Paint your adventures with 10 of the best travel watercolour sets
If you enjoy painting outdoors, a travel watercolour set is an essential piece of kit. Discover Gathered’s pick of the best travel watercolour sets
Whether you like to paint on your holidays or simply want a convenient paint set to take with you on the go, a travel watercolour set is just what you need.
Travel watercolour sets are small enough to fit in your bag or slip into a suitcase pocket. They contain a limited selection of colours and are usually enclosed in a sturdy case.
Many travel watercolour sets come with a miniature brush or a water brush to make it more convenient for you to paint wherever you are.
There are sets available to suit all budgets, but we’d recommend looking out for well-known brands such as Winsor & Newton and Daler Rowney. While these sets only include a few paint pans, the quality of the watercolours will be much better than those found in cheaper sets.
If you like adding a touch of sparkle to your paintings, you can also buy gorgeous metallic paint sets to give your art an extra shimmer.
10 best travel watercolour sets
1. Winsor & Newton Cotman pocket watercolour sets
Winsor & Newton’s compact pocket watercolour sets are ideal for artists who like to paint on the go. These sets include eight paint pans with space to add four more pans of your choice, so you can customise the set to suit your needs. It also comes with a small brush that’s perfect for quick sketches!
The range has four different colour palettes available, including sets designed for portraits, flowers, landscapes and celestial landscapes. This means you can choose the shades that match your painting style.
2. Artway travel watercolour paint set
Looking for travel watercolour paints that won’t break the bank? This set from Artway is affordable without compromising on quality.
It includes 14 watercolour pans in a good selection of shades, such as cadmium red, cobalt blue, leaf green and lemon yellow. The paints are vibrant and dry with a glossy finish.
The robust tin also folds out to create a paint palette for mixing colours together. This is always a useful feature when you’re painting outdoors! There’s a handy miniature brush included too.
3. Sennelier Aqua Mini watercolour tin
Watercolour paint sets don’t come much smaller than this teeny tiny travel tin by Sennelier. It’s very compact and includes just eight paint pans, but they still managed to find space to include a brush.
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Sennelier has a great reputation for producing high-quality paints and these watercolours come in a selection of beautifully pigmented shades.
Buy the Sennelier Aqua Mini watercolour tin from Cass Art
4. Daler Rowney Aquafine On the Go watercolour set
This stylish travel watercolour set from Daler Rowney comes in an unusual round tin. The colours are arranged around the outside with a palette and brush in the centre.
The set contains 18 colours, so you’re unlikely to feel restricted. The paints have a beautiful creamy consistency too.
It’s small enough to take with you for a painting session en plein air and provides excellent value for money overall.
This is a good set for beginners looking to buy their first set of travel paints.
5. Winsor & Newton complete pocket set
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Winsor & Newton’s Cotman range is aimed at beginners and art students. It’s a good option for anyone looking for decent watercolour paints, especially if you’re not yet ready to upgrade to professional-standard paints.
This set contains 16 beautiful shades to experiment with. As an added bonus, the pocket set also comes with a travel paintbrush, pencil and a mouldable eraser – everything you need to create stunning watercolour sketches on your travels.
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6. Winsor & Newton Cotman metallic pocket set
If you want to add some sparkle to your paintings, we’d recommend this mini metallic watercolour set from Winsor & Newton.
With eight shimmering shades, these brilliant paints will give all of your art an extra dimension.
There’s space to fit additional watercolour pans if you’d like, but we’d recommend using the metallic paints alongside a larger watercolour set with a wider range of colours.
7. Derwent Graphitint paint travel set
Strictly speaking, Derwent’s Graphitint paints aren’t strictly watercolours: they’re graphite paints with added colours. You can use them in the same way as watercolours to create paintings in subtle, muted shades.
If you already own watercolours, you might enjoy using this set as a change from conventional watercolours – it’s always good to switch up your painting style now and then!
The set comes in 12 colours with a small water brush and a sponge as an added bonus.
8. Winsor & Newton Professional watercolour field pocket set
If you’re heading off on a special trip, why not treat yourself to an upgraded set of watercolour paints?
While this professional set from Winsor & Newton might seem pricey, the quality of the paint is much higher than the Cotman range. These professional paint pans contain more pigment, so a little goes a long way. The paints are also permanent and lightfast, so your artwork won’t fade over time.
This set could last you for years if you take good care of it and you can easily replace any paint pans that get used up.
9. Schmincke Akademie watercolour set
This brilliant little set of travel watercolour paints from Schmincke includes 12 half pans in bright, lightfast shades.
The paints are highly pigmented and would be suitable for both beginners and experienced artists. The compact set is ideal for travellers, but it also comes in larger sizes if you want a wider selection of colours to choose from.
10. Cass Art Professional watercolour quarter pan
Paint like a pro with this watercolour travel set by Cass Art. It’s always worth checking out own-brand products sold by art stores, as they’re often excellent quality.
This set has a range of brilliant colours that are truly professional quality. It comes with a small brush and the tin itself is strong. For added protection, the Cass Art set comes with a leather travel pouch to keep your paints safe.
The whole set is about the size of a smartphone, so it’s highly portable – perfect for all of your painting expeditions!
The best travel watercolour sets will inspire you to capture your travels
When you’re out and about or travelling, it’s not always convenient to bring lots of heavy art supplies with you. Choosing a travel watercolour set means that you can settle down for a painting session whenever the mood strikes you!
Travel watercolour sets usually contain a more limited range of colours and come in a strong box or tin. These sets often include mini brushes to make your art kit even more convenient to carry. They’re often small enough to fit into a pocket too.
Look out for well-known paint brands, as the paint quality is usually better than the budget options.
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Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints
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