Problems with Paul Rubens Watercolors! Inconsistent batch to batch differences

Paul Rubens batch to batch color inconsistent problem tubes and pans


I have greatly appreciated Paul Rubens as a brand that provides high quality paints in very large selections for a fraction of the cost of most other professional grade watercolors. I've found them to be a great option for those stepping up from student grade, without breaking the bank.


However, they do have some problems. Previously I thought this was limited to the plethora of typos and pigment naming mistakes. I was willing to look past it as something just lost in language translation, as their color charts get converted to English from Chinese. Sadly, over time I've discovered further discrepancies that are more disruptive to the painting experience. Here are 3 colors that I have seen be different every single time I have ordered them.


Though I did not photograph my first batch of these colors, there was an additional 3rd completely different variant of each of these in tube form that I got last year. I will be examining my other colors in the future to see if there are even more colors with this problem. It's really sad to find a color you like enough to buy again, just to have it turn out to be completely different upon reordering. For that reason I'm inclined to avoid buying individual tube colors from them in the future. Considering the difficulty of ordering directly from China at this time, it's unlikely they will be easily available anyway. Based on the unreliable color and difficult international ordering experience, I would not bother trying to find a vendor for individual colors.


It's been a crazy couple weeks with preparing for quarantine from Covid-19. I hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe and enjoy some painting time while you are home :)


See my video reviews with color charts and painting demos for Paul Rubens here.


Be sure to check out the new PIGMENT DATABASE project, where you can see all my swatch cards for dozens of brands here.


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  • Livnat - September 24, 2023

    I don’t know if this has changed in the last couple of years or somethong, but my paints, bought a couple of months ago (so mid 2023) look exactly like yours, albeit in their non glitter versions (mine are non-glitter). Since all of these discrapencies are between the glitter and non-glitter versions, perhaps this is the culprit rather than the different batches?

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