Watercolors are unique in that there are two different main levels of watercolor paints; those for play, and those for artists. Finding the best watercolor paint set for beginners largely depends on which of those two you are.
For the people who want to play or test out the waters so to speak, with watercolors, there are very inexpensive watercolor for beginners sets that we probably all had as a kid. A tray with a clear top and a row of solid color paints with a small recess below them for the brush. To use them you filled a small bowl or glass with tap water and dipped the brush into the water, and then swirled it onto the paint to liquify some so you could use it. This is called pan or cake watercolor.
For the artist, they typically use tubes of paste watercolor paint. The advantages here are that the paint is already moist and ready to use and that it is fully pigmented so it doesn’t look washed out unless you add enough water to make it that way.
Two notes here; anyone can use either type and I am only making generalizations to explain why my list looks the way it does, and second, that there are a lot more types of watercolor out there but they are extremely uncommon for beginners, so they are not on this best watercolor paint set for beginners list.
Getting started in watercolor can be very easy and inexpensive as this Watercolor Paint Set by Free Hand shows. This is a great set for either a child or adult to start with that includes good paints, a nice set of brushes, and of course an 8.5″x5.5″ pad of paper designed for watercolor painting.
When you open the lid, each color has a dimple in the lid where you can dilute or mix your colors. This is a really nice touch and makes the set really easy to use. In the old days with the cheap little set we all had, the clear top was just one big tray which made it hard to keep mixed colors separated. That is not a problem here.
For a very inexpensive set, this really packs a lot of value and is one of my favorite gifts for creative kids.
For a little more money the glokers Watercolor Paint Set Starter Kit takes you from 12 sheets of good watercolor paper to a really nice 30 page 9″x12″ pad, adds three brushes which are a little nicer, and a comparable set of paints. This makes it one of the best watercolor pan sets for your money. You can spend more money but are not likely to get much better quality and that is why it is on my list as just about the best watercolor paint set for beginners.
I have always been a fan of glokers kits, and this one doesn’t let you down. The couple their house brand of paints and brushes which are amazing quality for the price and pair that with a Canson XL watercolor tablet which is one of the best student watercolor tablets available. They do this because they know that no matter how good the paint and brushes if the paper doesn’t hold the paint right, it will never look the way it should.
This is the perfect best watercolor paint set for older children or adults who want to get started with cake watercolors.
Here we have the glokers Premium Watercolor Paint Set Bundle, another excellent set by glokers. This is basically the same as the previous set of cake watercolors but with different brushes that are better for the thicker paste type of watercolor paint, and of course, watercolor paint tubes instead of the cakes.
Just like the last kit, they paired their great paint and brushes with an excellent Canson XL watercolor tablet which has some of the best watercolor paper available, so you can get immediately to work and expect quality results.
This is my go-to gift set for people I think might actually pursue watercolor painting long term and probably the best watercolor paint set for beginners value on the list.
So you know a budding artist who has used a cake set and now wants to get a little more serious? Try the US Art Supply 69-Piece Watercolor Paint Set with Aluminum Easel which includes everything an aspiring artist needs to start producing serious student work.
I love the fact that this kit comes with not one, but two easels. To be honest, I prefer using the wooden one that houses my paints and brushes to hold open books I am working from while I actually paint on the metal one. I have, however, painted on the wooden one and it works just fine for smaller canvases but I do wish it had something to hold the top of the canvas while I painted. Without this, if you are painting with a little dryer paint that starts to become sticky the canvas starts to move on you. I solved this by using a rubber band over one or both of the corners while I work on other areas.
I also have to admit that the larger easel gets a little wobbly when used at full extension, although it is still usable. On a table, however, it is excellent.
Even with the flaws, the fact that this kit comes with an amazing array of some of the best watercolor brushes in a kit I have seen, 24 of the best watercolor paints for beginners, a color mixing wheel, a palette, two watercolor paper tablets and storage for all your painting supplies is a huge bargain and sure to please any budding artist. Because it comes with absolutely everything the starting artist needs to get going, I thought it deserved to be on the best watercolor paint set for beginner list.
Practicing your watercolor on tablets is fine, but if you really want to do some nice work you probably want to paint on canvas. With the U.S. Art Supply 57-Piece Watercolor Painting Kit with French Easel you get most of the same pieces from the previous kit and add a really nice easel with built-in storage, and five canvases.
I do really like this kit as you can bundle everything up into a little package and carry it to where you want to paint. It works great at home too because you can fold everything up and store it beside a desk, under the bed, or in a closet.
I was also surprised at how well the easel actually worked because I was not expecting much. For the money, it did quite well. Is it as stable as my large lyre easel? Well no, but then again my big easel cost way more than this kit did so that isn’t saying much. What I can say is that the one in this kit was more than stable enough to do the job, is portable, and has great storage. My lyre easel has no storage and is only portable if I bring along a bouncer named Guido.
While this is a little expensive at a little over $100, it is still a great value for someone who you think really wants to pursue painting seriously and so I included it as the most expensive package on my best watercolor paint set for beginners list.