Photo of DANIEL SMITH Sketcher Hand Poured Watercolor Half Pan Set, with open box showing the half pans and with a side by side paint out of the colors

Some questions we are often asked:


“What colors do you suggest for a beginner to get started?”
“What colors should I get if I want to paint with watercolors?”
“What colors should I choose to start painting with DANIEL SMITH watercolors?”

We get asked questions like these all the time, they are such a great questions, and a real challenge to answer because we have the widest selection of watercolors in the world, more than 250 colors!

Choosing a palette of colors is very personal, and at its most basic, the choice needs to include a yellow, red and blue for a primary mixing set. 

“Which yellow, red and blue to get started with?” 

We have a wonderful answer, the DANIEL SMITH Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set!

This handy, thoughtfully selected group of 6 DANIEL SMITH colors was developed over several years by Sketcher Artist Liz Steel (with helpful feedback from other artists) to be an excellent starter palette of watercolors, perfect for the beginner, the artist who wants to upgrade to DANIEL SMITH Watercolors and the on-the-go artist who needs a good basic set to take with them.


“An affordable artist quality starter set [like the DANIEL SMITH Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set] has been needed in the marketplace.”  – Liz Steel

Because the set is made up of half pans, it is an excellent value to get started with 6 DANIEL SMITH Watercolors at a lower price than 6, 15ml tubes would be, and well priced for gift giving too!

The colors in the set were carefully chosen for their ability to mix beautifully making gorgeous and useful secondary colors as well as huge spectrum of other colors.  Liz explains, in her article, that an important part of choosing the colors was including 2 primary triads [yellow, red & blue] in what she calls a “Bright Primary Triad” and an “Earth Primary Triad“. Having two different primary mixing triads within the set makes color mixing fast, easy and successful for painting.   

Bright Primary Triad colors from the DANIEL SMITH Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set of six colors.  Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Rose, Ultramarine Blue

Bright Primary Triad”, for quickly mixing bright colors:

Earth primary triad colors from the DANIEL SMITH Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set of six colors. Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Transparent Red Oxide, Cerulean Blue, Chromium

Earth Primary Triad“, for quickly mixing earthly colors:

Color mixing grid of the Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set
organized by Liz Steel’s 2 primary triads:  “bright primary triad” and “earth primary triad”

Color mixing grid of the Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set
organized by Liz Steel’s 2 primary triads:  “bright primary triad” and “earth primary triad”

With these two primary triads you can confidently mix a huge range of useful and beautiful colors, both within each of the triads and mixing combinations of the two triad colors together.

The Sketcher Half Pan Watercolor Set was designed to be a solid foundation palette of colors to get started painting with watercolors for beginners, and are a great introduction to DANIEL SMITH Watercolors for more experienced artists.  The Set was also designed to work wonderfully with add on colors as each artist later chooses additional colors to personalize their palette for their particular subjects. The Set even includes 9 empty half pans ready to fill with additional colors from DANIEL SMITH tube watercolors!

We know that if you are looking to start painting with watercolors, or wanting to upgrade to DANIEL SMITH Watercolors, our DANIEL SMITH Hand Poured Watercolor Sketcher Half Pan Set is the best choice for great mixing colors and a great price to get started!

The Sketcher Half Pan Set is one of six New DANIEL SMITH Hand Poured Watercolor Half Pan Sets, find out about them all by clicking HERE.

For more articles by artists about our Half Pan sets, please scroll down to the bottom of the page about all our Half Pan Sets HERE.

DANIEL SMITH Hand Poured Watercolor Half Pan Sets