Friday, 9 February 2018

Watercolour Paint Dot Cards

A fairly recent trend has been the introduction of dot cards.  These are small blobs of paint on sheets of stiff card to enable the artist to see the exact shade of the particular paint. Previously the choices were either printed sheets of the paint ranges or hand-painted colour charts. I have a large collection of all three types. The problems with the printed charts are the approximate representation of the actual colour, while the hand painted charts can be so pristine, and the colours so smooth and consistent, that you wonder how they achieved them. Maybe it's just me.

The sheets above are the full Daniel Smith range, at least it was when I bought them but there have been some additions since then. Rather than try and paint them out on separate sheets of watercolour paper I think it best to do what I've done as some of the dots are very small.  I noticed an example of the Schminke dots where the colours had been painted vertically rather than round as here.  Anyway it's up to you how you approach this. This full range dot cards is quite expensive and they do smaller charts of dots, some of which are free or lower priced. I noticed on a recent visit to my local art shop that they had a 'free' Daniel Smith dot card with the well-known British artist Shirley Trevenas 'palette'. Anything to separate you from your hard-earned cash. The unpainted dots above are the 'iridescent' range and some of the 'specials' they do.

The above are the latest Schmincke dot cards which cost just over £14 from Jacksons. There also are some other sheets with smaller number,  the lowest number being free and slightly more comprehensive  ones - but not the full range - at a lower price.

They were introduced with the recent revamp increasing the number of paints to 140. Schmincke also do a splendid brochure of their watercolours with printed colours, but a most detailed description of each colour, including pigment numbers, characteristics and other information. I have a hard copy of the original range, but this time it appears is only available on the website and I haven't yet found a way to download it. All I can say is that the dots plus study of the brochure will give you the most comprehensive details you could ever want. Better than anyone else I would say. Schmincke are now highly competitive (in my opinion) and well worth considering. The only snag is they have 4 price series, not as many as some nor the lowest number, and there are not that many is Series 1, which is the cheapest. I've pointed out previously that the makers are not consistent and if not careful you can pay more than necessary due to how they price  their paints (pigments). Some that are in Series 1  in one make may be Series 2 - and consequently dearer - in others.

I read somewhere recently about QoR having dot cards but have no other information. I wouldn't even consider QoR though due to the eye watering prices.  I have an aversion to well-known artists recommending particularly expensive paints - applying to Daniel Smith and others - when they are receiving them free or at very large discounts to promote them. I'm not suggesting the paints aren't good because they are, but for amateur hobbyists, who are the large majority, there are perfectly adequate alternatives at lower prices. The late Ron Ranson told me privately that he considered a lot of the so-called recommendations of what to buy were a rip-off.  He used mostly Cotman paints in a limited number, Bockingford paper and a few synthetic brushes.

I seem to recall Winsor & Newton did a small number of three paint dot cards a while back but they have not moved on from this - at least not so far. One improvement on the dot cards would be pigment numbers but they are absent.


Steven Wayne said...


The Schmincke PDF link is:

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for the information Steven.

Melusine Leigh said...

Hi Peter
The nice people at Schminke sent me a free set of dot cards and their two brochures when I emailed them with a query about pigments. I really like some of their new colours,especially the highly granulating pigments.
Also Pegasus Art do all the Schminke watercolour paints in 15ml tubes at a good price and give a great,fast service.
Happy painting,

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Melusine. I know Pegasus Art - not too far from where I live. I agree Schmincke are excellent, especially with this upgrade to their range.

Malcolm Marcus said...

Hi Peter, just came across your website. Lots of interesting stuff. Looking for examples of your work. Any? Malcolm

Peter Ward said...

Yes loads actually but don't expect too much I'm just an amateur Just scroll down or go to the menu on the right hand side and look into each month.