Watercolours techniques and tips

What to expect from a watercolor palette?

A palette has pockets to hold paint and water. More or less hollow, the alveoli prevent the various mixtures from getting dirty between them.

The palette can be made of plastic, metal, porcelain or paper. Generally, it is preferred to be white to judge the color of the mixtures.

You can also use white plates (faience or cardboard), small cups, see an egg tray.

The palettes are used:

  • In the studio, there is then plenty of room,
  • Or in the field, they are then expected to be easily transportable and accompanied by a container of water.

Trip Palette, Winsor&Newton

This all-in-one palette includes paint buckets, mixing surfaces, and small dark blue plastic tank for water.

Plastic palettes

Cheap and large size

The most common is the plastic pallet.

For a few euros, you can choose the one that suits you, according to the number of alveoli and the mixing surfaces.

These must be partitioned to avoid mixing with another.

You can let a pallet dry completely, and come back to it several days later.

Note the double cup at the bottom. The principle is to have a goblet of dirty water, and another one of clean water, then the double goblet is convenient.


My plastic pallets

The one I use the most is the one on the right, which includes honeycombed mixing surfaces.

And on the field?

The telescopic easel makes it possible to manage the inclination of the cup.

This is not the subject of this article, but the idea is very useful even for painting in the workshop. Indeed, the inclination of the paper makes it possible to control the diffusion of pigments and water.

I have not yet equipped myself, but I think strongly with material for industrial design.


Reclining Easel at Bieffe

I found this reference at Couleurs des Arts,

The advantage is to have an all-in-one solution:

  • Paint buckets are placed on the top
  • The mixing zones are on the side
  • The sheet of paper is placed in the middle for a maximum size of 46X32 cm
  • Les godets de peinture sont disposés sur le haut


Watercolorist palette with 26 buckets and paper holder

Palette for the field by Couleurs des Arts

My practice

Porcelain and paper

As far as I am concerned, after having started on plastic pallets, I switched to porcelain pallets.

There are several reasons for this:

  • The porcelain does not turn yellow, so the paint always appears with the right color
  • Even if I only use a component with 5 slots, nothing would prevent me from buying a second component and have them at the most practical when painting
  • Precisely, 5 slots are ample enough to maintain a rigorous range of paints, ie with few different colors. Recall that from 3 primary colors, one must be able to traverse the entire spectrum of colors.


Porcelain and paper

For paint mixtures, I prefer to use watercolor paper rejects.
These scraps of paper make it possible to see precisely how the preparation of pigment and water will react on the paper, what a piece of white plastic or porcelain do not show at all.