The first watercolor set I purchased at the beginning of my 365 challenge was a Prima Marketing Confections set, and I quickly added two more. These are affordable paint sets with bright, vivid colors that activate with just a touch of water. They feel creamy and are fun to use. They call themselves artist grade, but offer no pigment or lightfast information, so really they are considered a crafter’s tool. They are very good, I think, for doodling and journaling, and each set comes in a very nice palette box. Their best trait… they are inexpensive. But prices fluctuate so look around for deals.
Today I pulled out all of my old Prima paints and organized them into one set. (minus a few I deemed unnecessary, that wouldn’t fit.) I absolutely love using these paints individually… but today I found when I mix colors sometimes they end up muddy. Many of my Daniel Smith paints are single pigment paints now, and I think maybe these Prima use more pigments, which can cause colors to muddy when blending them. I’m spoiled now. When I purchased them people were complaining that they didn’t have color names. Well, they have added them now, although they are not at all traditional paint names. So I wrote the number, color name, and lightfast rating on each color pan, then organized them and swatched them out. I also added what I thought might be some of their traditional names so I can use them if I specifically want yellow ochre or phthalocyanine blue or a few other basic colors.
Look at those vivid colors!!! Besides being crazy bright, they are also slightly thicker or more opaque than my other paint sets.
I hadn’t been able to find any lightfast rating information on them, and did my own test last spring which wasn’t very scientific, but did show a few weren’t lightfast. Today I found this blog which includes the pigment information the author, Jessica Seacrest, received from Prima when she asked. It doesn’t include the newest set, Odyssey, but I found it very helpful. Prima doesn’t share what rating system they follow, so really it may not mean much, but only a few of their colors have two stars, one has one star (the one that really faded in my own test), and the rest, according to them, have three stars.
The sample tin in that photo looks different than mine… I love mine specifically because the two rows of paints are close enough to the edges of the pan that if I want to I can include a third full row of paints in the middle instead of brushes. I’m hoping they haven’t changed that and will find out if ever I purchase the newest set.
I painted this, purposefully using quite a bit of water. Too much, maybe:
Last fall I painted these with my other paints (either Qor or Daniel Smith… I’m not sure now!):
I wanted to see if I could recreate the tree effect. But this is as close as I got:
Daniel Smith is much nicer… but.. one tube of Daniel Smith paint can cost nearly what a tin full of 12 colors cost from Prima. If you are just starting out, or on a limited budget, these might be a nice little set to try. I’ve linked the cheapest price I could find currently for each set on Amazon because these prices fluctuate… just a few days ago some of these were $14 (like they were a year ago when I bought them), and now they are $17-$21, and the new Odyssey set is $25 (it hasn’t been lower, that I know of) Odyssey and Tropicals have the most useful colors for me. There’s also a pastel set and a shimmery set. If you are going to sink a lot of money into paints, or get all of the sets, consider get something better with fewer colors. Really. But if you want something inexpensive, (or you want to ditch the paints and use the tins!!), these are pretty fun. And a little bit addictive. The junk food of the watercolor world. I’m sure I’ll keep using mine.