Review of Expensive Watercolors {Daniel Smith}

Hello my name is Lindsay I am a watercolor floozy. I can’t resist having a fling with a new set of beautiful watercolors, especially if I find some on sale which I did. I got this 6 watercolor essential set from Daniel Smith for $22 from Amazon Warehouse Deals, I snagged it because there was only one, I think it was shopworn or a return, I did not care as long as the paint was good. The paint was great but unfortunately there were 2 ultramarines in the set in place of a pthalo blue but Daniel Smith send me out a replacement tube so all was good.

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I had dozens of people ask me to review Daniel Smith paint and even more recommend it. The price however gave me pause but I am really glad I tried these! Unfortunately it makes me want more. Oh, and a warning, if you go to the Daniel Smith website you can see beautiful swatches of colors and descriptions that sound like you are reading the back of a wine label or a romance novel, I had to step away from the computer before I spent a paycheck on romantic sounding names like Moonglow and Undersea Green. They have a fantastic copywriter! Enough talking, lets see what these paints are all about in today’s review and demo:

The colors included in the 6 color watercolor essentials set are:
Hansa Yellow Light (col yellow)
New Gamboge (Warm Yellow)
Quinacridone Rose (Cool Red)
Pyrrol Scarlet (Warm REd)
Pthalo Blue GS (Cool “greeny” blue)
French Ultramarine (Warm “purply” blue)

If you want more info on basic split primary color mixing check out my free video here but if you want a more in depth course using the Daniel Smith colors try the class Luminous Watercolor Mixing at Craftsy.  Last I checked it was 33% off and I did enroll in it myself to be sure it was a good color mixing class.

You can find a good deal on Daniel Smith tubes on Blitsy. They also have the set I used at Simon Says Stamp (but honestly, you can get the 6 tube set for half the price on Amazon.)

I really like these paints and this set is perfect for clean bright mixes, perfect workhorse colors to start off with. The only negative I can think of on Daniel Smith paints is they are expensive but luckily they often have sales so you can keep a list and stock up when you find a deal. They sell dot sample cards if you want to try colors before comitting to buying a tube or stick of paint which might be smart, or dumb if it just makes you want more. #WatercolorFloozyProblems. I also love the descriptions they put of each color on their website, although warning, you might get talked into buying:)

This 6 color set is wonderful for beginners or experienced artists wanting to try and compare with basic colors. I’ll say that the quality is excellent so advanced painters might want to try some of their more exotic pigments to round out their collections especially if you seek granulating colors.

I will be using these paints in a video tomorrow as well (as if I could waste ANY of the paint on that palette!) if you want to see it in action some more. Also today I wanted to announce the winner of the ArtNeko stamps from last week (sorry to cram so much in to one post) Virginia Michelini enjoy your prize! You will get an email from me with instructions on claiming your stamps, congrats! Let me know what you think of these paints in the comments below, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

16 Responses

  1. I’ve used Daniel Smith watercolor paints for several years. I used to use Grumbacher Academie watercolors and in my opinion the DS paints win hands down. The first set of the DS paints I got was Susie Short’s Essential 7. The set included 7 15 ml tubes. The colors were similar to your list; but, for the cool yellow, it was Hansa Yellow Medium. For the warm red, it was Pyrrol Orange. It also included a tube of Quinacridone Burnt Orange.

    It is possible to make a nice sepia color using Fr. Ultramarine with Quin Burnt Orange.

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  2. I forgot to say that the DS watercolor sticks can be used the same as watercolor pencils or crayons. You can also rub the stick onto a plate and add water to use it like you would normally do with your palette. Also, you can pick up paint from the stick with a wet brush. The options are only limited by your imagination.

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  3. Amazon Warehouse Deals? Who knew! I never noticed or heard of them before! Thanks–I think!

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  4. | | | |

    | | | Hi Lindsay, Cleaning and organizing my craftroom and found some inkjet refill ink.  I made some diy sprays from some 30 year old stamp pad reinkers per your youtube and love it!!  Refilling ink cartridges were a pain but can the ink be used for anything?  I could experiment myself and probably will and I do so enjoy your insightful and delightful comments and ideas.   I am a long time sew-er, crafter and do it yourselfer, collector of too many things and now on a fixed income so USE WHAT I HAVE is my theme.  If I don’t have room for it, I need to give it away right?  Yeah, you may be a watercolor floozy but I am a craft/paper/fabric hoarder & trying very hard to get it under control.   Currently working on my life albums–seven decades–huge! 8.5×11 (12×12 too large). I am using Gelli prints made with 2 gallon size ziplock bag with a towel and stable bottom that can be moved; ink/stencil sprayed paper and will glue punched shapes, die cut shapes, Cricut & Silhouette shapes; stamped, embossed–dry & heat.  I’ve been cutting paper for years and have thousands of cut outs!  It’s gonna have a lot of journaling and will be a collage of pictures, stories, anything & everything. Thank you for sharing your knowledge & experiences on the blog and Youtube videos.  Miss the Ask a Crafter segments. God Bless,chiyo in Hawaii |

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  5. You are truly an amazing woman. I love your posts.

    You should visit Newfoundland. So much to paint here. Also, lots of artists, of all kinds, live here.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Roseanne

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  6. Would you please compare these to Golden Qor and M Graham watercolors? Any sense of the advantages/disadvantages of each? Thank you.

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    • I am not Lindsay, but I do have and love M. Graham and Daniel Smith Watercolors. Since both M. Graham and Daniel Smith use gum Arabic as the binder, they should work well together. I have heard some people have problems when trying to mix the worst watercolors with traditional watercolors. Both Daniel Smith and M. Graham reset easily after having dried in a palette(the exceptions are the Primatec series from Daniel Smith; those seem to need extra glycerin added to them since they are actual stones ground up). Both are highly pigmented. One difference I have heard of that may or may not be a problem depending on where you live is that it can take a long time for the M. Graham paints to dry if you live in a humid climate(not a disadvantage necessarily, but there have been accidents reported on watercolor forums when people didn’t let them dry enough or left them in a hot car in a two sided palette. Another difference is that M. Graham has a much smaller selection of colors, which can be advantageous if you are newer to watercolor.

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  7. I’m glad you like the Daniel Smith paints. A few years ago, I was able to go to the Seattle store, when my sister lived in Seattle, and I was able to get a couple of the triads and the people in the store were really nice. I agree that the marketing for Daniel Smith is really good. One color that I absolutely love is their Quinacridone gold, and they are now the only company that has the original pigment; the pigment has been discontinued, and Daniel Smith bought the remaining pigment, which should last about 20 more years according to a local art store. I think you would like undersea green; it really is a lovely color and I have not been able to replicate it on my own. I don’t know if you have contacted them or not directly, but I have seen other youtubers who use their products state that they were sent the paint by Daniel Smith for free and were allowed to give their own opinions about the paints. Maybe you can get some paints that way.

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  8. I’m glad you like the Daniel Smith paints. A few years ago, I was able to go to the Seattle store, when my sister lived in Seattle, and I was able to get a couple of the triads and the people in the store were really nice. I agree that the marketing for Daniel Smith is really good. One color that I absolutely love is their Quinacridone gold, and they are now the only company that has the original pigment; the pigment has been discontinued, and Daniel Smith bought the remaining pigment, which should last about 20 more years according to a local art store. I think you would like undersea green; it really is a lovely color and I have not been able to replicate it on my own.

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  9. Yay! Thanks for the win. Answered my email already, truly love stamps and flowers what more could I ask. While checking her site she discussed making stamps from scraps and they send some out sometimes. Have you done this, Lindsay? I might want to try. My favorite medium is polymer clay but you and YouTube make me want to branch out! Once again, thanks for the win.

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  10. I can see that these are so much better than the ones I have…thank you so much for the review…will be looking into these for sure…love it when you paint….you are such inspiration to us all…

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  11. Hi, Lindsay, from California! I enjoy everything you do. When watching this video I was so distracted by the angry ogre on your plate. Accidental art…LOL. Thanks for everything.

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  12. They look awesome. Love the colors and the descriptions of the colors.

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  13. What’s a good brand watercolor if you’re just starting out to learn?

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    • Cotman by Winsor & newton is what I recommend a lot because you can get it anywhere, it is relatively inexpensive and very reliable and lightfast. Prang watercolors are nicas well and cheaper:)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for reviewing DS-watercolors and sorry about my late reaction/reply! Your review was really insightful, as well as helpful, for me with regards to DS and I might add that I, personally, love the bright sheen and luster of DS-colors…really brightens up the paint-surface and makes it a joy to view the finished result i m h o!

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