Lightfast Tests, Art Supply Reviews, Color Charts for Watercolor, Gouache, Acrylic, Alcohol Ink etc.

Are your art and craft supplies fugitive? Find out which colors fade! I mainly review watercolor paints, gouache, acrylic paints and inks. I am working on a large pigment database with swatch card images and lightfast test results for all media. There are many types of art supply review pages below including color pencils, fountain pen dye inks, markers, pens and craft coloring supplies.

Updates: Want to know which page has had the most recent update? Waiting on a specific brand's lighfast test (1 year) to be complete? Follow me on Patreon, where I post updates on the free public-viewable pages. Further content is also available to supporters, such as subscribing for line drawings, high res painting scans and behind the scenes projects. You can choose to be notified when I make posts regarding updates to this website, such as this post about Daniel Smith watercolor 1 year lightfast test results with fugitive colors list.


Lightfast artist pigments watercolor palette set up recommended split primary trio


List of my favorite lightfast pigments! Set up a watercolor palette of useful primary colors and unique granulating pigments for maximum versatility. Color mixing recipes, swatch cards and example art. Easily replicate color separating convenience mixtures like Daniel Smith's Moonglow, Rose of Ultramarine, Shadow Violet, Cascade Green as well as Schmincke and Roman Szmall look-alikes. With a collection of single-pigment paints aimed at professionals and pigment enthusiasts, you may never find yourself tempted by a pre-made brand mix again!

Fugitive pigment list and lightfast rating systems explained blue wool scale astm standards star

Learn about lightfast rating systems (Blue Wool Scale, ASTM LFI-V and star systems) + a list of the most fugitive pigments commonly used in professional watercolor paints and other art supplies. These color ingredients are not lightfast, having faded from extended UV exposure (fluctuating day time / indirect northern window lighting) over time. This list shows a variety of brands who use these colors, which ones lied or misrepresented their ratings, and which pigment code to avoid when it's written as the ingredient on paint tubes.  

neon watercolor paints fluorescent uv black light glow art supplies invisible ink acrylic paint

Neon and fluorescent watercolor, acrylic paints and inks. Explore common fugitive dyes such as those added to "Opera" pink watercolors, daylight / day-glo neon colors (like highlighter makers that appear unnaturally vibrant under normal day light), optical brighteners and rare lightfast fluorescent pigments that display "glow" effects (brightly fluoresce under UV Black light).

recommended books for artists photo references animal flowers watercolor painting drawing instruction guides

Recommended books for artists - my favorite guides for drawing and painting as well as photography references for art inspiration. I'll be making some flip through book reviews and painting demonstrations showing how each book inspired me to create. I've collected books on many subjects including color theory, pigments, flowers, animals, portraits, landscapes, fantasy art, acrylic, gouache, mixed media and watercoloring!

watercolor supplies list paper pens waterproof ink paint brushes

Watercolor supplies - list of waterproof ink, pens, paint brushes, paper (both cellulose and cotton, affordable student to pro quality options), swatch card creation and storage, lighting, basics of top-down video making for artists and crafters including camera holders, free and low cost editing software and other tools!

Watercolor pigment database jane blundell handprint art of color style resource for art supplies and paint by color index ingredient code

Pigment Database - Any paint that comes with a listed ingredient code (a color index number that looks like PR101 or PB29) has been swatched for side by side comparison. Looking for a good brown watercolor? Check the browns page and find your ideal brand! You can also check out specific brand reviews below.

bad art supplies to avoid list of poor quality fugitive paints inks pencils chalk

Art Supplies I Do NOT RecommendArt Philosophy/Prima Marketing student pan sets, ArtiBox and Superior Watercolors (+ general color chart scam warnings), Daniel Smith Walnut Ink, KingArt gouache, Peerless or Viviva Colorsheets (dye) and pan set (pigment), Winsor & Newton Studio Watercolor Pencils, W&N Gouache (different from their "Designers" gouache), W&N Watercolor Tubes (China, but different from Cotman and not the Pro grade from France), W&N Soft Pastels and Oil Pastels, ...

BAD how? The above products have been flagged for poor lightfastness, misinformation or outright lies (false advertisement, fake ingredient lists). They may also have quality issues, poor performance or are generally not a good value for the price. This is not to say you can't make nice art with these products, there's just much better options out there.

art supply reviews watercolor gouache gansai acrylic ink

List of art supply brands I've reviewed (brands without clickable links are things I own, but are in progress of being tested). Many reviews have art and swatch cards, but may still be pending lightfast test results (each UV study takes 1 year). Updates about the most recently added lightfast test results can be found on the free public posts at Patreon

Watercolor and gansai: Altenew, American Journey, Aquafine, Art Echo, Art Philosophy (pro grade Prima tubes)Arteza , Artgraf by Viarco , Blick watercolor, Blockx & Stephen Quiller, Boku-Undu, Camel/Camlin Kokuyo Watercolor, Coliro vs Finetec, Crayola, Da Vinci, Daniel Smith Pro Watercolor, Derwent Graphitint Metallic and Inktense , Etchr Watercolor, Palettes and PaperGrumbacher, Holbein watercolorIsaroJackson's watercolorKuretake Gansai, Lefranc & Bourgeois watercolour, Lukas watercolor, Marie's, M.Graham watercolorMaimeri Blu watercolor, Michael HardingMijello Mission Gold, Miya (Himi), Old Holland, Ooly, Paul Rubens Pro or Student (Pretty Excellent, Caroline) or GUCAI, Pebeo, Phoenix, Prang, Qor, Rembrandt, Renesans, Roman Szmal, Rosa Gallery, Schmincke Horadam watercolor or liquid charcoalSennelier pro or student, ShinHan Watercolors (PWC, SWC, Korean Color), Sonnet vs Rosa Studio, Super VisionSuperior (Art Whale/Tinge/Artsy/Meeden/China Replicas), Talens "Art Creation" Watercolor and GouacheTurner watercolors or gouache, Utrecht watercolorVan Gogh, White Nights, Yarka and Gamma, Winsor & Newton Pro or Cotman Student, Yasutomo & Niji.

Watercolor Pencils / water soluble drawing materials: Caran D'Ache Museum Aquarelle, Derwent Inktense PencilsFaber-Castell Albrecht Durer, Winsor & Newton Studio.

HANDMADE watercolor paint brands and/or PIGMENT POWDER SUPPLIERSA.Gallo, Hydracolour, Iuile, Kremer Pigments & Ready-Made Watercolors, L Cornelissen & Son / C Roberson & Co / Handover / Jackson's Pigment Powders, Prodigal Son's Rare / Historical Watercolors & Pigments, Rublev / Natural PigmentsSelah Paint Co., Zahra Ammar. These brands are small businesses that go the extra mile, often hand crafting paints with a muller and glass slab, mortar and pestle/other time/labor intensive methods. They are more likely to offer rare pigments or unusual finds with characteristics that set them apart from mass manufactured paints. 

Gouache, tempera and poster color: Bargain grade jelly cup gouache like Arrtx/Miya Himi etc., Blick Tempera, Camel Poster ColorDaler Rowney Designer, Daniel Smith GouacheHolbein Artists Gouache & IrodoriJack Richeson TemperaLefranc & Bourgeois (Pro), Lukas StudioM.Graham, Maimeri Extra Fine, Mijello Titanium Class MISSION GOUACHENicker Poster Color, Pebeo Studio (student), Pebeo Extra Fine (pro), Schmincke Horadam (pro gouache) vs Schmincke Designers (Mid range) vs Schmincke Akademie (student gouache), ShinHan Professional Designers GouacheTalens Gouache (extra fine designers tempera), Utrecht, Winsor & Newton Designer (France). Gouache is often referred to as "opaque watercolor", but that is an oversimplification. Gouache opacity varies by pigment (low quality gouache includes opacity fillers, such as chalk to make any color show up on black paper). Pro gouache has a higher pigment load than watercolor, often resulting in a more opaque, velvety matte surface. Most gouache paints will re-wet from dry, but only M.Graham resists cracking in a dry pan (honey). Gouache is best used fresh from the tube, applied thickly in comparison to watercolor,  and generally lack the flow and transparency of watercolor. Some brands use gum arabic as the binder (a glossy binder also found in watercolor), but dextrin (potato) or other types of starch (matte binder) may be used in gouache, tempera or poster colors. Rarely, coarse pigments with a large particle size will be used to increase opacity.

Watercolor / Gouache HYBRID paints: Paul Rubens Opaque Watercolor vs ShinHan Pass vs Mission White Class Design Colors. These paints are made with unique formulas that break the standard rules for watercolor or gouache. They instead use a hybrid approach with binder ratios, opacity and matte additives to make a paint that flows like watercolor but is opaque like gouache. You may also be interested in Mijello's Titanium Class Mission Gouache, which is a gouache with extra binders to be used from dry in a pan without cracking.

Pigment based liquid watercolors and non-waterproof inks (pigments are often lightfast): Aqua-Drop by Schmincke, Aquafine INK by Daler Rowney, Hydrus by PH Martins.

Dye based liquid "watercolors" and alcohol inks (dyes are usually fugitive): Radiant by PH Martins, Ecoline by Royal Talens, Alcohol Inks by Tim Holtz/Ranger, Distress Inks, Copic Markers. Note that many water soluble art supplies have the word "watercolor" on the package. This typically only means that they can be used like watercolors, not that they are made from the same lightfast quality pigments in most watercolor paints. These dye based products are typically prized for vibrancy or special effects (such as the marble texture effect of alcohol inks, or smooth blending of alcohol markers) which can be hard to replicate with other coloring supplies.

Technical & Fountain Pen Inks: Both dye and pigment liquid inks specifically designed for use in pens. This section will include many color separating swatches, chromatography studies and my favorite inks with sheen, shimmer, shading and other special effects. I will be featuring brands like Noodler's, Birmingham Pen Co., Platinum, Robert Oster, Rohrer & Klingner SketchInk and Diamine in the future.

Acrylic paints and waterproof inks (India, shellac), vinyl and acrylic gouache hybrids: Acrylic paint markers, Aero Color fluid acrylic ink by Schmincke, Bombay India Inks PH Martins, Calli Calligraphy Ink by Daler Rowney, Holbein Acrylic Gouache (Previously "Acryla")Holbein Acrylic Ink, Jo Sonja's matte fluid acrylic, Lascaux Acrylic Gouache (special binder, non waterproof hybrid), Lefranc & Bourgeois Flash Vinyl, Liquitex Acrylic Gouache, Liquitex Basics, Pebeo Mat Pub, Rohrer Klingner Calligraphy and India Inks, Turner Acryl Gouache, Utrecht pro acrylic paints, Ziller Inks.

Oil paint: M.Graham oil paint and walnut medium, M.Harding oil paint.

PENS (soluble and waterproof pigment or dye based fineliners/ disposable technical pens), graphite and color pencils, crayons, oil pastel, chalk and soft pastels or other drawing materials: Derwent Inktense pencils, Gelatos by Faber Castell, Luminance colored pencils by Caran D'Ache, Micron pens (reds are fugitive), Polychromos by Faber Castell, Prismacolor pencils.

 art supply reviews kim crick kimberly crick art

A-Z by brand for all media types together. Short art supply descriptions with painting preview image banners, providing a little more info about the product prior to selecting a review.

--- A.Gallo artwork in progress, currently testing 30+ colors ---

A. Gallo handmade watercolors from Italy. Professional grade offering some rare pigments, unique convenience mixtures, rosemary oil scented paints in half pans and lovely packaging ideal for gift giving.  

acrylic paint markers lightfast and fugitive fading test explore brands liquitex amsterdam sharpie montana uni posca

Acrylic paint markers - Brief notes and some old lightfast tests regarding Liquitex, Amsterdam, Sharpie, Montana and Uni Posca pens.

altenew watercolor review and lightfast test metallic mica pearlescent glitter paint pan set

Altenew is a paper craft company specializing in card making, die cutting, rubber stamping, inks and other coloring supplies. They offer several "artist quality" (crafter/student grade) watercolor sets. They have a higher end full pan metallic set (mica based pearlescent paints) with a more pro-level pigment load, it was very lightfast and similar to Coliro/Finetec.

American Journey watercolor review cheap joes art materials store brand by da vinci paint co

American Journey watercolor is the name of Cheap Joe's (USA) art store brand, this paint is made for them by Da Vinci (a professional quality American company also reviewed independently below). Selection includes interesting and unique custom mixtures (exclusive, not in Da Vinci's own catalog).

Aquafine watercolor review daler rowney student grade water colour chart lightfast test

Aquafine Watercolors by Daler Rowney. Student grade pan sets, tube paints and inks (liquid pigment based water colour). Quality paint paint ideal for serious beginners interested in lightfast-only pigments, similar to Van Gogh and Cotman.  

Daler Rowney Aquafine Ink (combined with Aquafine in tubes and pans review). A lightfast student grade watercolor line that offers an "ink" (liquid format) for use with dip pens, empty markers, drip/pour/splatter/alternative painting techniques. They come in glass bottles and offer several uncommon pigments.  

Arrtx gouache review jelly cup miya himi pigment info color chart

Arrtx Gouache is a student "designer" opaque watercolor paint that comes in large 30ml jelly cup style containers. It dries matte and is ideal for print reproduction. An affordable option for those learning gouache painting techniques.

Prima art philosophy watercolor tubes review professional artist grade paint color chart pigment lightfast info

Art Philosophy professional artist grade watercolor tubes review. This company previously branded as Prima Marketing aimed at crafters and students, has branched out to artists offering 15ml tube paints with a higher pigment load. See a video painting demonstration, lightfast information and compare these to other brands.

Prima watercolor review confections confetti pan set lightfast test color chart video painting

Prima Marketing student (now also called Art Philosophy) pan watercolor sets. Many fugitive student/bargain/crafter grade 12 half pan sets called "confections" and one larger 25 color "confetti" set. Artists are in the habit of calling them Prima watercolors, they changed their branding to "Art Philosophy" a couple years ago after establishing a foothold in the painting world offering budget friendly art supplies for crafts (card making and rubber stamping).

arteza watercolor review lightfast test metallic glitter mica gouache paint

Arteza is an American distributor of Chinese and Korean art supply products aimed at kids and students. They have a lot of large bargain priced paint sets of watercolors, gouache and acrylic as well as color pencils, pens, markers, sketchbooks, drawing paper and even cotton watercolor paper.

--- In Progress ---

Artgraf by Viarco - water-soluble tailor-shape paints


--- In Progress ---

Blick Artists' Watercolor AND Grumbacher Finest (same paints, Blick's store brand is made for them by Grumbacher and simply re-labeled for them). I've had a lot of trouble with these.


Boku Undo e-sumi watercolor review gansai lightfast test sumi ink japanese shadow black aurora set

Boku-Undo has lovely large gansai-style pan sets with unique color schemes, such as an all near-black neutral set, or their "aurora" interference mica 6 pan set made in Japan.

dr ph martins bombay india ink review and lightfast test color chart

Bombay India Inks by Dr. Ph. Martins - a waterproof shellac and pigment based liquid in bottles ideal for dip pen or brush work. Can be used similarly to watercolor paints, but dries to a permanent non-lifting finish helpful to glazing and layering techniques. 

--- In Progress --- 

Calli by Daler Rowney. These acrylic calligraphy inks are smooth flowing for use with dip pens. Dries waterproof, an ideal ink for drawing before watercolor painting.)

Coliro Finetec watercolor review light fast lightfastness color cart uv sun test

Coliro and Finetec are best known for their metallic mica watercolor sets that are likely the highest quality, most lightfast and reflective sparkly glittering paints on the market.

--- In progress --- 

Copic Markers are a high quality illustration and design tool made in Japan. They contain alcohol based dye ink, are available in huge variety of colors and perform incredibly smooth blending on paper. 

--- Da Vinci artwork in progress ---

Da Vinci Paint Co. is an American paint manufacturer offering professional quality watercolor, gouache, acrylic and oil paints. They have reasonable prices for their high quality.

--- In Progress ---

Daniel Smith Gouache - 22 opaque velvety matte watercolor-like paints released in late 2022.

--- In Progress ---

Daniel Smith Walnut Ink - A fugitive organic brown ink made from walnut shells. Severe wet to dry shift, fading and performance issues make this a product I do not recommend.

Daniel Smith Watercolors lightfast test product review painting demonstration art

Daniel Smith Watercolors 250+ colors tested, tube and pan sets, example art and video reviews. There's no hiding I'm a big Daniel Smith fan. While all their paints are high quality, due to price I mainly recommend the unique granulating mineral selection they have, also known as Primatek.


--- In progress ---

Derwent watersoluble paints including Graphitint, Metallic and Inktense pan sets.

Derwent Inktense Pencil and Pan Sets.

--- In progress ---

Ecoline Liquid Watercolor - A dye based ink (liquid state) that is vibrant and fugitive ideal for illustration/print reproduction. Made by Royal Talens (the maker of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Amsterdam paint lines).

--- In progress ---

Etchr watercolor, porcelain palettes and cotton papers. This brand designs art supplies to be manufactured for them in China with varying degrees of quality. Some of their products come with a hefty price tag compared to the competition.

faber castell gelatos chapstick pigment watersoluble crayon wax pastel

Faber Castell Gelatos - Watersoluble crayon (wax pastel) primarily marketed to crafters for watercoloring techniques, card making, rubber stamping. Chapstick container style pigment sticks.

--- In Progress ---

Grumbacher Academy Watercolor Review. This brand is one of the few companies manufactured in the USA and the only major one offering a student grade line. They also may be involved in supplying pigments to Blick art supply store for their store brand watercolors, as they share some uncommon pigments and large particle textural characteristics.

--- In Progress ---

Holbein Acrylic Gouache (previously "Acryla Gouache") - A matte acrylic paint hybrid with a highly water resistant binder, high pigment load and a dispersing agent which allows it to be used like gouache or watercolor in wet washes. This gouache-like matte acrylic's finely ground pigments have a small amount of acrylic resin binder with disperse/flow additives for smooth watercolor-like blending. A waterproof alternative to traditional gouache.

--- In Progress ---

Holbein Acrylic Ink - An extremely high quality professional acrylic ink available in 30ml or 100ml bottles made in Japan. Similar to Golden's high flow acrylics and Amsterdam acrylic inks, using super fine pigments suitable for brush or dip pen. Mostly lightfast selection with a few rare pigments and many transparent colors capable of watercolor techniques, but dries waterproof which can be helpful for layering/glazing.

--- In progress ---

Holbein Artists Watercolor from Japan. Pro grade tubes and pans, both being more reasonably priced near Japan but can have severe price increases when imported to USA/Euro. This brand has many convenience mixtures, pastels and fugitive colors, but also a decent selection of single pigment lightfast colors that make them attractive to both fine artists and designers.

---In progress---

Holbein Irodori and Artists Gouache - My favorite professional quality gouache that offers both stable lightfast and vibrant fugitive options to meet your artistic needs. Finely ground pigments with no fillers that dilute well with water and can be used similarly to opaque watercolor. Affordable, easy to find paint with a beautiful flat matte finish. Color charts with fugitive pigments highlighted, swatch cards, lightfast testing.


--- Isaro in progress ---

Isaro watercolors from Belgium, made by Isabelle Roelofs who comes from a long line of famous artists. There are some interesting personal touches in this paint line, including several unique convenience mixtures and the unusual addition of mica to some delicate and sparkly color options.



Jackson's art watercolour review uk watercolor paint supply lightfast test

Jackson's art store in the UK has a large online retail shop that ships worldwide. Their store-brand watercolor is made for them by Sennelier (OEM, France). They offer only a small portion of overlapping colors with Sennelier at a reduced price.


--- In Progress ---

Jackson's Pigment powders for DIY paint making, swatch cards for my handmade watercolor & acrylics.


-- In Progress --


Jo Sonja's Matte Fluid Acrylic and Background Colors. These gouache-like acrylic paints can be used just like Acryla-gouache from Holbein and Turner, but are much more affordable. Made in Australia using mostly lightfast pigments.


---In progress---

Kremer Pigments - Professional ready-made watercolor paints in addition to dry pigments and paint making mediums. Carries a unique selection of rare pigments, of particular interest to handmade paint makers/Etsy sellers.

Kuretake gansai watercolor review lightfast test fugitive fading color chart

Kuretake Gansai Watercolors - A modern vegan twist on the Japanese traditional style animal-glue paint by the manufacturer Zig. Affordable, beginner friendly with a huge color variety in extra wide pans ideal for large brushes.

-- In Progress --


Liquitex Basics Acrylic Set - 48 set of student grade acrylic paint in tubes. An affordable beginner option with a good shelf life. After five years in climate controlled storage this paint was still functional. Offers many lightfast colors and a lot of convenience mixtures to help students who just want to paint find the perfect color without the need for a lot of mixing. 

--- In Progress ---

Luminance Color Pencils by Caran D'Ache - The most lightfast range of color pencils available. One of the only brands to provide pigment code ingredients. Ideal for professional artists, may be too expensive for beginners or casual coloring.

--- In progress --- 

Lukas professional watercolor review in progress

m graham watercolor review best color viridian pg18 pigment

M. Graham is an American paint company that manufactures professional watercolor, acrylic, gouache and oil paints. Their watercolors are made with a high honey content, which can be quirky but also offers the best re-wettability for difficult pigments such as Viridian PG18. 

MaimeriBlu superior watercolor review maimeri blu italian professional paint

Maimeri Blu professional watercolor review. I had mixed feelings about these watercolors in the past, but they reformulated their line in 2018 to include more single pigments, lightfast and rare or brand exclusive colors. I am now much more impressed by these paints which are easily found worldwide.

--- In Progress ---

Maimeri Gouache - Artists professional extra-fine quality opaque watercolor paints with a super matte finish. Many colors are very opaque, highly pigmented and ideal for oil painting-like landscapes or flatte shine-proof design work on black or white paper. My favorite, easy flowing, streak-free gouache.

--- In Progress ---

Michael Harding Professional Watercolors - A new line of watercolors from a popular oil painter, available as of October 2022.

MISSION GOLD watercolor review brand tube paint best for beginner economy affordable cheap set

Mijello Mission Gold Pro Grade Watercolors, Mission White Class gouache hybrid designer paint review (similar to ShinHan Pass) and some notes about Silver Class student and general Mijello brand set differences. Mission Gold paints are incredibly easy to re-wet, vibrant, highly pigmented watercolors with low price 15ml tube sets.

--- In progress ---

Mijello Titanium Class MISSION GOUACHE. An opaque watercolor made with extra binder to prevent cracking in dry pans.

Miya Himi WATERCOLOR brand banner lightfast testing and art supply review

Miya Himi Watercolors are premium bargain paints aimed at beginners and students. Like Pretty Excellent from the makers of Paul Rubens, they offer some of the highest quality sets available at an extremely low price point. Ideal for those who are using sketchbooks, who do not care about lightfastness, but want a high performance paint (not chalky, gritty or otherwise suffering from "cheap" set issues) that won't hinder your ability to learn, even on a budget.

--- In progress ---

Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils by Caran D'Ache. One of the highest quality watercolor pencils available complete with lightfast ratings and pigment codes.

old holland classic watercolor review portrait painting po65 golden barok red rare exclusive brand pigment paint

Old Holland professional watercolor review. A unique company that carries some unusual pigments that contain unusual gansai-like binders. This older company is quirky and not commonly used, partly due to it being one of the most expensive paints on the market aside from Qor by Golden. 
Paul rubens gucai classical art chinese painting pigments
Paul Rubens GUCAI Classical Art Chinese Painting Pigments - A gouache-like paint using animal glue binder for traditional painting surfaces such as rice paper.

Paul Rubens watercolor review and lightfast test pan sets 48 mica glitter and tubes 24

Paul Rubens Professional Watercolors - 24 glitter, new 24 phosphorescent (hint-of-glitter edition) and the 48 standard (non-mica) pan colors have been lightfast tested. One of the lowest priced professional grade half-pan dry set options on the market. These paints also come in tubes, with the sets being easier to obtain in the USA than individual colors.

Pretty excellent watercolor review paul rubens caroline student lightfast tets

Pretty Excellent & Caroline (Paul Rubens Student) MeiLiang or Lightwish 36 watercolor pan set review, 1 year lightfast test results and video demo. Notes about Paul Ruben's other student grade paints, the tube set called "Caroline". These paints are also sometimes labeled as Shanghai OWIN.

--- In Progress ---

PH Martins Hydrus pigment based watercolor has some quirks including limited re-wettability, fragile or leaky glass bottles, and an earth tone selection prone to sediment (permanent pigment separation and clumping in the bottle).

 --- In Progress ---

PH Martins Radiant liquid watercolor (fugitive dye inks).

--- Pebeo in progress ---

Pebeo products have limited availability and offer some lower end products including many "studio" watercolors, gouache and acrylics that contain fugitive pigments and low quality binders. They offer Colorex (fugitive dye inks similar to Talen's Ecoline) but they are very expensive and fade quickly. Their moon/fantasy prism acrylic paints are unique (a special effect paint that chemically bubbles and leaves unusual textures) but I have otherwise been disappointed with products I've tried from them.

prismacolor pencil review color chart lightfast test

Prismacolor Colored Pencils -  A popular option for coloring books. This company has changed hands over the years with increasingly disgruntled reviews regarding pencil lead breakage and fading.

prodigal sons handmade watercolor rare pigments pb33 manganese blue genuine

Prodigal Sons Pigments is a small business offering handmade watercolors and pigment powders on Etsy. They offer some rare discontinued pigments, such as PB33 Manganese Blue, one of the most dramatically granulating bright sky blues ever to exist.

-- Qor in progress -- 

Qor watercolor by Golden, a paint company in the USA that also produces popular acrylic paints including high flow and fluid acrylics. Qor is a unique watercolor with a proprietary Aquazol binder (not traditional gum arabic). This thin binder promotes unusual flow/disperse properties and can allow for a greater pigment load in their paints.

Rembrandt professional watercolor review

Rembrandt professional watercolor is the pro line by Royal Talens (the same maker of the excellent student brand Van Gogh). An older, traditional painting company that has been making exciting and unusual recent additions to their line, including glass-based chameleon flip-flop and iridescent mica-based colors.

-- Renesans --

Renesans professional watercolors from Poland. This small company offers a catalog of 70 colors in tubes as well as 54 alternative mixtures in pans. This is one of the only brands that appears to change their pigment formula, but not always the color name, between tube and pan formulations. Overall a confusing brand on the consumer end.

Roman Szmal Watercolor Paints

Roman Szmal Aquarius professional watercolors A new brand from Poland, who has gained incredible popularity over the course of 2019-2020 due to their high quality paint, 140 color line up and low prices on full-size pans (no tubes or half pans, competing with White Nights).

Rosa Gallery watercolor review lightfast test fugitive pigment info color chart

Rosa Gallery professional watercolors made in the Ukraine. This brand has been around for several years but has yet to become well known or readily available worldwide, but it is definitely a beautiful and unique paint that I hope to see picked up by major retailers in the future.

---In Progress---

Schmincke Aero Color fluid acrylic ink for airbrush and dip pen. Waterproof and lightfast, ideal for fine art projects. Can be used as a paint or drawing ink. Linework remains intact with no bleeding or blurring of lines under very wet watercolor painting techniques. Some uncommon pigments available, as well as metallics.

Schmincke Aqua Drop liquid watercolor review lightfast test liner tutorial how to fill empty marker

Schmincke Aqua Drop - Liquid Pigment Watercolor + Liner, Brush Marker, Technical Pen and Water Brush Tutorial Currently the highest quality pigment based liquid watercolor on the market. Easily works in fineliner technical pens, empty markers, airbrush, spray bottles and other unique applications.

Schmincke Horadam Aquarelle color chart lightfast test uv fugitive review

Schmincke Horadam Professional Watercolors This world renowned German brand has a lot of fans for predictable high quality paint. With a large range that includes a couple of my favorite pigments that are hard to find, and rare granulating colors rivaled only by Daniel Smith (such as Potters Pink and Mahogany Brown).

--- In Progress ---

Schmincke GOUACHE compare Horadam and Designers lines. This matte, opaque watercolor comes in tubes and each line has its own focus between lightfast, single pigment colors vs multi-pigment mixtures and fugitive bright colors.


--- In Progress ---


Schmincke Liquid Charcoal - All natural fruit seed paint that is gouache-like and can be used like watercolor paints. They are all black, made from the pigment PBk8, but have slight variations in color temperature (cool blue grape seeds, neutral black peach stones or warm brownish cherry pits). Compare to Nitram liquid charcoal and Roman Szmal's Vine Black.


---Selah Paint Co in progress---


Selah Paint Co. is a handmade paint company in Canada selling watercolors on Etsy. They offer many granulating and rare pigments, including Cobalts like PG19, Cadmiums, Zirconium Blue PB71, and the discontinued PG10 Azo Green, PB33 Manganese Blue Genuine.


sennelier professional watercolor review french l'aquarelle watercolour

Sennelier l'Aquarelle professional watercolor 98 color chart, swatch cards, lightfast testing, brand overview, top selections for unique and favorite colors. 

Sennelier la petite aquarelle student grade watercolor review art 12 half pan color chart

Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle (student grade) watercolor pan set review, video demo.

ShinHan watercolor review PASS Korean Color PWC SWC professional paint

Shinhan Art Professional Watercolor tubes (includes many paint types such as PWC, SWC, PASS gouache hybrid, KOREAN COLOR traditional gansai-like glue-binder vs. their standard gum arabic western style paints etc.) A competitor of Mission Gold from South Korea.

---ShinHan Gouache review in progress---

ShinHan Professional Designers Gouache - A matte, opaque watercolor paint available in tubes or sets. Includes a variety of very affordable fugitive or lightfast pigment options.

Sonnet watercolor review white nights student rosa studio paul rubens

Sonnet watercolors, a 24 full pan student grade set by Nevskaya Palitra the makers of White Nights. I'll compare these to very similar sets by Paul Rubens and Rosa Studio.

Super Vision watercolor review rose ash layered paint color lightfast test fugitive dye

Super Vision watercolors focus on vibrant, plant, mineral and color separating effect paints. Fugitive warning - only some are being appropriately marketed to "designers" (bright colors prone to fading, suitable for print reproduction vs wall hung art). Similarly to brands like ShinHan they have a tendency to use fugitive pigments, but may still be worth checking out (at least for DIY mixing inspiration) since some colors are unusual.

Superior watercolor review made in china paint supplies artsy artify

Superior Watercolor + other sets made in China appearing to be re-branded knock offs of Paul Rubens, Kuretake and other big brands. Artsy and Artify also appear to have bought palettes from the same factory and slapped their own label on it.

--- In Progress ---

Talens Gouache Extra Fine - professional high pigment load gouache by Royal Talens Holland. This line contains some fugitive colors aimed at designers for print reproduction, but is an overall high quality line with many lightfast options for fine art.

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Talens Art Creation - Royal Talens' low end bargain/kids/beginner grade paint range including watercolor, gouache, acrylic, oil and pastels.

alcohol inks lightfast test ranger tim holtz brand uv fading sun fugitive colors

Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks by Ranger - includes color charts, tutorial projects, and lightfast testing completed for 1 year.

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Tim Holtz Distress Inks by Ranger - dye inks available as rubber stamp ink pads, re-inkers and spray bottles. Like most dye based inks, they are not lightfast and are aimed at crafter and card makers.

---In progress---

Turner acryla-gouache. A professional gouache-like matte acrylic paint with finely ground pigment particles and flow additives for smooth blending. A waterproof alternative to traditional gouache. Similar to Holbein.

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Turner Artists Watercolour made by Turner Colour Works LTD. Japan. A quirky "professional" grade watercolor paint that I have had a lot of problems with. Offers an affordable mixed bag of lightfast, fugitive and rare pigments. Some colors have been completely acceptable, while others have texture issues, lack of flow or weak re-wettability.


--- In progress ---

Utrecht professional watercolor and gouache review. This company is now owned by Dick Blick, a USA chain art supply store. However, it's important to note that these paints are made at a separate factory with higher quality standards than Blick's store brand paints (Blick Artists' Watercolors which are made by Grumbacher). There are some unique pigments in this line.

Van Gogh watercolor review best affordable lightfast student grade

Van Gogh Watercolor - an awesome student grade paint by Royal Talens (the makers of the "Rembrandt" pro line). Van Gogh is one of the most reliable and highly lightfast student grade paints on the market. Affordable single tube colors for refills or picking and choosing pigments, as well as a large selection of various color travel sets and a mica metallic and interference pocket-box.

--- In Progress ---

Viviva Colorsheets (dry dye papers) and watercolor pan set (pigment). These are mostly fugitive, expensive, staining and messy. I overall do not believe these products are a good value for the price.

White Nights watercolor review lightfast test Yarka St Petersburg Ultimate 36 full pan set

White Nights budget friendly professional watercolors also includes the USA import version of the Russian paints called Yarka St. Petersburg (Professional "Ultimate" set of 36 full pans imported by the Jack Richeson company).

Winsor and Newton professional watercolor review lightfast fugitive color chart

Winsor & Newton professional watercolor review, Swatch card color chart for full range 109 color catalog, pigment information, lightfast testing and fugitive color reports. Video overview of my top 20 favorite and unique colors from this brand.

winsor and newton cotman student grade watercolor review water colour aquarelle

Winsor & Newton Cotman (student grade) Watercolor Review, Swatch Cards, Lightfast Testing. A common entry level student grade paint frequently picked up in brick and mortar art shops, but is struggling to stay relevant in the competitive online market. Both price and quality is no longer as good as it was years ago. This review is incomplete and pending a modern re-evaluation.

--- In Progress ---

Winsor & Newton Studio Watercolor Pencils. A poor quality art supply prone to fading.

--- In Progress ---

Ziller Inks - A waterproof acrylic ink developed for dip pen calligraphy and drawing. Terribly fugitive selection wrongfully marketed as lightfast. I do NOT recommend this ink.



The following reviews are planned, but not yet started:

Iuile, Hydracolour and Similar Cosmetic Mica Handmade Watercolors. Multiple small business/Etsy sellers have overlapping colors. I may decide to combine them all into a single review page due to how many duplicate offerings they have. They frequently shop from the same suppliers, but have different ways of mulling their paints and different binder formulas. Hydracolour ships from Florida USA and adds clove oil and has a much stronger scent compared to other similar brands.

Iuile (eye-you-lee, a girl's name based on the Irish take on Julia) is a handmade watercolor small business operating on Etsy and shipping from California USA. This is a small family production using hand mulled cosmetic grade mica powders mainly imported from China. There are many high quality chameleon color shifting pigments offered, which were made primarily for use in eyeshadow and nail polish. Many are lightfast and I will share which colors I have noted as UV stable or fugitive.


Don't see a specific brand? Have dot cards/samples you'd like to send me for review, lightfast testing or pigment database? Email or use the contact form to let me know!

Wishlist: I do not own any Art Spectrum or Lutea plant-based watercolors. I'd be happy to feature handmade small businesses (such as etsy sellers). Any brand or medium (including inks or acrylics) of discontinued, unique, vintage or rare pigments in paint form or pigment powders for use as historical pigment database samples. Any other brands not mentioned on this page (I love to discover new things!).

Understanding the swatch card images on each review page:

Grayscale swatch card information panel

Why salt swatch color separating mixtures identify similar pigment differences

 Lightfast ratings:

 PG50 Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart

You may see LF (lightfast) ratings written on my swatch cards from rating systems you're unfamiliar with. These are the brand's ratings (not my own, so if something was a lie and fades in my lightfast tests done later, it will be reflected separately). If it's a star system it will say out of how many total stars (5 of 5 being a perfect rating for Schmincke, 3 of 3 being a perfect rating for Rembrandt, Van Gogh or White Nights). Some brands say a single star means fugitive, yet others have a 0/no star policy for LFIV-V. This gets pretty confusing, so it's best to look up pigment codes in question. ASTM (most common in USA brands) is written LFI (most lightfast) to LFV (least lightfast). Blue Wool Scale is common for most other parts of the world goes the opposite way where lower numbers are bad (BW1 fugtiive to BW8 lightfast). This is further explained on the fugitive pigments list page.

Unfortunately many brands simply copy existing ratings from ASTM publications or other companies. For example, that's a huge problem if 5 different manufacturers make an Ultramarine Blue color paint, but they all get the raw material from a different supplier. Not all chemical manufacturers make their pigment powders the same way, similarly to generics/store brands they may not all be the same quality yet have a shared ingredient. All of these hypothetical brands will label it LFI lightfast, because it has been generally proven that Ultramarine Blue is a lightfast pigment from some random company that actually properly did testing years ago. There is also the possibility the paint company will lie or mistakenly pass along misinformation. I'm unsure if that's the case with Faber Castell in the example below (in reference to Gelatos, a water soluble crayon similar to Neocolor II, from the company best known for pencils like Polychromos and Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils):

Faber Castell lightfast test gelatos fading sun fugitive results Albrecht Durer Polychromos pencils

I've gotten to the point where I do not trust manufacturer's lightfast ratings at all. One too many labels have said lightfast, just for me to find the colors fading within weeks (looking at you Faber Castell Gelatos and every Prussian paint ever made). All companies say Prussian Blue PB27 is lightfast, because it often reverts any fading that occurs if stored away from light (iron salts bleach in sun, and recharge in shade). Unfortunately this damage can be permanent and besides - no painting should need a nap to be considered lightfast.

Daniel Smith watercolor moonglow fugitive lightfast test shadow violet and prussian blue green


I hope that this project will be found useful by many artists. I would love to be able to continue to provide thorough, helpful information on this topic in the future. If you have found any of this information valuable, please consider leaving a donation of any size to help me cover the costs of supplies. This donation button uses PayPal to safely process cards worldwide for any amount you wish to contribute. Every dollar is greatly appreciated!



There are also indirect, at no cost to you, ways to help! Sharing links to this website on your social media, adding watch-time, letting ads play, commenting, liking or subscribing to my YouTube channel are all great ways to keep this content available and growing.

Thank you,

Kimberly Crick

Lightfast testing window method watercolor strips for UV fading fugitive color pigment research

Cookie, who oversees all lightfast testing, also hopes you found our research helpful :)


Where do I shop for art supplies? This page contains affiliate links. All product opinions are my own. I am committed to honest reviews showcasing both the pros and cons of each product. I have not received payment from any brand for a review. I only recommend stores I have personally shopped with and had a positive experience. I earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Scrapbook, Arteza, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites. 

My favorite American art supply chain store is Dick Blick. They have a massive catalog and competitive prices, with quick shipping options here in the USA.

One of my favorite places to shop for a world-wide selection watercolor paint and brushes is Jackson's. They have affordable shipping to the USA and a lovely selection of items not easily found in American stores.

Amazon USA continues to offer more and more art and craft supplies that can be found no where else. They often have import sets, such as Chinese brands like Paul Rubens, that are not available in the more common art stores. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


For craft supplies, such as Art Philosophy and Prima Marketing watercolors, alcohol or dye inks, stamp pads, markers etc. I shop at: Thousands of scrapbooking supplies. HUGE daily discounts!