Saturday, 12 December 2015

Daniel Smith artist palette dot cards - Joseph

An artist's colour and palette choice is a very individual thing and the subjects an artist chooses to paint can have a huge impact on the choice of colours used. Conversely, the pigments included in the palette can limit or open up subject possibilities. One of the fascinating things I always love to see is another artist's palette. I always enjoy analysing what any set of colours will be able to do.

As well as the fabulous sets of dot cards of their watercolour range, which make it possible to try a colour before buying a whole tube, Daniel Smith have made dot cards of a number of artists' chosen palette colours. It's a great tool for us to have when running workshops but it's also a great way for others to try new colours.

I have collected a number of Daniel Smith Artist palette dot cards over the years, and found some more doing internet searches and with a bit of help from a few friends. There are about 20 of them, and they include in total about 125 colours from the Daniel Smith range! Isn't it fantastic that we all like such different paints :-)

I decided to paint a swatch of each of the colours used in one of my sketchbooks. As it's not always possible to get hold of each of these cards I thought I'd share a scan of each of those I can find here, with a paint-out so the colours can be seen. I'm also including, where possible, the information printed on the back of the cards which has each artist's website so you can see what magic they weave with their chosen palette.

The most commonly included colour is, not surprisingly, Ultramarine/French Ultramarine - such a wonderful basic blue for watercolour or any medium. Second is Cobalt Teal blue, third is Cobalt blue, which many artists have along with Ultramarine.

Keep in mind, palettes also evolve and change over time, so any choices made may not remain constant for ever. Artists may also use extra colours beyond the basic palette colours for particular purposes. Furthermore, some colours that look similar as a 'dot' of paint have different characteristics - transparent/opaque/granulating and so on and not every colour from the palette will be used in every painting :-)

More of these to come.

You can see Joseph's website here


  1. When is your palette going to be available?! :)

    1. Mine was produced last years and due to be re-printed shortly. Here is the link though I have changed phthalo blue RS to phthalo blue GS in my palettes since that is the colour I recommend and I have been demonstrating with it so much!