New Aquarius Urban Sketching Palette

October 28, 2022 | 6 Comments

A week or so ago I got a parcel from Poland containing a new palette…

The Aquarius Urban Sketching Kit. (Thanks Roman!) This is quite similar to the Travel Kit that you can see here.

It’s a good selection of colours.

I decided that I would start using this palette exactly as it was…


but after the first outing, I knew that I needed to add French Ultramarine to it! Ultramarine Intense does not create the greys or the pigment parties that I like.

I also added Hansa Yellow Medium, Potter’s Pink, Cobalt Teal and Quinacridone Gold and they neatly fitted in the middle of the tin between the metal clips.


These extra colours made the kit more usable for me. But I wanted to add Cobalt and I’m still not sure which is my favourite earth yellow and earth red/orange in the Aquarius range. 

So this week I decided to take out the tray with the metal clips and fill up the tin in a similar way to my normal palette. This is the layout I worked out, adding full pans of Cobalt, Venetian Yellow Earth and Quinacridone Maroon.


I was happy with my plan but it was impossible to implement as the Aquarius tin is slightly smaller than the Schmincke or Art Basis tins that I normally use. I had to move a few pans around and trim off the outer corners of the end full pans to fit everything in. It’s a super tight squeeze so I’m not sure what I’ll do when I need to change a pan.

I’ve decided that all the original colours in the kit are to remain until I have tested them properly.

No definitive recommendations at this stage… I’m just documenting what I’m using at the moment for my everyday sketching. But I can say at this stage that I’m enjoying this palette!

Finally, if you are interested in comparing how this set varies from my usual palette please check out this article.


  • Martine says:

    I have the aquarius travel kit and used it during the watercolour course so I really got to know the colours. And now I have combined my favourite aquarius colours with my favourite WN colours. It was a fun and useful exercise. I like that the Aquarius pans are good value for money (atleast here in the Netherlands).

  • Karolina Nyi says:

    Is the palette exclusively Roman Szmal paint? The half pans look positively poured, so I wonder if there’s anything in the making? 🙂

    I just got the Jane Blundell Aquarius palette and I absolutely love the paints! Best of all, they’re really affordable here in the Czech Republic. At last, we too get to play with wonderful granulating colours without breaking the bank [on Daniel Smith]. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your thought on this sketching palette!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Karolina. Yes all Aquarius and he’s making half pans now for these kits. Roman also sent me samples of a few different half pans. Not sure if all colours available in them.

  • Annette Huppatz says:

    That’s quite interesting. I think I like it better than the travel palette which was my first (but not my last) experiment with aquarius paints.

  • Wendy Ostlund says:

    I have been following with major interest! I have been loving the Aquarius paints. Any other adjustments in 2023? No Naples Yellow or Natural Sienna Monte Amiata?

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Wendy – I haven’t used Aquarius much this year. Thanks for the reminder – I should get them out and try them again!

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