After making a guide for watercolor paints, all the things to think through in doing that, we thought it would be helpful to take a step back. Take a step back and look specifically at the palettes that are available. What is the best watercolor palette out there? Is there one? It depends on the situation, of course.
Let’s take a deep dive into the options with many of the best watercolor palettes out there.
What’s the Best Watercolor Palette Layout?
Single pigment paints are most often used for watercolor palette placement, since it is difficult to mix bright colors if the hues on your palette are either dull or if they contain several pigments of the same color.
One of the most widely used distribution of these pigments and commonly considered the best watercolor palette layout would be following the split primary color wheel.
This split primary color wheel (though it doesn’t have to strictly be a wheel) is a color setup that attempts to address at least come issues with mixing limitations, since it puts colors that are closer in hue closer together and helps in ultimately mixing brighter colors.
With a split primary color wheel or a split primary arrangement, the idea is that you can mix a really good saturated green, for instance, when you mix two primary colors that are already next to each other. In this there is a cool blue and a cool yellow next to each other. If you wanted to create a more toned down green, on the other hand, you would mix blues and yellows that are further apart (i.e. warm blue and warm yellow). In this way, the idea is to be able to get used to various iterations of a color like GREEN by using variations of the same color wheel and their placement on it.
Here is a nice breakdown at Draw Paint Academy that further breaks down how it works in practice.
Best Watercolor Palettes for Beginners
Mijello Ellipse Peel-off Palettes
Description: “Mijello Ellipse Peel-off Palettes are ideal for all media, but their high-impact, non-porous plastic construction makes them particularly suitable for acrylics and oils. Dried paint (even acrylic!) peels away almost like magic, providing you with a clean, fresh palette for every painting session.”
“These generously sized palettes are ergonomic in design and can be used by either right- or left-handed artists. A deep central well provides a large, uninterrupted area for color mixing, and there is a shallow perimeter band that can be used for smaller portions of color.”Link
Best Watercolor Palettes for Professionals
New Wave Wooden Palettes
Description: “Handcrafted by the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, these beautiful, lightweight wood palettes are inspired by traditional techniques and made of the finest materials.”
“The first truly ergonomic hand-held palettes, New Wave Palettes feature a unique patent pending three-point design, evenly distributing the weight between the hand, arm, and torso/hip. The design significantly reduces shoulder, arm, and hand fatigue, allowing you to paint with ease. The delicate grain lines in the hard white maple won’t distract during mixing, and the highly durable satin finish is resistant to water, solvents, mediums, yellowing, cracks, and freezing temperatures.”Link
New Wave Posh Glass Tabletop Palettes
Description: “Good-looking and easy to clean, New Wave Posh Glass Tabletop Palettes are versatile art surfaces. Use them with any paint medium as an artist palette, or for rolling printing ink and monoprinting, as a work surface for clay and crafts, or for paint mulling.”
“The palettes are made with 1/8″ tempered glass for maximum strength and safety. A set of four corner guards (included) adds protection and surface traction. When it’s time to clean up, dried acrylic paints easily peel away. Dried oil paints can be removed with solvents or scraped off with a plastic razor blade.”Link
Best Travel Watercolor Palette Options
Empty Half-Pan Palette in Tin Box
Description: “Adding this empty half-pans watercolor palette set of 48 (in a tin box) to your art supplies collection is a simple way to make painting less messy and time-consuming. Whether you plan to use watercolor, gouache, tempera, oil, or acrylic paint, this ready to fill half-pans in a tin box set of 48 will make your painting processes neater. The lightweight tin box is very portable, which makes this empty half-pans set ideal for traveling and commuting artists. Each tin box is made up of a light and durable material to protect your paints without any unnecessary bulkiness.”Link
Best Transparent Watercolor Palette Options
Deluxe Clear Artist Transparent Watercolor Palette
Description: “This paint mixing palette is perfect for holding and mixing paint. The clear acrylic makes mixing paint accurate and cleanup fast and easy. It has a thumb hole and finger cutout for holding comfortably. The palette is made from clear deluxe acrylic.”Link
Finetec Art Mica Transparent Watercolor Pan Sets
Description: To accompany a transparent palette, how about a pan set that serves the same purpose. “Finetec Art Mica Transparent Watercolor Pan Sets feature highly responsive watercolor pans that flood with page with shimmering transparent color. Made with finely ground, artist-quality lightfast pigments, these vivid colors are perfect for adding subtle special effects to watercolor paintings and other artwork. Colors mix and blend beautifully, allowing you to create your own custom palette.”Link
Last Updated on March 6, 2022.