Base palette

What colors should be in base watercolor palette? I’d love to recommend starter set, but all basic sets contain unnecessary or dirty, or three pigment colors.

I always recommend to see professional or high-quality student watercolor. You can see why in my article.

You should start from limited set. It’s cheap, compact and you are studying to work with color mixes. Base principle is temperature of color and color triad: yellow, red, blue. My travel palette based on this principle. There are 13-15 colors from which you can make all colors you need.

Here it is:

  • Lemon yellow (PY3),
  • recently as a warm yellow I used Yellow Ohre (PY43+PY154) and Cadmium Yellow (PY 35),
  • but now I’m using one Gamboge Hue (or Gummigut PY150+PO48),
  • recently as a cold red I used Cadmium Red (PR 108),
  • and worm Alizarin Crimson (PR187),
  • but now I’m using neutral red Sennelier l’aquarelle (PR254),
  • Phtalocyanine Blue (PB 15) as worm blue and
  • Ultramarine (PB29).

It’s the base. Next colors are optional, but they can do your art life easier.

  • Cadmium orange (PO20),
  • Quinacridone rose (PR 19) or Quinacridone Liliac (PV55),
  • Phtalocyanine green (PG 36) and Neytral Green (or just Green, PG8).
  • I totally love earth colors and I have two Sienas in my palette – simple and Burnt (both PBr 7).

It’s the base. You can buy more; in my studio palette more than 50 colors. But base I use every time.

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