Watercolor Paint

What Watercolor Colors To Buy

What watercolor colors to buy is a personal choice. Experienced watercolor artists develop their own favorite color palette. But, for a beginner, you can start with the bare minimum three PRIMARY hues:

  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Red

Having only the three primary hues, you can mix all the secondary hues and the hues that fall in-between. But, who wants to do all that mixing? So, why not buy the SECONDARY hues as well:

  • Green
  • Purple
  • Orange

The hues in-between the primary and secondary hues are called TERTIARY hues, they are:

  • Yellow-Green
  • Blue-Green
  • Blue-Purple
  • Red-Purple
  • Red-Orange
  • Yellow-Orange

All of the above consist of the 12 hues on the color wheel. Each of these hues have associated COLOR names that differ slightly depending of the watercolor manufacturer’s labeling.

What Are The Common Color Names

The following chart displays the most commonly used watercolor color names for each hue:

Watercolor Manufacturers

To see a list of well-known watercolor brands click here.


If you are on a tight budget buy the watercolor Color Names listed above: numbers 1 to 6. My favorite brands are Winsor & Newton and Holbein. I also buy a few Blick colors. I recommend that you always buy professional-quality watercolor paints, especially if you are planning to sell your watercolor paintings. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames or by visiting my gallery website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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