Review: Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors Sketchers' Box

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors Sketchers' Box

Winsor & Newton probably has more portable watercolour set boxes than other makers. In this review, I'll be looking at three from the Cotman (student quality) range:

  • Sketchers' Pocket Box (12 half pans)
  • Deluxe Sketchers' Pocket Box (16 half pans)
  • Metal Sketchers' Box (24 half pans)

I can't compare the Cotman student quality with the Artists' quality because I haven't used them enough to see the distinction. Suffice to say, the Cotman range looks nice enough.

Winsor & Newton Sketchers' Pocket Box

The Sketchers' Pocket Box is the smallest watercolour box set available. It's small enough to fit into a shirt pocket.

It's even smaller than the Daler Rowney Aquafine Watercolor Pocket Set. But that's because the half pans are arranged vertically here.

The set comes with 12 half pans and a collapsible brush. You'll want to get a bigger or better brush because the one provided is too small and holds little water.

The colours are:

  • Lemon Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Red Pale Hue
  • Alizarin Crimson Hue
  • Ultramarine
  • Intense Blue (Phthalo Blue)
  • Viridian Hue
  • Sap Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Chinese White

It has the usual selection of colours typical of watercolour sets, namely the yellow, red, blue, green and earth tone. There's also Chinese White included, which I don't think is very useful. Anyway, you can swap out any pans with those that you like. I would have preferred a black or gray just for black and white drawings.

The box is made of tough white plastic. The lid has three partitions for mixing colours. It's easy to open and close with the clipping.

The downside of the box is that the half pans are quite loose in their housing. They can come out of their housing while it's in the pocket. The lid prevents them from actually falling out, but if they are wet, like after a painting session, they will stick to the side of the inner lid. To prevent them from coming out of the housing, you can either put some blu-tack beneath the pan. This does not happen to the Daler Rowney Aquafine Watercolor Pocket Set because the pans there fit tightly into their housing.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors Sketchers' Box availability: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.co.jp

Winsor & Newton Deluxe Sketchers' Pocket Box

The Deluxe Sketchers' Pocket Box is a 16 half pan set and the colours are:

  • Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Red Pale Hue
  • Cadmium Red Deep Hue
  • Alizarin Crimson Hue
  • Purple Lake
  • Ultramarine
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Cerulean Blue Hue
  • Viridian Hue
  • Sap Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Payne's Gray
  • Chinese White

It is much larger than the Sketchers' Pocket Box (12 half pans). You can fit it into a jacket pocket probably, but not your shirt or jeans pocket.

The box itself is made of tough white plastic. There are 6 partitions on the lid for mixing colours. It also comes with a medium kneaded (soft) putty rubber, a pencil and a collapsible brush. There's a thumb ring beneath the box. The collapsible brush is too small though and holds too little water. There's a bit of empty space in the box even all those items, which is big enough for more pans and small brushes.

The rows of half pans are held together by a piece of long white plastic beneath. The plastic doesn't secure the top row completely and the pans can come out of their housing during transport, and if wet will stick to the lid. It's a bit irritating but you can stick some blu-tack underneath.

Winsor & Newton Deluxe Sketchers' Pocket Box availability: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.fr | Amazon.co.jp

Winsor & Newton Metal Sketchers' Box

The lid has four partition, in addition to another hinged flap, that can be used as a palette. There is a thumb ring beneath the box.

Right in the middle between the rows of watercolour pans is enough space for putting some brushes.

24 colour set

  • Lemon Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow Hue
  • Cadmium Orange Hue
  • Cadmium Red Pale Hue
  • Cadmium Red Deep Hue
  • Alizarin Crimson Hue
  • Purple Lake
  • Ultramarine
  • Intense Blue (Phthalo Blue)
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Cerulean Blue Hue
  • Viridian Hue
  • Hooker's Green Dark
  • Sap Green
  • Emerald
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Indian Red
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Payne's Gray
  • Lamp Black
  • Chinese White

To check characteristics such as permanence rating, transparency, etc, check out the Winsor Newton Cotman Colour Chart or download the pdf (right click download)

Winsor & Newton Metal Sketchers' Box availability: Amazon.co.uk

I recommend getting the 12 colour pocket set for beginners. 12 colours is plenty to start with.

Availability

Try searching on Dick Blick Art Materials (USA) and Jackson's Art Supplies (UK).

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