Super Vision Watercolor Review, Lightfast Test, Problems, Layered Tube and Pan Sets + DIY Mix
SuperVision is a watercolor brand from China. These paints seem to have a relationship with the CAAM (China Art Academy Museum) and often feature the museum logo and famous artists on their packaging. Many of these sets attempt to offer colors similar to those found in historical paintings. While some are fairly close matches in hue, many are undesirably opaque multi pigment mixtures, mostly made up of an inexpensive white pigment. The cloudy and easily streaky nature of these colors limits their usefulness for layering or glazing. If you're looking to achieve these types of pastel-like colors on demand, I would add a tube of PW6 Titanium White gouache to your paint collection, as it can be mixed with any affordable pan set color for more versatility in opacity or range of colors. They are calling these paints "high grade grey mixtures" for beginners or illustrators (designers/fugitive art for print reproduction). They may appeal to those who prefer to use convenience colors, instead of taking time to mix colors or water diluting single pigment colors into similar pale hues with superior transparency.
Many of their paints are simply marketed as professional quality. Very few sets or seller listings are being properly noted as for "designer" use. They rarely provide pigment codes in color charts or any warning that the supplies are not UV stable for long term wall hung art due to their heavy use of bright fugitive dyes and pigments prone to fading that are not typically used in professional watercolor brands. You'll have to watch out for fugitive ingredients on the tube/pan labels if planning to use these in art to sell/wall hung paintings as many do not include LF ratings. This is a little similar to ShinHan's watercolor catalog, one of the rare instances where a pro grade paint company has a catalog full of pigments that fade within a couple months like PY1, PO13, PR3, PV3, PB17 etc..
There are colors that use Carmine (bugs that are farmed for the red dye they produce when crushed up), so it's best to assume this is not a vegan friendly brand. The binder ingredients are not fully disclosed (uncertain if these include animal hide glue), but they are definitely not just pigment/gum arabic like western watercolors. These paints dry matte and hard as a rock in the pan - some taking extra effort to re-wet even in the above average humidity of Florida. Some tube colors include chemically unstable dyes which fade in storage (inside sealed tubes in climate controlled rooms) - resulting in drastic hue shifts between refilling your half pans. This was most dramatic in Rose Ash and Red Blue, both of which were slightly more stable when stored dry in pans.
There are two "layered" sets, a 10 half pan and a 10 x 15ml tube set, which focus on multi pigment mixtures that color separate in wet washes. These special multi-colored effects can be achieved by mixing your own single pigments with better control of lightfastness. For the 10 half pan set - almost all of the colors are common pigments mixed with PB29 Ultramarine Blue. These are lackluster, have several colors that fade (including an oddly fugitive version of PY65 in Cathedral Glass that disappears from the green leaving only blue behind), and is no where near as high quality as the reasonably priced PB29 mixtures found in Roman Szmal's catalog.
Layered tubes: If you already own a decent collection of watercolors, even if lightfastness is NOT important to you, I would still recommend mixing your own instead of purchasing this product. You may be able to find dye inks to mix with a standard set of watercolors more affordably than buying the 10 tube set (get a red/magenta, yellow and blue primary mixing trio of Ecoline on Jackson's here). Adding Ecoline onto my mixing palette with ANY cheap watercolor such as Miya, Pretty Excellent or Paul Rubens resulted in some degree of "layered" color separation.
Rose Ash and Red Blue contain extremely chemically unstable red dyes. I ordered a second tube of Rose Ash, which ended up being even worse than the first in terms of unexpected color changes within the tube:
The image above shows how the red dye included in Red Blue and Rose Ash faded away leaving only the underlying Cobalt Green/Turquoise PB36 behind. This color change happens away from UV light, in the tube, during normal room temperature storage, after about 6-12 months. Considering you can't be sure how long a seller had the tube before a sale + the potentially long shipping from China, there is no guarantee your tube will be good for more than a few months. Dramatic colors like "Rose Ash" can be replicated extremely convincingly using a Cobalt Teal and a drop of red dye ink (like fountain pen inks and liquid watercolors such as Ecoline or PH Martin's Radiant). For a decently close match that won't fade, I prefer Daniel Smith's Cobalt Teal PG50 and Quin Coral PR209 (see video for mixture ideas for other colors).
If lightfastness is not a concern: If you want to very closely duplicate Super Vision's colors (or repair an old tube of Rose Ash by adding a drop of red dye) I would try a dye product like Ecoline, Radiant or fountain pen inks. All re-wet very well from dry so you can stir them right into a pan with your tube watercolor paint.
Browse a huge variety of watercolor pigment based paint or ecoline dye based liquid watercolors at Jackson's UK for worldwide shipping OR through Blick for USA shipping:
Where to buy Super Vision? You may be able to find some sets on Amazon USA below, or worldwide through Ali Express and Etsy. The availability fluctuates as relatively few independent retailers carry them and they are not available through major art supply stores like Blick or Jacksons. I use affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you :)
Here's the result of a 1 year window lightfast test for these sets:
They offer a handful of rare mineral paints at a high price averaging about 11-15USD per 8ml tube. Some of these colors can be found in other brands, such as Malachite in Paul Rubens or Roman Szmal. Be aware that Malachite is chemically unstable since it can yellow when intermixed with honey based paints or certain environmental conditions (brands like R.Szmal or Kremer will also harden with yellow streaks in the pan). Lapis Lazuli is also available in Paul Rubens, Daniel Smith or Roman Szmal, but essentially functions like a weak version of Ultramarine Blue PB29 which is cheaper and easier to re-wet. There are highly toxic pigments (mercury, arsenic) colors that SV and Rubens offer - such as Realgar, Oripment (but Rubens also adds Chinese Vermilion/Cinnabar). Other rare minerals offered by Super Vision include Schorl (tourmaline), Red Jade (Red Jasper) and Hematite - but those colors are also available from Daniel Smith at a slightly lower price (that's still pretty high). Overall I do not consider any of these to be palette necessities to justify the steep cost.
Swatch card color chart with pigment and lightfastness information:
Layered 10 color half pan set:
Layered 10 color 15ml tube set:
These cards have been added to the pigment database pages, where you can see how they compare to the same pigments from other brands of paint.
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.