The Art Gear Guide  

The Art Gear Guide is your one stop shop for the most recent, up to date, honest reviews on all your favourite art supply products. 

 

Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle

Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle

Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle

I was reviewing a set of watercolor pencils a while ago and in that review I was demonstrating the pigment of the pencil by rubbing the pencil on a scrap piece of watercolor paper and then lifting the paint from the paper to the art I was trying to paint. A very dear friend of mine here on YouTube and a very popular lady throughout the art community, Valerie from Drawing With Fire, commented on the review, informing me that there was a product available online for watercolor pencil artists, meaning they didn't have to use scrap bits of paper for mixing paint. 

Thanks to Valerie and her wonderful feedback, I found the Caran d'Ache product and purchased it to review, hopefully bringing to some of you a new product that might help with your art. 

Ordinarily, when you are using watercolor pencils, aqua crayons such as the Caran d'Ache Neocolor II or even aqua based markers, if you want to mix colors together, the best way of doing this is to use a scrap piece of paper as you would a palette. The only issue with doing this is; the paper absorbs the pigment as you are mixing and so you have a limited period of time to work with and you will inevitably lose some of the pigment to absorption in the paper. 

This excellent product from Caran d'Ache, the Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle, puts an end to this problem, allowing you to mix as many colors as you like at your own pace, no rush to scoop up all the paint before it drys. Also no waste from paint drying on the paper, every drop of paint sits on the product just waiting for you to create with. 

However, before I begin explaining the product, some people have mentioned that you could perhaps find a similar type product in a kitchen utensil store and use if for the same purpose, which may very well be true, however that would have to be something you find on your own. Thus far, Caran d'Ache is the only art supply company that I have seen with such a product and so I thought there might be more people out there like me that was not aware of it. 

The Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle Characteristics. 

there really isn't very much to this product in terms of materials, however, the palette actually is incredibly helpful and creates an extra level of versatility to your aqua based pencils, crayons and markers. 

The product itself is made from frosted plexiglass, a tough rigid plastic like material. One side of the palette has a slightly rough texture to it and the opposite side is completely smooth. The overall dimensions of the palette are 26cm x 13cm and 3mm thick, allowing the palette to be taken out and about with any artist without a any major problems, fitting in most art bags. Even when sat on the studio desk it is hardly noticeable at all. 

On one end of the palette, there is an oval hole cut out, allowing both right and left handed artists to comfortable grip and hold the palette just as an oil painter or acrylic painter would hold their palette. This method allows for the rectangle shape of the palette to rest on the forearm for stability as the thumb grips through the hole for stability. At the end of the palette the thumb hole is located, so to has that end been shaped into a curve, as opposed to the straight edge of the opposite side, this is to provide maximum comfort and grip when placing the thumb through the hole.  

Various Methods of Use For the Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle.

The rough side of the palette is perhaps the work horse side, this is the side that you rub either your watercolor pencils or aqua crayons such as the Caran d'Ache Neocolor II. Because of the rough texture, the pigment is gripped in abundance building up a nice mixture of pigment to work with. 

In these images you can see I have used the Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle pencils and Neocolor Crayons. Rubbing both mediums on the rough side you can clearly see the pigment and of course due to the rough texture of the palette, crumbling has occurred, however this is completely desirable. Next all you do is simply wet your watercolor brush and mix the pigment together. 

As you can see, the paint simply sits on top of the palette, allowing the artist to lift or mix as and when needed. Once you are done you simply wipe away any excess and clean the surface ready for the next mixing of pigment. You may get a little bit of staining, however this is not problematic so log as the palette is washed well between pigment changes. 

The smooth side of the palette works in exactly the same way, only you obviously can't use watercolor pencils or crayons, this side is for aqua based markers or simply applying tube watercolor paints. 

In the case of aqua markers, all you simply do is rub the marker pigment on the smooth surface, wet the watercolor brush and mix together. Again there is no time limit, you can lift and mix the paint as you see fit, ordinarily with aqua based markers, once applied to the paper, you have a short window of time to wet and move the pigment about before it drys and absorbs into the paper. Obviously there are occasions were this is the effect you are after and obviously one of the attractive features of such a medium, but the Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle simply gives another use to the markers, pencils and crayons. 

Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle Price

I am sure some people will simply see this product as a piece of plastic and that is absolutely fine, however, as with so many products, if you are a passionate watercolor pencil artist or enjoy using aqua markers and crayons, this palette from Caran d'Ache will most certainly be much more that a piece of plastic. 

Here in the UK, you can buy this palette for £10, if you live in the US you can purchase the palette for $11 and in Europe the palette will cost €11.

Conclusion 

I personally love using watercolor pencils, I especially love my Museum Aquarelle and Neocolor II and so I have found the Caran d'Ache Palette Aquarelle to be a fantastic product, adding so much more to my already awesome watercolor pencils, markers and Neocolor. 

If I am being asked if the palette is worth the money, I would simply ask back, how much do you use watercolor pencils, crayons and markers, if the answer is frequently, then I would absolutely say the palette is worth every single penny.  Don't forget to check out our YouTube video review of the Caran d'Ache Palette for a full demonstration

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