Paul Rubens watercolor review - Affordable professional quality artist half pan sets in 12 24 or 48 colors

Paul Rubens watercolor half pan 48 color paint set dry pigment color chart

If you're a serious watercolor painter, this new brand might make you regret buying other professional paints in the past. I've been painting with Sennlier, Schmincke and Rembrandt for a few years and those paints can cost a small fortune in 48 color sets. Not Paul Rubens though, these are roughly 1/3 the price... but are they good?

Paul Rubens compared to Rembrandt Sennelier Schmincke watercolor paints quality

Not just good. They are great. So great in fact that I am so sad they weren't released to the USA sooner to have saved me a lot of money. There is overall very little granulation in this brand (outside of the normal for Ultramarines, Umbers and Cobalt Teal) so I will not directly compare them to my Daniel Smith paints who are known for that characteristic.

Paul Rubens watercolor painting berry leaves floral sky blue clouds tutorial review

However, they are every bit as good as every other professional quality brand in performance, pigment load, salt reaction, flow, lifting and glazing. Let's not forget almost entirely LIGHTFAST too! Paul Rubens paints have been around for a few years now in China, but it wasn't until mid 2018 the half pan sets started being easily obtained on

 Paul Rubens watercolor lightfast test fade fugitve high quality sun testing light fastness

The 12 and 24 color standard (and also the mica sets) are available here now. The 48 color set is supposed to arrive mid 2019. The importer for Paul Rubens (and their student brand Pretty Excellent "MeiLiang") has been allowing those of us in the states to purchase these safely and quickly. They are even introducing their watercolor papers and brushes now, which are also amazing.

 Paul Rubens 12 and 24 color chart selection set information watercolors

WARNING about buying from China: I tried to get some of the Paul Rubens tubes and other full pan sets that aren't available in my country directly from 3rd party Chinese import sellers. I ended up having great difficulty (between month long shipping times, import duties and sadly a rip-off artist on the Chinese version of Ebay who slapped a fake tracking number on my order and it took months for me to recover the cash!) So I can tell you from personal experience, it's worth the wait for them to become available on from good ol' reliable Amazon.

 Best professional artist watercolor paints Paul Rubens 48 color chart set

Note --- 05-2019 --- 48 SET NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON USA. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. They also have a lovely mica based glitter shimmer paint set, which really sparkles on both light and dark papers! 

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  • Kimberly Crick - September 08, 2022

    Regarding Amazon reviews on dye-based colors: The dyes are in their student-grade paints (not the sets I’m talking about in this section) as well as their neon / fluorescent colors. Paul Rubens professional-grade half pans are of excellent quality, containing many lightfast pigments.

  • Paula Tharp - February 04, 2022

    I bought the 48 half pan set of Paul Rubens regular colors and the 48 half pan set of the glitter/shimmer paint sets. Love, Love, LOVE them! I am just beginning my watercolor journey so these will be perfect for me and allow me the time to learn about pigments before purchasing a better quality ‘professional’ brand.

  • Lk - January 12, 2022

    I came across one of your interviews on Amazon saying that these paints were mostly dye based. Is that true or do you still recommend this paint? Als0 thank you for what you do. I read your website obsessively!

  • Samuel Ziegler - April 23, 2020

    I am interested in purchasing the paul rubans 48 pan watercolor set. Please advise.

  • Awenda - August 09, 2019

    I just bought the 48 pan set and the 24 tubes, floral, and can’t be happier. I copied your list as you were swat and I’d like to verify the colours. I absolutely, absolutely love these paints and am thrilled with your positive review and light fastness. I also purchased the leather bound cold and hot pressed watercolor paper. Amazing! Incredible. Thanks for all the work you did in your review. Cheers

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