Review: Micro Portable Painter Palette

This is the Micro Portable Painter palette is the smaller version of the Portable Painter palette made by Steve Padden.

The Micro Portable Painter palette was launched as a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in 2019. This is not one of those sketchy crowdfunding products because Steve Padden has been selling the Portable Painter for years, and on Amazon too. So I'm delighted he has come up with a new palette box design.


This is a much smaller design. it's about half the size of the Portable Painter.


That's how small it is compared to an A6-sized sketchbook (the one shown above is made by Wiltfried Pathuis).


It's a very compact and lightweight palette box.


It's really small when paired with an A5-sized sketchbook (that one shown above is made by Jeff).


Since this is such a small sketchbook, it's more suitable for use on small pieces or paper or on smaller sketchbooks, such as A6 to A5 sizes.


The palette box consist three parts. There's the cover which doubles as a mixing tray with two wells, a water tray that you can also mix colours on, and the palette that can hold six half pans.


The parts can be attached by sliding into the extruded extensions.


The palette can be configured to house 2 full pans + 2 half pans, 1 full pan + 4 half pans or 6 half pans. There are adhesives applied to the bottom of the pans to make sure they don't fall out of the palette.


If you use more of a certain colour, you can choose to use a full pan instead.


Larger pans are also easier to use because there's more contact surface for the brush.


This palette does not hold a lot of paint so it's not that suitable for long overseas sketching trip unless you bring tubes to refill the pans.

The maximum number of colours you can fit is six which is not too bad. You can fit two sets of primary colours for mixing which is still quite versatile.


There's this fold-out handle on the back of the palette. It seems too small to hold comfortably so I prefer to hold the palette on the sides instead (shown below).


Bottom of the water tray and palette are flushed so the palette can be placed flat on the table without wobble.


The wells on the mixing trays are deep enough.


The water tray is quite deep so water should not splash out easily when you're holding the palette in hand.


If I'm using the palette on a table, I'll use another water tray so that I can have one tray (small) for washing the brush, another tray (big) for clean water.


Steve Padden will also be selling empty pans separately.


The empty pans will be sold in a set with three full pans and six half pans. Adhesive stickers will be provided to stick the pans to the bottom of the palette so that the pans don't fall out.


The Portable Painter pans are slightly different compared to pans you can buy easily online. There's this side where it protrudes. These pans are also made to fit the Micro Portable Painter perfectly. If you use your own purchased empty pans, they are slightly smaller but you can put adhesives or Blu-tack beneath to make them stick.


Keeping the palette is quick and easy. Do note that the different parts are not perfectly symmetrical. There are cutouts for latches to fit into.


When mixing it seems like water is able to collect into a pool rather than split up into individual puddles.


The overall palette design is functional and works great.

My only quibble is the small flip-out holder at the bottom could just be made into a thumb ring. Anyway, I also don't use thumb rings of my other watercolour palettes.

From what I can see on the Indiegogo page, the un-discounted price for each palette box is US $20. I'm not sure what the exact price will be when this Micro Portable Painter is eventually made available for sale to the public though.

Meanwhile, you can follow their website, Instagram and/or Facebook to be updated when the product goes on sale.

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1 Comment

Hmmm... I think that this box

Hmmm... I think that this box could have been a liiiiitle bit larger in order to hold 8 half pans instead of 6.
Six colours are enough for a split primary palette but the problem with this colour selection is that you have to mix... for the rest of your days or add Phthalo Blue and Green that are staining, difficult to control and add a certain kind of hue on all other colours.
Going though from six to eight colours allows you to add a darkener and a neutralizer and then you can have a very powerful colour selection.
A cool and a warm yellow ( I would choose a lemon yellow along with a transparent Yellow Ochre)
A cool and a warm red ( a Magenta with a Pyrrole Red)
A cool and a warm blue ( Cobalt Blue with Prussian to cover all possible mixes of green and grays)
A sepia or indigo (for a darkener) and a neutralizer ( B. Sienna or Light R. Umber) depending on how cool or warm you want your mixes to be.
I hope that you like my colour selection for either six or eight colour setup.

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