Pretty Excellent Watercolor Review, Lightfast Test, Paul Rubens 24 FULL Pan set and Caroline Student Grade

Lightwish MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set of 36, also known by many artists as simply "Pretty Excellent", is made by the same company as Paul Rubens in China. This page will cover my 1 year lightfast test, fugitive results and video demo. I consider this set student grade, due to it's lack of pigment info and misleading lightfast ratings. It's also filled with cheaper pigments than the Paul Rubens pro grade, which I'll elaborate on below. Technically Paul Rubens does have a student grade, called Caroline, which is a different product I'll talk about at the bottom of this page. This brand in general uses confusing wording and is full of typos and misleading claims. Much of that seems to be due to poor translation to English on their products.


The Pretty Excellent watercolor set is loved by many artists for it's affordability. It's rare for a pan set with this many colors, at this price point, to behave so closely to professional quality in regards to pigment load, flow and smooth washes.


One year lightfast test results:

Pretty excellent meiliang lightfast test watercolors lightwish color chart fugitive pigments Lightfast test color chart pretty excellent meiliang lightwish paul rubens

If you are interested in these watercolors, I purchased mine from Amazon below. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.



Paul Rubens has an official student grade paint called "Caroline". This paint is currently available in a large tube set on Amazon, but also sells in very inexpensive tubes individually in China. This paint has less pigment than their pro grade, and is also a step below the Pretty Excellent in performance. They have more filler, creating an almost chalky texture in the Caroline range. They have pigment info, though this is limited in accuracy:


paul rubens caroline watercolor color chart student grade paint

paul rubens watercolor permanent red violet


paul rubens green watercolor paints compare hookers green olive deep

It seems unlikely that the same mixture was able to make olive green as well, but assuming that this list is correct would mean some wasted money on this set. It would be more economical to have just 2 tubes for mixing (pg7 and a tube of py154) yourself.


These tubes look slightly different than the Paul Rubens professional, but do not clearly express in English the differences between them. There has been so much confusion, that some people believe they have tried Paul Rubens pro grade paints, but in actuality this Caroline set is student grade. This set is not the best quality, but I highly recommend checking out the professional version instead - see my review page for those sets here.


paul rubens professional versus student grade watercolor sets tubes and pans

Here's the Amazon listing for the Caroline student grade paint tube set, if you would like further information:



The "Paul Rubens 24 Full pan" watercolor set is also student grade, though little effort has been made by the company to declare it as such. Since their other pan sets are also simply called Paul Rubens, but are professional grade, this is starting to be a very confusing product line. Here's more info about that:

If you'd like to see how a specific color compares to the same color in another brand, be sure to check out the pigment database section.


Note: 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 earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Arteza, Scrapbook, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites.