Watercolour paint is a popular medium for many artists as it is easy and convenient to work with. The paints usually come in either hard pans or tubes of liquid paint – both types have their pros and cons.
Pans or half-pans of watercolour paint are dried “cakes” of paint that sit in small plastic or metal containers. Generally they come in a set which can be refilled with individual pan colours. Half-pans are half the size of full pans. Because the pans are generally quite small, and sit together in a neat little box, they are a great companion for those who like to paint on the go or have limited space available. To get paint from a pan, use a damp brush to pick up the colour and then add it do your palette. Special care must be taken in order to prevent the different colours from getting contaminated so cleaning your brush between picking up colours is a good idea. Colours can then be mixed on your palette to create various tones and hues. You should also be careful to not damage the bristles of your brush by picking up colour too vigorously from the pans.
Watercolour tubes contain a more liquid version of the paint. One of the perks of having liquid paint available is that is makes it easier to create washes over large areas as the paint dissolves in water more easily. The paint can be mixed in large quantities in a higher concentration which is great for bigger artworks. Dried out tube paint can be rehydrated over and over without it affecting the brilliance of the colour too much. Tube paints are less likely to get contaminated than the pans as the colours remain safe inside the tube.
You can fill up your empty half pan containers with liquid watercolour paint and leave it to dry creating your own version of a pan watercolour!