Colour charts, a handy tool for the overview of your pallet

When I started my first watercolours I only had a Winsor & Newton Cotman box with twelve colours. I thought it was a good idea to make a colour chart, because with the naked eye you can't see what a colour of a cup looks like on paper. I made this colour card and thought it would be good to keep it with my box of paint. After having used it for a while there were splashes on it and the paper started to crease as well and got a bit dirty from use. I made the card again and then laminated it to protect it from splashes and dirt.

In 2016, I went to take classes with Rose Cambien in Zwevegem and as my Winsor & Newton box was almost exhausted I bought myself a box of Talens Van Gogh. This study paint was favourable to buy at that time, hence my choice to buy it; I also had 24 colours at my disposal at the same time. After some time I switched to the better segment of watercolour paints. Before I started really using the box I also made a colour card which I put in the lid of the box.

As I continued my lessons I became more convinced that I was going to continue working with watercolour and I felt like buying better paint, I wanted to avoid the beaten track a bit and started looking for something other than the well known Winsor & Newton, and Talens. Daniel Smith was out of the question, I wanted to keep it European and started looking for professional quality through various channels. So at a certain point I ended up on a second hand site and saw an advertisement from someone who sold 150 Daler Rowney Artists' brand naps at a reasonable price. I already had a lot of acrylic paint of this English brand and knew that the quality would be very solid. I contacted that person and we agreed on the price. I bought all the pans and still had to buy empty boxes. In the meantime I added the colours that were not in the lot and suddenly I had 80 colours at my disposal. A lot of colours and according to some totally unnecessary to have so many colours in your possession. That's a discussion I'd rather not go into, everyone is free to choose what he or she wants. I did notice that within the watercolour world there are a lot of fixed ideas and that many want to force their opinion and the so called "watercolour law" on others. I would rather not participate in that. In any case, I haven't complained yet that I have the possibility to have different colour nuances within so many cups. With so many cups you suddenly have to deal with colours you've never heard of, let alone seen. It was quite a job to make colour charts of these as well but it is a great tool to use when painting.



I continued to work with my watercolour and learned by doing a lot of research and research that there were still a lot of brands on the market. At a certain point I came across the Sennelier brand and wanted a new box of study paint and read about

“La petite aquarelle”. In the meantime I started to paint together with friends and a box of study paint became really necessary because I didn't want to make exercises and examples every time with my professional quality watercolours. I became curious and tried to find out more about this French brand. I got direct information from Sennelier and my curiosity was even more stimulated. I bought myself a box of 24 half cups and made a colour card of them as well.


By using Sennelier's “la petite aquarelle” I was also curious about their top series L'Aquarelle. I was still quite satisfied with my Daler Rowney but I suspected that the colours of L'aquarelle would be even deeper and more intense, that's what I was looking for because certain works I make ask for such an approach. Partly because of the use of honey, the colours are bright and of course the unique pigmentation that this watercolour has. I started with a box of 24 and bought cups every time I had some budget until I had the full colour palette. Again that's my own choice and no one has to feel obligated to buy all the colours as well. Painting is my hobby and I like to use the many colour nuances in a work.

A colour chart is useful because you can immediately see what a colour actually looks like on paper, if you have a few, say, blues next to each other in your box you can't possibly see which blue has which colour. It is also useful to place the colour number next to the correct colour. If you have to replace a pan because it is empty, you will know the correct colour number and that is handy when ordering new pans.

Below I place some colour cards that I once made, but of which I no longer own the paint. I would like to make some more colour cards of some brands but I stop buying materials because I still have a spare and of course I can't buy every brand. People who have colour charts of other brands can always send them to me, so I can show them here on this page.