This 15 color half pan selection was picked by artist Jane Blundell. If you are a fan of hers and like her color mixing charts or book, then this set was made for you. Unfortunately I do not believe there is a one size fits all "ultimate mixing" selection for all artists, especially if you like bright and unique colors. This set contains too many browns for graphic design, abstract art and vibrant non photo-realism artwork. The price is high for being filled with cheap pigments. D.S. tube paints vary from about $11-$20 a tube, and these colors are all in the $11-$14 range. To put this in perspective, each pan is costing you about $5 when you can get a whole 15ml tube for about $11 that would fill that roughly 2ml half-pan tray about 7 times.
You may think this is a great way to try Daniel Smith paints without having to invest in a lot of tube colors, resulting in a higher upfront investment. However, I would take a very close look at the color selection and decide if you think it is worth this price. They are not unique outside of Goethite brown. You can get sets from other companies with these basic colors for a lot cheaper. If you want to see what makes Daniel Smith so special, I highly recommend the primatek granulating mineral color tubes or the 6-half pan sets instead that contain some hidden gems. Such as the Blues set on Amazon full of granulating minerals and the very expensive "sleepy beauty turquoise" which would run you $20 just for that color if you bought it in tube form).
The case is compact - that is the best thing to say about it. You can fit many in your purse, a couple in your pocket. The lid does not lay flat and there is a gap so colors can just run out of the case if you try to mix on the lid. I fixed this for myself using Elmers white school glue or a glue gun to create a grid (see picture).
The paints are high quality, but the price and case were disappointing. Many people assumed this set was ready for travel, then learned the hard way that the paint will end up all over your table (or worse, all over your work) if you use the lid as a palette. Landscape painters seemed to approve of the color selection, while people who love bright or hard to mix colors (looking at you Cobalt Turquoise) were confused by all the browns and a convenience gray (an easily mixed color in a set designed for mixing colors?) While I love Daniel Smith paints, this set just didn't add up in value for me.
Materials used or mentioned in this review: Daniel Smith Ultimate Mixing Set, Primatek Watercolors Set, Blues Half Pan Set, Bee Cold Press 140# Cotton Paper, Princeton Neptune Paint Brush, Rotring Isograph Technical Pen filled with waterproof Rohrer & Klingner sketchINK, Uni-Ball Signo UM-153 white gel pen. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.