Watercolour pans vs tubes

by Feb 2, 2021Art Supplies

Painting with Watercolours

Jane said “we get asked about watercolour pans a lot in the shop by people thinking about taking up Watercolour painting, so for this weeks blog I thought I’d look at watercolour half pans.”

Which is better watercolour tubes or pans?

We get asked this question a lot, and the answer is you tend to waste less when using a pan.

In the tubes and pans you get the same quality of paint. The prime difference between the two is that you tend to squeeze a little more paint from the tube than you may need. Whereas, for a pan, all you need to do is load your brush with water and add to the surface of the pan, this way you only use the amount of paint you need.

Winsor & Newton professional watercolour pan

What does half pan mean in watercolour?

Pans are small square cakes of pigment cut in to either a full pan ( 20 x 30mm) or the half pan (20 x 15mm) size.

They are put in to small plastic or metal boxes to keep the paint pans together, these boxes come with a palette (look at the lid in the Van Gogh Pocket Box image below) and some come with a brush.

6 watercolour pans

Can you put tube watercolour into pans?

Good question! The answer is yes you can but it’s actually better to use them from the tube and not squeeze them into the pans as this means you would have to let the paint dry out completely in the pans before you put them back in to your paint box as they may flow out and contaminate the other colours. 

If you want to fill an empty pan with paint this is what you do. Squeeze the watercolour into the corners of the pan and half fill. Stir the paint with a toothpick or a blunt needle for even distribution and and allow to dry.

Do watercolour pans expire?

Watercolour pans rarely expire or go bad because they’re stored in a dry state which means not too much can go wrong with them.

As long as you allow them to dry out before you close the lid, they should last for many years.

Van Gogh watercolour sets

We sell the Van Gogh watercolour sets in the shop and they sell really well because of the price.

They are not expensive so a great paint to get started with. The colours are very clean, vibrant and transparent. They are highly pigmented and re-wets easily.

van Gogh pocket box

If you have more questions…

I hope I have covered most of the questions we get asked. If anyone has any questions they would like information on do please contact us.

Gadsbys are happy to help you when you are choosing the best materials, whether that be paint or brushes, for your work. Gadsby’s stock a great range of artists materials and have experts on hand (if needed) to help with your selection.

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