Paul Rubens Watercolors Lightfast Test Art Supply Review Tubes and Half Pan Sets
Paul Rubens is a professional quality watercolor paint from China. The 12ml tubes and half pan sets covered in-depth- review, demo painting, color chart, swatch and lightfastness test that shows which colors fade. Lightfast testing covers the 24 half pan mica glitter and the 48 color standard set. In the USA several pan sets are available on Amazon through a reputable importer, but this brand has many other sets available in China only. If they have a website, it may only be in Chinese and I have yet to find it. Very little is known about the brand other than it is named after the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens born in 1577 (not the actor Paul Reubens who played PeeWee Herman).
The above video is an update on my initial review (you can see that on YouTube here if you'd like to see my first impressions. This also shows side by side swatches of Sennelier and Rembrandt paints, verifying they do indeed work the same as much more expensive pro-grade paints.
I was really happy to pull down the lightfast strips from the window to discover only minor fading in 6 of the 48 colors. I expected the Prussian Blue, and the other 5 had such a tiny amount of dulling that I had to look hard at them under a lamp to tell.
For those who may have gotten the 24 color set in the past year, here is a separated fugitive list. Below you'll find the expanded list covering the colors in the 48 half pan set:
I waited a long time to write about this set because it was so hard to find, but now you can order it easily from Amazon USA. I made the mistake of trying to order direct from China before and dealt with several shady sellers before finally finding a good one, which took about a month to arrive. Knowing I can restock these in 2 days prime locally is super nice.
ON TO THE GLITTER! This set is made with a mica shimmer mixed with an underlying pigment. Most of these colors have an underlying tone (such as blue sparkle on top of blue watercolor) but several do not (such as royal gold, which washes out to clear, see color chart swatch below):
They offer high quality pan sets with standard (normal) OR glitter (metallic) colors. The standard sets use the same quality pigments found in professional brands like Daniel Smith, Schmincke, Rembrandt etc. and perform just as well at a fraction of the cost. The standard sets have a high degree of lightfastness, while the metallic ones do not.
Here is the color name list and swatch chart for both the 24 and 12 color half pan sets. These are the "glitter" sets which have metallic mica shimmer colors and do not provide specific pigment information (typically a pigment or dye is bonded with mica for the different colors). They do not claim these to be lightfast, and many crafters will find use for these in card making and scrapbooking as will artists in sketchbooks regardless of lightfastness.
Here is how each color performed after 6 months of daily light exposure in a North facing window:
All of the tube colors (individual and in sets) along with the 48 color pan sets are currently only available in China, or through 3rd party importers. While you can try ebay and other china-direct sites to attempt to import these products from individuals, I advise caution as there have been a lot of scams including sending incorrect goods or not mailing anything at all. Make sure you have some sort of buyer protection/way to file disputes if you choose a 3rd party auction site.
The sets are available on from a trustworthy importer on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I've also included links to the paper, ink and paintbrushes used within all of my reviews.
Now available in tubes!
Review video for other set (plain blue box tube set that can be used as refills to match the 24 half pan set) coming shortly:
Typos on the color chart and the pan labels made me think there were 2 royal purples. This is not a duplicate, just one pan happens to be moonlight purple, the darker one, mislabeled. Aside from some other typos for pigments, they are nice paints. The tin is very durable, much deeper mixing areas, better enamel coating and some inserts to prevent pan wiggling. I just wish it had been more clear what I was buying. For those who like to keep swatch card records of their paints, I had to do some annoying fact checking for a few of these. It's a unique product, as most watercolors are either very metallic/glittery or just not at all, these are a new middle ground. Hopefully this helps clarify what, for me, was quite the mystery product!
The hint of glitter set has such tiny delicate particles that they do not appear on scans of artwork or swatch cards, unless blown up to a very large viewing size. Here's an example of the card showing the glitter particles:
From standard pan sets:
From special hint-of-glitter pan set:
From mica glitter pan sets:
From tube paints:
Some of the tube colors have not yet made it to Amazon for easy ordering in the USA. I have not found a reliable source for import ordering (direct from China) at this time, but will update this if that changes in the future.
*ALSO SEE STUDENT GRADE PAUL RUBENS PAGE* As this company continues to expand their offerings, they are getting more and more confusing to new buyers. They have several student grade sets, including the MeiLiang Pretty Excellent pan set, Caroline tube paints as well as the new Paul Rubens 24 FULL PAN tin set which does not clearly indicate that it is NOT the same pro grade as their other "Paul Rubens" named pan sets.
This set has a review video on the student grade page.
Learn more about how my lightfast tests are done, or see other brand art supply reviews here: LIGHTFAST FAQ AND REVIEWS BY BRAND.