July is World Watercolor Month! Learn more about how that came about and the great cause it supports over at Doodlewash. In celebration of World Watercolor Month and my return to blogging, I’m going to do a bunch of watercolor related reviews and posts throughout July.
For the longest time I was intimidated by watercolor paints. Watercolor painting did not come naturally to me and, unlike acrylics, if you mess up you can’t just paint over your oops. It only gets worse if you try. Because of that I mainly painted in acrylics and when I started focusing on illustration I gravitated to ink. When I decided I wanted more color options in my illustrations I added Copic Markers and then Derwent’s Inktense pencils. Both are amazing, but pricey. I needed something for washes that wouldn’t leave me feeling reluctant about wasting product. So I finally ended up buying a really inexpensive school grade set of watercolors. I tried tubes to start, but cheap tubes were just not working for me, so I moved on to pans.
My cheapy watercolors were great to mess around with – watercolor blobs – and I actually used them for the work I did for my solo exhibit a couple years ago. I even used those same watercolors, with ink and Copics, to illustrate a children’s book. I’ll tell you more about the book in a future post. They served me very well, especially considering the price.
A few months ago I saw an art supply review on You Tube for Prima’s Watercolor Confections. I’m not going to lie here, what really attracted me to them was the packaging. Many of the affordable watercolor pan sets I see come in white plastic packaging and they usually have a poorly designed sticker on them. The Watercolor Confections come in a plain black tin, no branding at all, and it manages to still offer mixing / palette space while maintaining that minimalist look. It’s a form and function win.
There are three sets available: The Classics, Decadent Pies, and Tropicals. I was gifted The Classics shortly after watching that review. The 12 pans come individually wrapped and you just pop them back into their slots after unwrapping them. They do slide around a bit if you have them in your bag. It’s not a big deal, but it would be cool if Prima made the pans a bit more snug in the tin. Of course you could just put some double sided tape down and fix it yourself. Did I do that? Nope. Not yet.
On to the real meat of the review, are the actual paints any good? I like them. The color variety of The Classics works for me. They’re pigmented well, but maintain that sweet water color transparency. Some colors are definitely more intense than others. I haven’t had them long enough to tell you how they rank in permanence. I will use them for illustration projects that will mostly end up digitized, so that isn’t the biggest concern for me. Overall I’m a fan of the product and I’d love to get my hands on the Tropicals and Decadent Pies sets. The sets are around $18 – $27, depending on where you purchase them. I know you can find them on Amazon, that way you can compare prices.
I haven’t tried any other Prima products, but I noticed that they also sell watercolor pencils, water brushes, and watercolor panels. Have you tried any of their products? I’d love to know if they might be worth looking in to.