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How to Use Tubes of Watercolor Paint

Using tubes of watercolor paint can be a bit different than using pans or cakes of watercolor. Here's a basic guide on how to use tubes of watercolor paint:

  1. Materials Needed: You'll need your tubes of watercolor paint, watercolor paper (preferably 140lb or heavier to prevent warping), a palette for mixing colors, a container for water, and brushes. Watercolor brushes come in various shapes and sizes, but a good starting point would be a medium-sized round brush and a larger flat brush.

  2. Setting Up Your Workspace: Arrange your materials in a way that's comfortable for you. You might want to have your water, palette, and paints on one side, and your paper on the other. Make sure you have plenty of clean water available for rinsing your brushes.

  3. Squeeze Out Your Paints: If you haven't set up your palette already, visit this post to see how. Otherwise, you can squeeze a small amount of each color onto your palette or mixing surface. You don't need much - a little goes a long way with watercolors. Arrange them in the order they appear on the color chart that comes with the set, or in a way that makes sense to you. Wipe and close the tubes tightly after use to prevent the paint from drying out.

  4. Mixing Colors: To mix colors, take a clean, wet brush and pick up some paint from one of your squeezed-out blobs. Transfer this to a clean spot on your palette and rinse your brush. Then pick up some paint from a different color and mix it with the first color. You can create a wide range of colors by mixing.

  5. Applying Paint: Wet your brush and pick up some paint. Apply it to the paper. The more water you use, the lighter the color will be. For a darker, more saturated color, use less water. You can also create gradients by applying a lot of water and paint at one end of your paper, and gradually adding less as you move down.

  6. Layering Colors: Watercolor is great for layering. To do this, apply a wash of color and let it dry completely. Then apply a second wash over the top. The colors will blend and create depth.

  7. Cleaning Up: When you're done painting, make sure to clean your brushes thoroughly and let them dry horizontally on a towel. If you leave them in water, leave paint in them or let them dry vertically, it can damage the bristles.

Watercolor painting is all about practice and experimentation. Don't be afraid to try different techniques, mix colors, and make mistakes. That's all part of the learning process. Happy painting!



Watercolor Paint Tubes inside box, Winsor & Newton Cotman set of 12 tubes, lemon, cadmium yellow hue, cadmium red pale hue, alizarin crimson, dioxazine purple, cerulean blue, sap green, burnt umber, ivory black, chinese white

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Set of 12 Watercolor Paint Tubes includes one 8 ml tube each of Lemon Yellow Hue, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Cadmium Red Pale Hue, Alizarin Crimson Hue, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue Hue, Sap Green, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Ivory Black, and Chinese White.

When a tube runs out, don't sweat it.

Replenishing your colors is as easy as pie and there are tons to choose from!

Here is the color chart for Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors, you can download it below.

color chart for winsor & newton watercolor watercolour paints
Download Winsor Newton Cotman Watercolor Color Chart
Download PDF • 664KB


Since many tube sets come sans palette, let me share a couple of my favorites that pair perfectly with these tubes. You can also see my in depth look at Palettes here.

a covered palette for watercolor painting blick brand

This is my go-to for larger projects. It has ample mixing space and can accommodate a range of colors, with rather large wells, making it an artist's dream!

an empty watercolor palette by Holbein

Ideal for on-the-go artists. It's compact, lightweight, has slanted wells and a thumb rest, and just the right size to squeeze out your favorite hues.

The right paint alongside the right palette can be

a game-changer in your painting process, so choose the

palette that best fits your style and needs.

Ready to color your world with watercolor? Grab your brushes, squeeze out some color, and bring your watercolor dreams to reality.

Happy painting, folks!


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