tag line

SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jim's Watercolor Palette du jour

On the eve of departing for teaching a workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I've had three people get in touch to ask about the palette of watercolors I use.  That, of course, changes occasionally, but I've been using the same 12 for a few months now.  Frankly most of the painting I do is accomplished with three--Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue and Alizarin Crimson.  But the others do come in handy, so I'm posting them here.  Some of my choices have been informed, with gratitude, by Paul Wang and Liz Steel.  I hope you find this helpful:

Winsor and Newton:  Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Sap Green, Burnt Sienna.  Daniel Smith: Cobalt Teal Blue, Pyrol Crimson.  Schmincke:  Translucent Orange, Manganese Violet.

I keep these in a metal travel palette by Daniel Smith that has racked up a few miles over the years...keeps on truckin, though.  No, I don't use the waterbrush shown anymore; it's in there for structural reasons.  I carry a very nice set of Escoda travel brushes in a nifty leather wallet that i found in an art store in Girona, Spain.

That's all kids...keep dreaming...keep drawing!


  1. James, I can't seem to find your recommendations for the 3 basic colors: red/blue/yellow. Which ones do you like? thank you! cindy

    1. Hi Cindy--I use Cadmium Red, Prussian Blue and Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow and Naples Yellow.

  2. James, as I read that you're using a Daniel Smith travel palette, I wonder why did you stop using Daniel Smith watercolors vs why do you prefer W&N ...?
    Thanks in advance :)

    1. Hi Mamen. Like most of my friends who sketch on location, I use a mix of brands to best serve my own style and the subject matter I choose to sketch. I've used W&N watercolors since the beginning, and a year or so ago added the Daniel smith colors that are listed above. I bought the travel palette with empty pans to accommodate my personal preferences.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.