I got more dot cards! I’m dotty for dot cards!
Overall Brand Impressions: This is the smallest of the dot card catalogs I’ve tried so far, 109 colors to Daniel Smith’s 238 and Schmincke’s 140. Still, I didn’t swatch them all out because I was running out of room in my color sketchbook, so I started to triage colors I was most interested in. Either way, I didn’t notice any colors missing.
The colors I swatched out tended to be pleasingly vibrant with a high pigment load, and they were easy to handle even for my inexperienced hands (much easier than Schmincke). Most were non-granulating, which I prefer. I was overall pleased!
The only thing that gives me pause about the company from my experiences so far is their price (a bit on the high side) combined with my impression that they’re sort of nickel-and-dimey. The dots were pretty flat and less generous than other brands’, so I couldn’t do more than basic swatches; I couldn’t make the larger color spotlights, or test-drive a painting with them. Also, standard WN tubes are 14ml, unlike the 15ml of every other brand, driving the price-per-ounce even higher when you take into the account the higher price tag.
Overall, I’m unlikely to choose a WN version of a color unless I have a distinct preference for it over Daniel Smith. So… will it happen??
Below, my dot card journey.
Pretty standard slate of yellows, including both Cadmium Yellows and Cadmium-Free alternatives (which have no listed pigment). Missing a few heavy hitters like PY3. Winsor Lemon is PY175, like Daniel Smith Lemon Yellow, but looks brighter/bolder – a really pigment-heavy Lemon. I like it! Winsor Yellow is PY154, like Schmincke Pure Yellow, and looks extremely similar but handles easier.
Shopping List: Maybe Winsor Lemon when I run out of DS Lemon Yellow, and/or Winsor Yellow when I run out SH Pure Yellow.
Oranges & Warm Reds
At this point I picked up the pace and started skipping colors because I was running out of room in my sketchbook, so you won’t see the various Cadmium and Cadmium-Free alternatives here (mainly because they are opaque and do not interest me).
Winsor Yellow Deep (PY65) is the same pigment as Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Deep, but I found DS’s version to be higher pigmented and to dry much more orangey, which I prefer.
The WN New Gamboge is interesting; a combination of warm red PR209 (DS Quin Coral equiv) and PY150 (WN Transparent Yellow/DS Nickel Azo Yellow). It looks a lot like DS Quin Gold (PY150 + PO48), but it’s a bit harder to rewet and less pigmented, so not as much fun to use.
I found the two red-oranges very vibrant and fun to swatch out. Transparent Orange uses a pigment I’ve never heard of before called DPP (which I think just means like a generic pyrrol?). It looks pretty similar to the PO71 transparent oranges I liked so much in the DS and SH dot cards! WN’s PO73, Winsor Orange (Red Shade), also impresses me and looks like it would be a good, high-interest alternative to a warm red. I see flipping back in my sketchbook that DS has this as Pyrrol Orange, but for whatever reason I wasn’t as drawn to it on the DS dot cards.
Shopping List: Considering both Transparent Orange and Winsor Orange (Red Shade).
Magentas & Purples
Permanent Rose is just gorgeous. It’s WN’s equivalent of Quinacridone Rose (PV19), but a bit warmer and cheerier than DS’s version.
Opera Rose is one of the weaker Operas – all the fluorescence is in the granulation, not the backing color. Not in the contest. My favorite so far is still Schmincke.
WN has a nice looking PR122, Quinacridone Magenta, that I’d be tempted by if I didn’t already have a ton of my Schmincke PR122 Purple Magenta left.
For purples, I really like Permanent Magenta, a more purpley PV19 variant; this looks to be the equivalent of DS Quinacridone Violet. I believe this is also the same as Purple Lake in the WN Cotman student-grade line, which I really enjoyed starting out. The only problem is that there’s a lot of competition for the warm purple slot, considering that I already picked up DS Bordeaux from the last dot card and it’s easy to mix up a bright warm purple from a PV19 or PR122 magenta. And while Perm Magenta looks great compared to the other purples, it’s much less appealing if you think of it as a dull magenta. Hmm.
I hate Permanent Mauve (PV16) just as much as I did in the Cotman set. It’s low-pigment, isn’t listed as granulating but obviously is, and has a dull grayish quality I’m not into for a purple.
Quinacridone Violet (PV55, equivalent to DS Quin Purple) and Winsor Violet (PV23, equivalent to DS Carbazole Violet) both looked way better before they dried. Given that I had unanticipated water problems here, I think it might be safer for me to stick with the DS versions of these colors.
Shopping List: Permanent Rose if I didn’t have DS Quin Rose; Quin Magenta if I didn’t have SH Purple Magenta; Permanent Magenta if I want a dedicated warm purple.
Blues & Cool Greens
Indanthrene Blue (PB60) is lovely, of course; my favorite DS shade is Indanthrone Blue (PB60), and this is basically the same thing. Another standout is the wildly deep colors of Winsor Blue (Green Shade), which is of course the same thing as DS Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), another of my palette staples. Good to have backups for either of these, I suppose.
Phthalo Turquoise (PB16) is gorgeous! A lovely deep peacock blue, diluting down to a cerulean sky. This might be my favorite iteration of PB16 so far! Previously I slightly preferred Schmincke’s over Daniel Smith’s, but neither of them got this dark.
Aqua Green is nice, but I can’t find any documentation on what it actually is. It just says “Phthalo.” My guess is it’s a combo of PB15:3 and PG7, like DS Phthalo Turquoise.
Winsor Green (PG7) stands out of course, as PG7 always does with its depth of color! Compared to the very bluey PG7’s of DS and SH, it’s a bit more neutral-to-yellow, sort of between how I think of PG7 and PG36. I love the very cool mint tones of DS and SH’s PG7s, but WN’s might be more useful if you plan on using it as a generic mixing green and you don’t want to use up two palette slots on both a Blue Shade and Yellow Shade.
Cobalt Turquoise Light (PG50) has deeper color than DS’s PG50 but is not as deep as SH’s version. In granulation it falls somewhere between the two (not as wildly granulating as DS but much more so than the neat and moderate SH). This photo makes it look light blue, but it is actually greener than either the DS or SH versions.
French Ultramarine (PB29) looks a lot like DS’s French Ultramarine. Too granulating for me. I prefer DS Ultramarine or SH Ultramarine Finest.
A disappointment: I really liked the Prussian Blue before it dried, but the drying shift is off the charts. It was super-dark, but it dried really light. I like Prussian Blue in theory, but I still haven’t found a version it that wows me.
Shopping List: Phthalo Turquoise. Several others might be contenders if I didn’t already have other versions: Indanthrene if I didn’t already have DS Indanthrone, Winsor Blue GS if I didn’t already have DS Phthalo Blue GS, Winsor Green if I didn’t already have DS Phthalo Green BS.
Warm Greens & Yellow Ochres
Loving this Perylene Green (PBk31), which gets sooo dark; it looks better to me than the DS and Schmincke versions, which have a tendency to dry a bit light. Green Gold (PY129) also stands out, but it’s functionally identical to the DS version, Rich Green Gold.
Hooker’s Green and Sap Green are both the same two pigments (Winsor Green + a yellow-orange); I think other versions are nicer.
I struggled to get any pigment out of the Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna colors. Very weak. The only yellow ochre shade I liked was Quinacridone Gold, which is a mix of PR206 (WN Quin Maroon/DS Quin Burnt Scarlet), PV19 (any number of red or magenta colors), and PY150 (WN Transparent Yellow/DS Nickel Azo Yellow). I’d worry that it’s being a mix of so many colors would make it harder to mix than the DS version, however it is completely non-granulating (the DS version granulates a little), so that’s nice.
Shopping List: Perylene Green. Green Gold if I didn’t already have DS Rich Green Gold. Possibly Quin Gold if I didn’t have DS Quin Gold, though I’d need to see how it mixes.
Browns & Grays
There are a lot of opaque PR101 variants – Indian Red, Venetian Red, and Caput Mortuum Violet – none of which I like.
Perylene Maroon (PR179) is a fine brown-red, and looks a bit more well-behaved and brighter than DS’s version.
Neutral Tint uses the same phthalo blue/permanent rose/black combo that DS’s version does, but I found this one to have more drying shift. Payne’s Gray, interestingly, uses the same colors, although in a different balance. I can see from this version why people call Payne’s Gray “really a navy blue.” It’s bluer than any other one I’ve seen. It’s also non-granulating, which makes a nice alternative to the highly granulating DS version. But it seems to have a fair amount of drying shift.
Shopping List: Possibly Perylene Maroon as an earth red? Possibly Payne’s Gray, as a non-granulating alternative to DS? Though my gray needs may be served by DS Neutral Tint.
Despite the fact that I came into this dot card with a mostly decided palette, I was surprised by how many Winsor shades I came away wanting! Many of these are somewhat lateral moves from my existing DS or SH shades, but in some cases I just liked Winsor version better, or found it easier to handle (especially vs. Schmincke).
I have mixed feelings about the naming convention of calling certain shades “Winsor,” as in “Winsor Yellow.” On the one hand, it erroneously implies that this is a Winsor-specific color, when they are all extremely common colors that every brand offers. On the other, the Winsor colors are generally what I consider to be the most useful/vibrant/basic/bedrock mixing colors, and it’s nice to have them pointed out so you don’t have to find them individually. You could do a lot worse than just getting the Winsor colors and calling it a palette.