Daniel Smith

Essential Colors Set

Essential colors to start your watercolor adventure.




  • Includes six colors: Hansa Yellow Light, New Gamboge, Quinacridone Rose, Pyrrol Scarlet, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), French Ultramarine.
  • Each tube contains 5ml / 0.17 fluid oz. of watercolor paint.
The Watercolor Essentials Set from Daniel Smith provides warm and cool versions of each primary color. The perfect set to get started on your watercolor adventures.
Color chart for the Essential Watercolors by Daniel Smith.

A split-primary palette

The set is a split-primary palette, providing a warm and cool version of each primary color. Hansa Yellow light is a lemony yellow (cool) while New Gamboge is orangish (warm). Pyrrol Scarlet is an orangish red (warm) and Quinacridone Rose is purplish (cool). Finally, French Ultramarine is a purplish blue, and Phthalo Blue (greenshade) is more teal (cool). When the warm and cool versions are mixed together, they create a bright primary.

Color chart for the Essential Watercolors by Daniel Smith.

A whole world of color

Using a limited palette (explore examples here) can contribute to a painting’s sense of harmony. Creating a color chart, such as the one here, can help you understand mixing possibilities. This example is laid out like a multiplication table. I used half of the chart to create uniform mixes of each color, and the other half to loosely the mix the pigments on my paper together.

Color explorations for the Essential Watercolors by Daniel Smith.

Mixing greys and browns

The question of mixing neutral greys and browns often comes up. The trick is to mix complementary colors together, those that are opposite each other on the color wheel: red/green, yellow/purple, and blue/orange. My rule of thumb is to mix no more than three colors together or they get muddy. Above all, just experiment and have fun!

An artist sites on a rock, dipping a paintbrush in a Pocket Palette.

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