Daniel Smith Floral Half Pan Set Review + Color Swatch Card Template

Swatch color chart, example painting, video demo and free custom template for swatch cards including spaces for details like how the paint lifts (erases) while wet or after drying, gradient wash, full or diluted color range, salt effect reaction and more!

Daniel Smith Floral half pan watercolor set review

The case is very simple, without any mixing areas, and not made to be a stand-alone palette. This disappointed quite a few people who wanted a travel-ready case that would not leak (the lid does not seal on the side, so paint will spill out), however there is one very nice perk to this case. It is absolutely tiny. The most compact case I've ever seen for watercolors, measuring just 3"x4" and 3/4" thick. This will easily slide into a pocket. You can fit several sets into a purse. If you use a water brush, or you mix your colors on paper instead of in a palette, this case can work out quite well for you. Because it is made from plastic, not a metal tin that may have sharp edges, there are no safety concerns for young people.

This set (of the 6 sets released late 2018) is the most versatile, affordable, and contains unique pigments that show off what Daniel Smith as a brand does best - provide special effects or unique granulating mineral paints. This is a great way to try their paints for the first time, while having all the mixing colors you need, and not investing more money up front for tube paints.

Floral portrait example art Daniel Smith half pan watercolor set review

When it comes to Daniel Smith, there is very little question about paint quality. This set is no different, using the same formula as their tube paints. The pans easily re-wet with a touch of a damp brush. The high pigment load can create a broad range of dark to light as you dilute it with water.

Cadmium Yellow Medium hue, Quin Gold, Quinacridone Rose Daniel Smith color chart swatch

Phthalo Blue, Cascade Green, Green Apatite color swatch card chart for half pan floral set Daniel Smith

Phthalo Blue mixed with Quin Gold results in deep floral greens, mixed with Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue you can get light springtime yellow-greens. Phthalo Blue and Quin Rose make vibrant purples, while Quin Rose and the yellows make reds to oranges. The real fun starts when you mix in Cascade Green, a green-blue with brown undertones that separate out into granulation heaven. Green Apatite, a genuine mineral, creates incredibly realistic textures when painting leaves. While this set is overall aimed at painting florals, you can really mix nearly any color to fit any theme.

I designed a custom swatch card, created to be standard business card size so it would fit into a 3-ring binder with card storage sheets. You can print them any size you wish, but I print mine at 2x3.5". Here is the template I used in this review:

 Custom swatch card template for watercolor painting detailed Lift Salt Wash Glaze spaces

Video demonstration using this paint set:


For those new to watercolor, almost all commonly available pan (dry) sets are in a small size format called "half pans". The tiny 18x11x10mm rectangles of paint should last through dozens of small paintings. I do not recommend half pan sets at all for people who like to paint large (over 8x10"). If you paint large, tube watercolors and a dedicated palette are better for cost, mixing, and allowing large brushes the room they need to pick up color without damaging them. These small sets are good for sketchbooks and preferably artwork in the ATC to 5"x7" range using round brushes up to size 8, or roughly 1/4" flats.

Materials used in this video: Daniel Smith Floral Cottage Gardens to Botanicals half pan watercolor set, bee cold press paper, waterproof SketchInk, Princeton Heritage paint brushes, Rotring Isograph, Uni-Ball signo white gel pen. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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