Top 6 Best Watercolor Paints for Beginners: Top Picks for Aspiring Artists

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Watercolor painting is an art form celebrated for its ethereal qualities, subtle color blends, and varying levels of transparency. It’s an expression of creativity that, at its core, requires few materials—chief among them, paint. For those new to this medium, navigating the vast market of watercolor paints can be daunting, yet the right set can greatly influence their artistic journey. Beginner painters should lean towards watercolor sets that offer a range of hues, allowing them to experiment with color mixing and layering without the need for purchasing individual tubes or pans.

When considering watercolor paints, beginners are advised to look at the quality and permanence of the colors, ease of use, and affordability. Paints come in both student and artist grades, with the former being more cost-effective while still providing good pigmentation and blendability for those still honing their skills. Non-toxicity is a critical factor, particularly for younger artists or those who prefer to paint in environments with limited ventilation. Furthermore, portability can be important for those wishing to paint en plein air or who have limited workspace.

Selecting beginner-friendly watercolor paints involves a balance between quality and price, as well as the consideration of how these tools will serve one’s evolving technique. With these points in mind, we’ve taken the time to evaluate several watercolor paint sets suitable for beginners. Our recommendations aim to provide a robust starting point that will nurture both skill and confidence in this time-honored artistic endeavor.

Best Watercolor Paints for Beginners

Starting with watercolors can be exciting and a bit daunting, but the right set of paints can make all the difference. We have curated a selection of watercolor paints that are ideal for beginners. These sets are affordable, easy to use, and offer a great introduction into the world of watercolor painting. Whether you’re experimenting with different techniques or working on your first project, these paints will help you achieve beautiful results.

1. Artistro Watercolor Set

If you’re starting your watercolor journey or looking to enhance your current palette, the limited edition collaboration between Artist and Hannah M.P. checks all the boxes for versatility and quality.


  • Generous pan size allows for ample paint pickup
  • Diverse range of vibrant colors fit for various projects
  • Bonus tutorials and eco-friendly bamboo box are thoughtful touches


  • Pan stains may be an issue with heavy use
  • Premium price point may not suit all budgets
  • Large pans might be cumbersome for those preferring a more compact set

Upon first brushstroke, the richness of the pigments in this watercolor set is immediately noticeable. The substantial pan size, 6 milliliters each, is usually unheard of in beginner sets, granting us the luxury of not skimping on paint. We are spoiled for choice with the 24 vivid colors hand-picked by Hannah M.P., giving us a range that inspires creativity without overwhelming us.

What sets this kit apart is the attention to detail; it includes eco-friendly packaging which doubles as a chic carrying case. We appreciate the two brushes tailored to different techniques and a watercolor pad that allows us to dive right into the painting process. The added bonus of Hannah M.P.’s instructional videos accessible via QR code is an excellent resource for us to refine our skills.

Our experience with the Artistro set extends beyond just painting; it’s about engaging in a complete artistic experience. From unboxing the beautifully presented bamboo case to laying down the last stroke on paper, every moment feels curated. For us, this watercolor set is not just about creating art; it’s about being part of an artistic community, guided by an expert and equipped with high-caliber materials. Despite the few gripes about potential staining and the price tag, this set stands out as a remarkable tool for artists at various stages of their watercolor exploration.

2. CHROMATEK Watercolor Kit

We think this CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set is ideal for beginners seeking quality supplies to jumpstart their artistic journey.


  • Vibrant, highly pigmented colors that blend well
  • Quality synthetic squirrel brushes and watercolor paper included
  • Extra tools like a blending brush pen and online tutorials enhance the experience


  • Pigments may not match the intensity of professional-grade watercolors
  • Beginners might need time to learn how to mix and dilute properly
  • Paper quantity may be limited for more prolific artists

Opening the CHROMATEK set greets us with a plethora of vivid tubes, eager to grace the accompanying watercolor paper. The creamy texture of the paints promises an easy application. With just a touch of water, the paints wake up on the palette, effortlessly blending to create new hues that are surprising yet delightful.

The brushes in this kit deserve applause, specifically the synthetic squirrel ones. Their ability to hold water impresses us, allowing for fewer dips into the water and more time stroking the paper with color. The bristles spring back after each stroke, maintaining their shape and making the painting experience seamless.

Diving into the actual painting process, the paper provided supports our endeavors without buckling under the weight of the water. Layers build up without resistance, offering a playground for techniques like glazing and scrubbing. The blending brush pen became our trusted companion for outdoor painting sessions, and the overall result of our works surpassed our initial expectations for a beginner’s set.

In conclusion, our experience with the CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set left us feeling accomplished and eager to explore more of what watercolors can offer. It’s a set that not only promises but delivers a solid foundation for budding artists.

3. VigorFun Watercolor Kit

This comprehensive watercolor set from VigorFun should be on every beginner’s wish list for its quality and range of components.


  • Vibrant pigment quality offers excellent color payoff
  • The robustness of the wooden easel adds to the overall value
  • Palette knives and multiple brushes enhance creative possibilities


  • Brushes may fray sooner than expected
  • Some beginners might find the set overwhelming due to the number of pieces
  • The need for better travel-friendly features for on-the-go artists

Recently, we had the opportunity to dabble with the VigorFun Watercolor Kit and were quite taken with the vividness of the colors. The quality of the pigments means that what you put on paper stands out, offering a full spectrum of shades that can ignite any beginner’s enthusiasm for painting.

While using the wooden easel, we appreciated its stability and the convenience of the integrated storage drawer. It made organizing our workspace effortless, allowing us to focus solely on the creative process.

We found the inclusion of multiple brushes and palette knives especially enriching. These tools gave us the liberty to experiment with a variety of techniques, which we believe is crucial for any artist’s growth.

However, during our use, some of the brushes began to show signs of wear. Beginners will learn quickly that while the set is generous, brush maintenance will be essential. Additionally, while the kit is marketed as travel-friendly, a more compact design would benefit the artist who prefers painting en plein air.

Despite these minor drawbacks, this kit excels as a versatile starting point for new artists. With everything included, it allows for immediate artistic exploration without the need for additional purchases.

4. Chalkola Watercolor Set

If you’re venturing into the world of watercolors, this Chalkola set equips you with a vivid palette and essential tools to start your journey.


  • Extensive color range of 36 tubes provides creative freedom
  • Paints are easily blendable and offer a smooth application
  • Set includes brushes and a palette for immediate use


  • Brushes may not satisfy the needs of advanced artists
  • Some may find the pigment concentration less than professional grade
  • Metallic colors might not be useful for all painting styles

Our recent experience with the Chalkola Watercolor Set proved it to be a treasure trove for beginners. The moment we laid out the colors, their vibrancy and range were immediately striking, offering a spectrum that encourages experimentation. In our initial tests, we found the colors blend well on the paper, giving a fluid transition that watercolor artists strive for.

Upon usage, the paint flowed pleasingly across the canvas without unpredictability. This is crucial for beginners who are still mastering control over the medium. The inclusion of a palette and brushes meant we had everything at hand to create straight from the box. This convenience cannot be overstated for those just starting out, eliminating the need to purchase additional tools.

While the brushes serve their purpose, we noticed that enthusiasts looking to delve deeper might seek higher quality brushes for more refined techniques. Also, while the pigment does offer a decent level of saturation, it may not meet the exacting standards required for professional-grade work. Furthermore, the metallic paints add a unique aspect to the set, but it’s worth noting that they have a niche appeal.

Overall, the Chalkola Watercolor Set stands out as a comprehensive introduction to watercolors, perfectly suited to novices and intermediate artists alike.

5. Grabie Watercolor Set

We think this Grabie Watercolor Set is a fantastic starting point for beginners due to its wide range of colors and inclusion of painting tools.


  • Comprehensive palette with 50 vibrant colors
  • Non-toxic and safe paints conforming to international standards
  • Convenient travel-friendly packaging with additional art tools


  • Individual paint wells might be smaller than expected
  • May require some practice to master the blending of pigments
  • Included brushes can be basic for advanced techniques

Having recently tried out the Grabie Watercolor Set, I was impressed by the spectrum of colors at my disposal. It made it easy to get creative without the barrier of limited choices. The pigments show good transparency and blend tastefully, allowing for the beautiful layering effects that watercolor is known for.

The safety aspect is a big plus. It’s great peace of mind knowing that this kit is certified non-toxic, making it suitable for all ages. The quality of paints provided ensures that the art stays bright and resistant to fading over time.

What struck me as particularly helpful was the set’s portability. The sturdy metal case is sleek, compact, and fits comfortably into a tote bag. Whether I’m heading out to the park or setting up a small workspace at home, this kit travels with me with no fuss at all.

Admittedly, the paint wells are on the smaller side, which could limit the longevity of the set, especially for those who paint frequently. Getting used to the pigment’s behavior might take some trial and error, but that’s a standard part of the learning curve with watercolors.

In my use, I noticed the tools included were serviceable for beginners, but as skills improve, investing in a variety of higher-grade brushes might be beneficial. These would allow for a broader range of techniques and finishes.

Overall, we find the Grabie Watercolor Set to be an excellent choice for those just stepping into the vibrant world of watercolor painting. Its strengths far outweigh the minor limitations that come with a beginner’s set.

6. Nicpro Watercolor Set

We think this set is a fantastic choice for beginners who are eager to explore the world of watercolor with quality materials at hand.


  • Comprehensive kit with a generous selection of colors
  • Brushes provide exceptional flow and precision
  • Non-toxic materials make it safe for extended use


  • Included paper may not suit all watercolor techniques
  • 12ml tubes might get used up quickly with frequent painting
  • Variety of hues might overwhelm absolute beginners

Watercolors can be a delightful medium for expressing creativity, and the Nicpro Watercolor Set immediately impresses us with its vivid colors that bring life to artwork with just a few strokes. Whether you’re mastering wet-on-wet techniques or laying down fine details with the responsive brushes, we find the paint’s consistency to be buttery and highly mixable on the palette.

The variety of brushes included in the Nicpro kit allows us to experiment with different strokes and techniques, which is crucial for developing painting skills. We appreciate the synthetic squirrel hair bristles, as they hold water well for nice, even color distribution on the paper. Plus, the set being non-toxic provides peace of mind when spending hours getting lost in a new project.

In our experience, the kit’s watercolor paper is quite decent, though artists fond of using a lot of water might prefer a heavier paper. A beginner might feel slightly daunted by the breadth of colors available, but the included color wheel helps us quickly learn about color theory and mixing. For anyone taking their first steps into watercolor, or even those looking to expand their collection, we find this Nicpro set offers a wonderful array of tools to facilitate that journey.

Buying Guide

When we’re choosing watercolor paints for beginners, we need to consider a few essential features that will affect our painting experience. Quality and cost are the two main factors we’ll tackle, but there’s more to it.

Pigmentation: The amount of pigment determines the paint’s color richness. As beginners, we want a decent level of pigmentation that allows for easy mixing and blending without being overwhelmingly vibrant.

Permanence: This is about how well a paint withstands exposure to light and time without fading. Look for paints rated for good lightfastness, meaning they’ll retain their color over the years.

Transparency: Watercolor paints come in varying degrees of transparency. We should opt for semi-transparent paints that offer a balance between bold color and the ability to create subtle washes.

FeatureWhy It Matters
PigmentationDictates color richness and blending
PermanenceEnsures longevity of artwork
TransparencyBalances boldness and subtlety

Granulation: Some paints have a granulated texture that can give a unique look to our work. While not essential, beginners might enjoy experimenting with this feature.

Form: Watercolors are available in tubes and pans. Pans are convenient and great for portability while tubes offer the flexibility of mixing larger quantities of paint.

Remember, as beginners, our focus should be on learning and practicing techniques. Paints that offer a balance between quality and affordability will serve us well as we develop our skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing the right watercolor paints and tools can set the foundation for a fulfilling painting experience for beginners. We will address common inquiries to help newcomers make informed decisions.

What are the essential qualities to look for in watercolor paints for beginners?

We recommend beginner painters to select watercolor paints that offer good transparency, tinting strength, and ease of mixing. These qualities allow for a better understanding of color theory and blending techniques, which are crucial for watercolor painting.

Which watercolor brush sizes and types are recommended for beginners?

For beginners, we suggest starting with a few versatile brush sizes, such as a small round #3 or #4, a medium round #6 or #8, and a larger flat brush like a 3/4-inch. These sizes cover a wide range of painting tasks.

What should a beginner’s watercolor painting kit include?

A basic watercolor kit for beginners should include a palette, a range of watercolor paints, watercolor paper that’s at least 140lb (300gsm), a mixing tray, a variety of brushes, a pencil and eraser for sketches, and a water container.

How does student-grade watercolor paint differ from professional-grade?

Student-grade watercolor paints are typically less expensive and have a higher filler-to-pigment ratio which may result in less color intensity. Professional-grade paints have more pigment, resulting in more vibrant and permanent colors but at a higher cost.

Are there any affordable watercolor sets recommended for starting artists?

Starting artists can find quality at an affordable price with many watercolor sets. Look for brands that balance cost with quality, providing a good pigment concentration and consistency for beginners to practice with.

What techniques should beginners focus on when learning watercolor painting?

Beginners should focus on mastering basic techniques such as wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, dry brush, and glazing. Building proficiency in these methods will serve as a strong foundation for more complex watercolor paintings.

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