Watercolour is a material of wonderful flexibility, professionals and hobbyists continue to turn to this medium to create their work. The versatile nature of watercolour allows you to take it wherever you need to go, from sitting in your studio or garden to venturing around the country with a travel set in your pocket.

Image Credit: Lead image created by Jola Sopek.


Transparency and Luminosity - One of the most appealing qualities of watercolours is their transparency. The pigment allows light to pass through the paint, creating a luminous effect that is nearly impossible to replicate with other mediums. 


Flow and Blending - Watercolours rely heavily on the flow of paint and the way pigments blend together on paper. With the right techniques, artists can create smooth gradients, soft transitions, and vibrant color variations that are hard to achieve in other mediums.


Ease of Cleanup - Unlike oil or acrylic paints, watercolours require minimal cleanup. Water is the primary solvent used, making it easier to work with, clean up, and dispose of waste materials. This makes watercolours a favorite choice for artists who prefer a hassle-free painting experience.


Portability - Watercolours are known for their portability. Artists can easily carry a small palette of paints, brushes, and a pad of paper wherever they go. This makes them a popular choice for outdoor or travel sketching. 



One initial decision you'll with watercolour is whether to use tubes or pans. Both of these forms of watercolour paint have their unique characteristics and advantages, and understanding the differences between them can help you make an informed choice that best suits your artistic needs. In this blog, we will delve into the distinctions between watercolour tubes and pans, and explore the pros and cons of each.



High Pigment Concentration - Watercolour tubes typically contain a higher concentration of pigments, allowing you to achieve vibrant and intense colours with less effort. This is particularly advantageous for artists who seek bold and impactful artworks.


Ideal for Large Works - If you are working on a large canvas or paper, tube paints are often more practical. Their higher pigment load means you'll need less paint to cover a larger surface, making them a cost-effective choice for large-scale pieces.


Longevity - The sealed tubes protect the paint from drying out, resulting in a longer shelf life. This ensures that your investment in high-quality watercolours will last for an extended period.




Portability -Tube paints are less convenient for on-the-go painting. Carrying a set of tubes, palettes, and other painting supplies can be cumbersome, which might not be ideal for outdoor or travel sketching.

Drying Time - While the sealed tubes prevent the paint from drying out inside, once squeezed onto your palette, it can still dry quickly. This can be problematic if you work slowly or require an extended period for a particular piece.



Portability - Watercolour pans are compact and travel-friendly, making them an excellent choice for artists who enjoy sketching outdoors or while on the move. They fit easily in pockets, purses, or small art kits.

Efficient Drying - Pans have a faster drying time than tube paints, making them perfect for artists who prefer to work quickly. This can be advantageous when layering colours or working on detailed pieces.

Precise Control - The solid, dry form of pans allows for precise control over the amount of paint you pick up with your brush, which is especially useful for intricate details and fine lines.

Easy to Replenish - When you run out of a specific colour in your palette, it's simple to refill the pan with a new watercolour half-pan or tube, ensuring minimal waste and cost-effectiveness.



Limited Pigment Concentration - Pans contain less concentrated pigments compared to tube paints, which can make achieving intense colours more challenging. Artists may need to layer or use more paint to achieve the desired vibrancy.

Palette Maintenance - Over time, the colours in a pan palette may mix or become contaminated with one another, potentially affecting the purity of your colours. Frequent cleaning and upkeep of your palette are necessary to maintain colour integrity.

In conclusion, the choice between watercolour tubes and pans is a matter of personal preference and practicality. Your decision should align with your artistic style, needs, and intended use. If you require intense pigments, work on large pieces, or prefer studio painting, tubes may be your preferred choice!

Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Series 7

Artists looking to maximise the effectiveness of their painting and create a specific finish need to make sure they are using the correct watercolour brush for their goal. The Pro Arte Prolene Plus Synthetic Brush is perfect for those just starting out with watercolour while the Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Series 7 is ideal for professionals.

Find out how this exceptional brush is made with this video from our friends at Winsor and Newton,

Our Cass Art Sable Paint Brushes, like the rest of our own-brand range, brings you very high quality at an extremely good price. You’ll find that they’re perfect for watercolours as their soft natural bristles can carry large amounts of water for long, consistent strokes of colour. They have good spring and durability and the short handles mean that they’re ideal when you need to create fine detailing and intricate work.


Watercolour mediums are a great way to build on your practice and create new effects. An area where top brands continue to innovate, we're proud to stock an extensive range that includes Winsor & Newton Watercolour Art Masking Fluid, Winsor & Newton Gum Arabic.

Daniel Smith has developed a Watercolour Ground - a medium that creates a soft, absorbent watercolour surface that's similar to cold pressed paper.