Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Great high quality
on 2 July 2016
I bought a selection of these all at once, about 13, all from the professional range and I'm seriously impressed. I'll leave the same review on all of the tubes I bought on Amazon, since my thoughts about them all are the same. I bought: Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Quinacridone Magenta, Cobalt Violet, Winsor Violet (Dioxaxzine), Cobalt Turquoise, Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Potter's Pink, Hooker's Green, Titanium White, Payne's Grey and Burnt Umber.
TL;DR: To put it simply, these are a huge step up from student-grade watercolours and in particular, W&N's Cotman range. For professional work, get these. For hobby, non-serious work, buy the Cotman range, they're cheaper.
I was taking at art school using their Cotman range and started losing my passion for both art and watercolours, questioning my skill. I wanted to paint vibrant images but no matter how much paint I used, the image always dried with dull colours and it began to make me feel like I had to be inadequate at painting for this to be the issue - yet deep down I considered that it may be my materials. After researching watercolours more technically I decided I was using a cheaper variation of what I really required. If you're painting for a non-serious hobby, or with light pastels mainly, you should stick to student-grade paints because they're far more affordable. But if you are considering presenting your work, gifting or selling it and require deeper, brighter shades, I would give these a chance. The colours are so much more vibrant than student-grades, they dry the same shade as the swatch on the tube which is helpful and buying these has reinvigorated my love for watercolours. I no longer feel like my work is suffering.
These are really expensive, admittedly but they're so bright and thick that a little bit can spread very far, making them worth the price. I would gladly spend a fiver per tube for their amazing quality.
I have one issue with the paints and it's minor. When I opened my Cadmium Orange shade, it was almost all water and about 1/3 of the tube paint - that being said the colour is so lovely and the paint is itself so thick that it is lasting me a long while. However, it seems to be a manufacturing failure that so much paint is missing from the tube. At least if you buy in stores, you can check to see if the paints are watery or have been squeezed out before you buy them as they do not come packaged, they arrive exactly as in the picture, in a box or envelope.
One great thing about these paints, a direct link to their quality over student-grade paints is that they are so thick they can be used like gouache paints. I love gouache and I'm glad I bought these first as I was initially just going to buy any other random set of watercolours plus some gouaches. These double as both depending on how much you thin with water.
I bought all of the tubes separately. On some obscure parts of Amazon, or on W&N's own website, they sell a set. The average basic rainbow colours you'll find in any set. I wanted to pick the shades myself and I'm glad I did. However, I'm not sure if this is true to the nature of some of the colours or another manufacturing issue - some of the colours are slightly more grainy than the others. For example, my Lemon Yellow and Orange are buttery smooth but my Cobalt Violet is slightly bitty/gritty and while it will mix smooth eventually, it takes longer to mix it with other shades thoroughly.
Also, W&N have their own guide about how saturated/transparent each colour is and there is a difference between some of the shades as shown when I made a mixing chart. Some are really opaque but easily mixed like my Cadmium Red, others are more on the transparent side like my Lemon Yellow or Hooker's Green. But they're very easy to work with.
Overall, I'm very pleased. These colours are fantastic, the range is great, it is a bit pricy but my artwork looks great as a result.