I love watercolor painting and the paints themselves. I love looking at a palette of beautiful paint. I guess I am easy to please or an artist! lol
Watercolor paint does come in many options; pan/cakes and tubes which house transparent paint or paint you can see through. Opaque watercolor paint is called Gouache paint or non-transparent. Usually gouache paint has a watered-down acrylic feel in consistency. The white is often used in watercolor for a non-transparent-ness effect.
Now tube watercolors are more concentrated in solubility and mix evenly, plus you do not need much paint to mix a lot of pigment. If a tube dries up on you because it has not been used in a while…..toss it! A dried up tube of watercolor is no longer good to use. So, in that regard buy small tubes vs. the larger size. Now, if you have a palette and like to enter the tube watercolors in the little spaces you can empty a tube of pigment into one of the wells and let it dry directly from the tube. That will not hurt the paint from a fresh tube.
There are half pan and full pan referring to size, usually half pans are about 1/2 inch square size.
English Winsor and Newton watercolors are pretty much known and come in different grades; student and or professional grade.
A professional grade offers more pigment and a better quality paint overall vs. a student grade which has more filler then pigments.
There are watercolor paint sets called “Page of London” paint sets; these are from the 40″s to the 60’s they were made. People collect the tin and lithograph they come in over the paint itself. The paint is beautiful to work with and has a transparent effect more than traditional paints; very light and airy.
German Schmincke, [German made] watercolors are bright and strong in pigment or hue. Fabulous paints to work with! The paints are a little expensive, about $350. or more for a set of 24 pans.