Why Artists and Designers use Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour

July 8, 2022

From J.M.W. Turner to the present day, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour has been a first choice for artists. Design industry professionals and contemporary painters rely on its portability, vibrant colours, and broad range.

But what are the qualities that make it so special? In this article, we’ll identify the core features of the Professional Watercolour line through some quotes from Winsor & Newton’s roster of artists.

Single Pigment Colours

“Winsor & Newton have an extensive range of historic and iconic colours, a high proportion of which contain single pigments. I feel that having colours which are not imitations brings me closer to the values of the classic artists.”


Of the 109 colours in the Professional Watercolour range, 79 are made from single pigments.

Add together the colours of the light spectrum to gain white light; combine the colours of the paint spectrum and you achieve a muddy grey. Pigments in paint absorb parts of the light spectrum and refract others. Our eyes see the refracted light as colours.

The optimal method of achieving clean, vivid colours is through maximum refraction, which is in turn achieved through utilizing single pigment paints.

Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna on rough watercolour paper.

Watercolour Transparency

“An exciting colour for me is Transparent Orange because of its specific formulation, it is both warm and has a very deep, luminous vibration allowing it to be incorporated with another colour through toning or layering.”


One of the main valued characteristics of watercolour paint is transparency. This is achieved in thanks to Gum Arabic which is a highly refractive binder.

In watercolour paints, transparent pigments will reveal the layer below the painted surface. On watercolour paper light reflects off the white surface, increasing colour luminosity. When glazed over other colours, transparent watercolours combine like sheets of coloured glass. These pigments achieve both the best layering effects and cleanest mixtures.

Winsor & Newton Transparent Orange on rough watercolour paper.

Clean and bright, Transparent Orange is a particularly versatile colour. It is an intense, vivid ground tone, and its deep undertone moves it towards yellow. These qualities make Transparent Orange especially suited for portraits.

Combining Transparent Orange with key colours from the range such as Winsor Blue (Red Shade) will create earth tones. These tones can be particularly useful in ladscape paintings. Adjust the amount of orange to achieve rich, red earths or dry, arid earths.

Texture & Granulation

“A favourite of mine is Mars Black, it has a dense, black ground colour and a burnt earth undertone that makes it particularly useful in studies of tree bark, browned rocks or textures of soil and barren surfaces.”


Granulation is a prized effect in watercolour. Granulation occurs when pigments, often with larger and more uneven particles, clump together outside of the binder and onto the textured surface of watercolour paper.

In the Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour range there are 34 granulating colours including Mars Black, Perylene Green, Transparent Orange, Cobalt Green, and Cobalt Violet.

Winsor & Newton Mars Black on cold pressed watercolour paper.

One of the most granulating colours in the Professional Watercolour range, Mars Black performs best on rough paper which enhances its granular performance.

Professional Performance

“Really these days I don’t look elsewhere, the level of performance I want from my watercolours I get from the Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour range.”


Artists and designers trust Winsor & Newton to deliver expert colour. The special qualities of Professional Watercolour gives them all they need to imagine endless possibilities.

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