Daniel Smith Watercolors

several tubes of Daniel Smith watercolors nets to watercolor paper

Posted On February 23, 2020

Company Daniel Smith was founded in 1976 in America and it was at first manufacturing printing inks. Over the years they became one of the most popular watercolor brands in America.

One of the reasons they are so popular for their watercolors is a large selection of colors but that’s not the only good thing their watercolor line has. Daniel Smith Watercolors are also made with the pigments that no other company offers.

They offer more than 240 beautiful watercolors in 15ml tubes, more than any other manufacturer and there are also many truly unique colors made only by Daniel Smith company.

Quinacridone Watercolors

Daniel Smith was the first company that used high-performance Quinacridone pigments in manufacturing artist paints. These pigments were initially developed in the automotive industry to satisfy the need for durable and extremely lightfast paints.

Quinacridone pigments are very brilliant with luminous transparency which makes them ideal for use in watercolors.

PrimaTek Watercolors

PrimaTek Watercolors are made from semi-precious minerals and minerals that have been ground into pigments along with gum arabic used as a binder. First color that Daniel Smith company produced in this manner was Lapis Lazuli Genuine back in 1998. Since then they added a few more colors like Serpentine Genuine, Amethyst Genuine and Piemontite Genuine. Many of these colors have very good granulation effects.

Cadmium Hues

Daniel Smith is producing vibrant and safe Cadmium Hues that have the density and richness of cadmium colors but have no cadmium pigments in them. These colors are cleaner in mixtures and strong in tints. Properties of these paints such as staining power, excellent lightfastness and semi-transparency are almost identical to low-soluble cadmium colors that Daniel Smith previously produced.

Luminescent Watercolors

These paints have special optical effects and they are perfect to use when painting objects with a sparkle or a reflective glow.

Daniel Smith watercolor chart

Alvaro Castagnet Master Artist Watercolor Set

This is one of Daniel Smiths’ watercolor sets. This particular set is named by the artist who chose these specific paints for his palette – Alvaro Castagnet. Set contains 10 5 ml tubes of watercolors and those are the following: Hansa Yellow Deep, Mayan Orange, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Viridian, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna Light, Neutral Tint, Deep Scarlet, and Pyrrol Red.

He described the properties of each color in this set. Hansa Yellow Deep he said is with a touch of orange, a pure chroma color that is made of semi-transparent,  high-tinting pigments.

Mayan Orange is very intense can be used straight out of the tube to get red-orange even when diluted it still remains strong and disperses evenly.

Ultramarine Blue is an intense and pure blue color without shading to any other color.

Cobalt Blue is very powerful yet neutral. Good for mixing and transparent.

Viridian is transparent, non-staining good for glazing and soft edges.

Yellow Ochre is a bright and clean earth color. It is non-staining and can be lifted off the paper easily in order to create highlights.

Burnt Sienna Light is a permanent transparent hue. It is great for creating deep shadows since it behaves great when you ad cool colors on top of it.

Most of the colors in Daniel Smith artist watercolors are with very good and good lightfastness of course since the choice of colors is so was there are some that do not behave that well but it is easy to make a perfect selection for you since they have color charts and dot cards for testing and you can also purchase the paints in smaller 5ml tubes.

Pigments are strongly granulated in Danie Smith watercolors and this can be a challenge when you try to mix them even for experienced artists let alone for beginners. They do not behave very well in mixes.

Also, there is a little problem if you want to squeeze them into your pans some of the paints tend to shrink significantly and are not that easy to rewet but this is not a big issue if you prefer using your paints out of the tube. The price of the paints is not very high tho so you can make a nice palette for a reasonable amount of money. 

Daniel Smith watercolors in several tubes and half pans

Overall Opinion

In general, I do understand how this huge palette that Daniel Smith offers for their watercolors can be very appealing to many over 200 colors is more than any other company offers and also they have certain paints no other company makes, but still, I would never recommend these specific watercolors to a beginner they are too highly granulated and totally unpredictable in mixtures and one with no experience might get lost and make a total mess out of a painting.

I would rather recommend some of the paints that are much easier to deal with such as Winsor And Newton that is definitely a safe choice for beginners as well as for experienced artists.

Winsor and Newton’s professional watercolors line has a range of amazing 109 different colors and tones. Colors are vibrant, bright and are made of finest pigments. Winsor and Newton is well known for the strength of colors and their brilliance.

The professional line of watercolors has 80 single pigment colors made with special pigment dispersion to ensure great color transparency. In professional watercolor range, amazing 106 out 0f 109 colors are marked as permanent for artists’ use and rated AA or A for permanence.

If you for any reason do not like Winsor and Newton there is another amazing brand I can recommend you and that is Shmincke Horadam with their amazing line of artist watercolors. 

Their artist watercolor line contains 139 brilliant watercolors. Out of all those colors 112 are rated 4 and 5 stars which is the highest possible rating for lightfastness. You can purchase them in 5 and 15ml tubes or in pans and half pans. The paint in the pans and the tubes is made by the same recipe no difference what so ever.

It rewets well and you can use it even after it is dried on the palette. The pans are poured 4 times to ensure the best possible yield and only selected gum arabic is used as a binding medium for paints.

Many would compare them to Winsor And Newton artist watercolors since they have the same delicate softness but Schmincke Horadam watercolors have a much better flow and variance in translucent and opaque colors.

You may notice that when it comes to the paint from the tubes consistency vary a lot from liquid to very creamy but that is nothing to worry about since they dry and rewet with no complications, no separation or cracking.

In conclusion what I can tell you about Daniel Smiths watercolors is that I would not recommend it to absolute beginers even tho their choice of colors is amazing and in some hues absolutely unique they are so heavily granulated and it’s difficult dealing with them when you are new to watercolor painting but if you still decide to give it a try go for a selected few paints in small tubes just to get the feel of the paint you never know you might be up to this challenge and in the end they might suit your technique the best.

If you have any questions and need any help about this subject feel free to leave them in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Written by Magdalena

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