?

    I would love to get another set, but economically that isn’t an option right now. I’m hoping someone has some ideas that I could try with this cheaper set. And, in addition, has anyone else tried this set?

    Thank you so much for reading and for this community.

    Sketcher Blind

    Unfortunately, you are probably not going to get very good results with those paints.  I haven’t tried that brand but given the price, I’m not surprised at the problems you are seeing.  Have you tried adding water to the the cakes – enough so that there is a film of water across the top – and letting it soak for 3-5 minutes? This might soften the paint enough so you can get more pigment.  Your brushes can affect how well the paint spreads too.

    It isn’t impossible to get something decent with cheaper paints, but you’ll need to use more like you are coloring than painting.


    I spent a half hours with recommendations and links and all that it hit submit (was signed in)  and it didn’t take… If I have time I will rewrite…. Sadly, Kate

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 46 total)
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