12 color limited watercolor palette

When I started painting second time in my life, I dabbled with a lot of colors (notice I did not call it a hue lol). At one point I have had around 40 plus different colors and pans from Winsor & Newton , Van Gogh and Daler Rowney. Mostly all student quality.

As the time went by my palette started showing me which colors I was using a lot which colors I was using a little and the ones that I used once in a great while and a bunch that I have probably used once to just test the hue on paper !!!

It made me realise  that I can probably get by with fewer colors. So I started researching that if I had to cut down by how much should I cut down !!

This is where it starts to get interesting . Because every artist is different, Every artist’s style is different and therefore every artist recommendation is different.

so I DECIDED of my own to start with 12 colors. There was no rule, no guidance or any of that sort for why 12 and why not 18 or 24.

I am writing this blog post after using 12 color limited palette for 8 months.

Well first things first ..take a look


Once I decided on the number 12. Next was which brand . Since I have been using Windsor & Newton and Van Gogh . I thought It was time for give Daniel Smith a try. I have seen lots of artist use Daniel Smith and I was also wanting to move to artist quality so I decided Daniel Smith.

And ordered by 12 tubes on eBay !!!

Here is what is in my palette


Did u notice no cadmiums !! Yay !!

All the names of Hues are from Daniel Smith , These might be named differently for different brands.

I got lot of help from hand print .com and Jane Blundell’s blog.

But ultimately I had to decide which 12 colors I want . General guidance of course being cool and warm of each primary , Earth colors , Mixing green and black or neutral tint or…..

Hope this is helpful, If you have any questions leave me a comment . I will share what I know.



2 thoughts on “12 color limited watercolor palette

  1. Biral

    Great post! I just did the exact same thing and limited myself to these 12 colours 1. Cool Yellow. DS Hansa Yellow Medium. 
2. Warm Yellow. WN Quinacridone Gold.
3. Warm Red.  DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange. 
4. Cool Red. DS Quinacridone Rose. N
5. Warm Blue – DS Ultamarine Blue 
6. Cool Blue – Cerulean Blue (Chronium) 
7. DS Pthalo Blue Red shade 
8. WN Earth Yellow Raw Sienna
9. Earth red Burnt Sienna
    10  Earth Brown – WN Raw Umber
    11. WN Olive Green and 12. DS Pthalo green – blue shade

    Unfortunately, Pthalo blue has taken a really long time to dry up and by accident I knocked my palette over and let’s just say there is a huge blue stain on my carpet now! Oops!



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