Watercolor Pans and Tubes – Which are Better?

Cheap watercolor for children is sold in pans, and many beginning artists think the form is the only option. They get confused as it turns out that the expensive paints of the type can also be in tubes.
The guys rack their brains: ‘Maybe, the tubes are better at something and ‘real’ painters buy them? If I buy it too, have I got to purchase a solvent or anything special else?’

The Key Point

There isn’t a fundamental difference between the two types of aquarelle – both are water-soluble, quite transparent etc

All you need in the case is to know how they change on a palette.

Pan paint is designed to be used from dry. Rewetting makes it blend and flow well enough, again and again.

The content of a tube always must be fresh.  While it’s drying some of its additives evaporate and it irreversibly loses important benefits.

Briefly about Pros and Cons of Tubes

Unlike common pan paints, freshly squeezed ones are:

  • a bit more vibrant and juicy – reputable artists say, that the variance isn’t obvious for a beginner (and for me in spite of the fact that I just love painting for at least 15 years);
  • good for a painter, who prefers large-scale paper: it’s easy to mix big batches of them at once.

Paints of tube set remain clean until tubes get empty: you’ll hardly shove a soiled brush into their narrow holes.

That’s all.

As for me, I don’t often use tubes. They are bulky. Getting ready to work takes a long time because of them.

And the main trouble is that I never know exactly how much watercolor I should squeeze out, and then I terribly sorry for wasted paints.


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Natalia Usanova
I am a poet and an amateur artist. A few years ago, it seemed to me creating works of art is a much more important occupation than reading books, visiting galleries, or listening to music. Now I don't think so. Let me share with you the masterpieces which have changed my life and can change yours. Follow me on Twitter!

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