This is a great video that gives a high level overview of many different brands of watercolor. It’s a personal choice, though, and I do have a different top three because I’m not that fond of Daniel Smith watercolors.
My top three, in order:
M. Graham
Da Vinci
I really like the honey based watercolors and I even add *more* honey to them so they’re even more wet and the colors separate a little bit better after they’re down on the paper. I have a small half pan of honey in all my travel kits, in fact. Certainly, that’s not for everyone. I can use M. Graham paints in a very controlled fashion as well surreal and more loose. My newest love affair with one of the Fletcher palette (download the Fletcher book here) known as Y-B-RV. In fact, I limit myself to just three colors:
Ultramarine Blue
Naphthol Red (particularly staining, btw)
Azo Yellow
In addition to the honey, I also have a small amount of these two to work with just to make the color intensity move up and down easier (mostly, I go down in value):
Lamp Black
Titanium White Opaque
I like to follow a pseudo glazing technique akin to the methods used by the old masters in their Oil Paintings. So, my colors go down on the paper in a very wet manner with very little pigmentation for each layer and I build it up slowly. Sometimes, I even add clear gesso so I can capture the light from the side of the painting and make it seem to breathe.

PS: I’m blogging along with Effy Wild in April. If you’d like to join the facebook group to read the rules, go here: