Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Your Watercolor Palette

Discover the art of setting up a watercolor palette for optimal color mixing in this enlightening blog post. A well-organized palette holds the key to unlocking your watercolor painting success. We’ll delve into essential tips on selecting the right colors and mastering their harmonious blending. For a comprehensive guide to watercolor supplies, don’t miss our suggested supplies article. So, if you’re eager to elevate your watercolor painting skills, keep reading and let’s dive into the world of palette perfection!

Whether you group primaries together or prefer to segregate warm and cool hues, trust your instincts and find the organization that resonates with you. Remember, there’s no wrong way to assemble your palette; simply seek the approach that suits you best.

Beginner's Guide to Setting Up Your Watercolor Palette
Watercolor palette

How to Setup Your Watercolor Palette: Three Common Options

When it comes to organizing your watercolor palette and colors, here are three effective options to consider:

Option #1: Keep similar hues together – In this arrangement, you’ll group blues, reds, and yellows together. It’s important to maintain consistency in placing warm and cool hues. For instance, if your cool blue is on the left of your warm blue, maintain this order for all colors. This ensures easy identification of color temperatures. Neutrals like grays, browns, and white can be placed together using the same warm and cool organization method.

Option #2: Divide by color temperature – With this palette set-up, you’ll place all cool hues together and all warm hues together. Neutrals remain separate from the color arrangement.

Option #3: Rainbow order – If you prefer a vibrant palette with numerous colors, you can organize them in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. You can combine this arrangement with consistency in placing cool and warm hues.

Choose the palette organization method that suits your style and helps you navigate your colors with ease. Experiment and find the approach that enhances your watercolor painting experience.

How to set up watercolor palette for beginners
Aqua Pro – Large Mixing Areas

This is the Best Watercolor Palette For Beginners

When it comes to choosing a watercolor palette, we recommend opting for a large palette with separate mixing areas like the Aqua Palette Pro. This type of palette allows you to mix multiple hues simultaneously and facilitates accurate color blending.

Plastic palettes are a great choice as they are less prone to breakage, especially if they happen to take a tumble. In my experience, ceramic palettes lasted only about three months, but that may just be my rough handling of art supplies.

Having a spacious mixing area is preferred as it provides ample room for larger washes. Collapsible palettes, on the other hand, often fall short in terms of offering sufficient space for mixing. When you need to lay down a sizable wash, it’s reassuring to have the real estate on your palette to accommodate it.

So, when selecting your watercolor palette, prioritize a sizable design with separate mixing areas, and consider the durability and convenience offered by plastic palettes.

Discover the best colors for beginner watercolor artists
The best colors to use

The Optimal Colors Every Beginner Should Have On Their Palette

When it comes to choosing colors for your watercolor palette, consider these pointers. Ensure you have both warm and cool versions of each primary color. It’s also beneficial to include a range of neutral hues like burnt sienna, raw umber, neutral tint (gray), and Chinese white or white gouache. For beginners, it’s advisable to stick to around 10 hues, but you can add a magenta or green if desired.

Here’s a recommended palette for beginners:

  1. Yellow ochre – warm yellow
  2. Cadmium yellow lemon – cool yellow
  3. Ultramarine blue – warm blue
  4. Cobalt blue – cool blue
  5. Alizarin crimson – cool red
  6. Cadmium red light – warm red
  7. Burnt sienna
  8. Raw umber
  9. Neutral tint
  10. White gouache

Why include white paint? It allows for adding highlights and reflections, a preferred technique for many watercolor painters.

Feel free to adjust the colors based on your specific interests. If you’re passionate about landscapes, you might want to incorporate a few green options, ensuring you have both warm and cool choices. Let your subject matter guide your color selections.

How much paint should you use on the palette
How much paint should you use?

Know How Much Watercolor Paint To Use!

Now that you’ve chosen your colors, it’s time to load up your palette! Fill each well with as much paint as possible to prevent it from drying out too quickly. If you only squeeze out a small amount, it will dry rapidly.

In situations where you won’t be using the colors immediately, you can store your palette in a plastic bag or container. If you anticipate being away from painting for a week or more, consider placing a damp rag or several wet paper towels in the palette. This will help keep the colors moist and prevent them from drying out until you’re ready to use them.

How to clean watercolor palettes
Clean watercolor palette

This Is How to Clean Watercolor Palette

Cleaning your palette is an essential step in watercolor painting. The best method is to use soap and water, ensuring you rinse the palette well to avoid muddying the colors. Alternatively, a brush cleaner can be used, but thorough rinsing is crucial.

If your palette has been left untouched for a long time, you might even consider taking it outside and giving it a good hose-down. Just be sure to do it far away from your car or house to avoid any unexpected splatters!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we hope you found this blog post informative and helpful. With the knowledge of how to set up and clean your watercolor palette, you’re now on your way to painting success. Happy mixing!

If you have any questions or valuable tips of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!