After the long waiting, the May Paletteful Pack is finally here! I was considering not checking what to expect from the pack in advance this time, but I guess I lost the thought battle 🙂 Maybe next month I’ll be strong enough to not check the contents before the package arrives!
When I saw the contents on the Paletteful website, I was underwhelmed, to be honest. 3 small tubes of watercolours, 2 brushes, a watercolour pad and a palette? It didn’t seem like much but when I opened the pack and saw the supplies in real life there was a lot of surprises! So let’s see what exactly I was sent this month!
(To learn more about Paletteful Packs click HERE. For my final thoughts and artworks scroll down to the last section of the post.)
Holbein Artists Watercolor (Peacock Blue, Opera, and Permanent Yellow)
Much of the world-wide reputation that Holbein enjoys is due to the exceptional quality of their Artist Watercolor. Originally introduced in the early 1920’s and now available in 108 highly concentrated colors, Holbein Artist Watercolor is a European style transparent watercolor which preserves the brush handling qualities inherent in Japanese watercolor techniques.
More finely ground than any other artist watercolor, Holbein Artist Watercolor is produced without ox-gall, an animal by-product. This affords the user greater control in the dispersal of their pigments, enhances handling qualities and delivers color of unequaled intensity, purity and reliability for brilliant transparent washes and/or powerful, clean darks.
MSRP: $30.50 – available for, respectively, 14,90 PLN, 16,90 PLN, 14,90 PLN (summed up 46,70 PLN / 10,44 USD) on ArtEquipment.
LW’s NOTE: These paint tubes are TINY! I knew beforehand the tubes weren’t big but these things don’t even look real – they look like toys! 😀 At first I thought these are only sample tubes and regular tubes you can buy are bigger, but I checked and… No! These are the actual paints… and they are the size of a matchbox! I’m shocked, to be honest 🙂 But I’d like to add – I like the colour choice, they seem to go with CMYK colour theory (cyan, magenta, yellow).
Strathmore Vision Watercolor Pad 6″ x 9″
This pad has heavyweight watercolor paper with cold press surface. This acid free paper provides even washes and good lifts with wet media techniques. The pad features a high sheet count, sturdy chipboard backing and tear-off top sheets with customizable, steel blue mixed media covers below.
MSRP: $8.95 – I can’t find this size in Polish online stores. The bigger version costs 50 PLN (although is unavailable right now). I assume the smaller version could cost around 30-35 PLN / 6,69-7,81 USD.
LW’s NOTE: This pad is 30 sheets of 300g/m2 watercolour paper. The pad is much thicker than expected. I thought it would be half as thick, so another surprise here! The paper itself is also interesting. It’s thick, the top layer of the paper has a slight texture to it and the bottom of the page is relatively smooth.
The customizable cover’s paper colour is very similar to the paper from November 2021 box but thicker. It’s almost the same colour and the same fibres are visible (the paper looks “hairy”).
For years, this palette has been the choice of watercolorists. Small enough to fit in most art boxes, it makes a great travel palette and features three large mixing sections and twelve small slant wells for holding color. It stacks without disturbing colors and is made of white, stainproof, high impact styrene plastic.
MSRP: $7.99 – unavailable in Poland
LW’s NOTE: And yet another surprise here – this thing is HUGE. I don’t know what I expected from this palette but definitely not being this big! Also I’ve never had a watercolour palette like this one, so I was very curious about how it would perform.
Robert Simmons Sapphire Brushes
The Sapphire line of brushes is designed for artists working in all mediums who love the pointing, color holding, spring and smooth application of natural sable, but also demand the durability associated with synthetic brushes. The handles are made of kiln-dried beechwood and the ferrules are precision engineered and 22 kt gold-plated. A unique blend of the finest red Kolinsky hair and synthetic filaments delivers the ultimate painting experience. Each brush is hand-made and carries a lifetime guarantee.
Round Brush – MSRP: $17.20, Liner Brush – MSRP: $3.99 – unavailable in Poland
LW’s NOTE: The brushes came with the protective plastic tubes off so the liner’s hair was messy and definitely needed a hairstylist. Fortunately, I managed to fix it, to a degree anyway, but at least it works fine and doesn’t look like a broom anymore.
This month’s sticker is absolutely beautiful and classy, I wish we got the name/social handles of the artist who drew it. Also, it seems to be drawn either with digital media or a fineliner, either way, it doesn’t really match this month’s media (watercolours) which doesn’t matter that much, but would be cool if it did 🙂
- Prompt #1: Flower
- Prompt #2: Ocean
- Prompt #3: Myth
- Prompt #4: New
As I said before, even though I’ve checked the contents of the package online, before it has arrived, I still was surprised by the supplies several times when I actually opened the pack.
Holbein Artist’s watercolours
First of all, the paint tubes were really tiny – they are only 5 ml and I didn’t realize how small amount it is! My usual acrylic paints tubes are around 40 ml and the smallest ones I own are 20 ml! So at least 4 times bigger than these watercolour cuties 😀
I was wondering why would the tubes be so small because it doesn’t seem very economic if the paint runs out too fast but it turns out the Holbein watercolour paints are very pigmented and saturated, so they definitely last much longer than I initially assumed. I noticed that the yellow paint is thinner compared to the other ones, but it also seems to be more opaque.
Since the moment I’ve checked what’s in the package and also what were the prompts, I already knew I wanted to use the “Flower” prompt, but I needed to get to know the paints before starting the artwork, so I decided to give them a tiny try on the Strathmore paper, just to know how they work and look. I super quickly sketched a face with a Col-Erase pencil and coloured it very lightly with the paints I was already very impressed with the colours of the paints and how they dried on the paper. It made me realise why Holbein is so popular among professional watercolour artists!
For the next little exercise, I wanted to paint some apple flowers in my sketchbook for some warm-up before the actual artwork. The sketchbook I have isn’t intended for watercolours, but I only wanted to test how to mix the paints and if the colours I got would work with this kind of a picture, etc. This time I was extremely impressed with the rich, vivid colours of the paints. Of course, the paper didn’t work perfectly with watercolours but I knew it would be the case and the point of this sketch was getting some idea how to mix the paints and how to work with them. As you can see on the image below, I also tried a pink Pigma Micron PN fineliner to add some lines definition, but wasn’t sure how I felt about what it looked like so I ended up not using the fineliner in the final artwork.
The Robert Simmons brushes
The brushes worked really well with the paints but there was no surprise here, because I already knew this brushes’ series was excellent – I got several different Sapphire brushes from some past Paletteful Packs. I had to learn how to use the liner brush though, because I’m used to neither using this kind of brush, nor watercolours. Turns out they need a lot of… water! Who would have guessed?! 🙂
Another thing I really loved was the brush guide on the back of the liner brush packaging. It looked pretty useful to me, so I wanted to keep it for later. I cut the guide out and put it in my Cotman watercolours box and it fits in perfectly!
Strathmore Vision watercolour paper
The Strathmore paper is also great. It’s very thick – almost like cardboard and, not surprisingly, takes the watecolours amazingly. The producer claims the paper can stand washes and media lifts and they didn’t lie! I used both techniques in my artwork and didn’t have the slightest issue with them. It’s ceratinly a great quality paper.
The customizable cover is a cool idea and I love the kind of paper they chose for the DIY cover but I think it’s kind of useless when it comes to paper pads which you are meant to remove the sheets from. The customizable cover would work much better with sketchbooks or some sort of visual journals. Otherwise, I think it’s just a waste of the idea and the paper. I haven’t give this customizable cover a go yet and, to be honest, I’m not sure if I will – I plan to take the sheets away from the pad so I don’t want to waste time on decorating something that will lose its purpose with time. Which is sad because I do love the greenish paper!
And last but not least is the Eldajon palette. I’m still wondering where did the name come from, does anyone know? Anyway, It worked really good. It’s big and spacious, you’re not contained to a tiny area with your paints, so you can go WILD. I love it! 😀
While working with this month’s supplies I was very, very impressed with their quality and I absolutely LOVED the way the paints looked and was absolutely shocked seeing the great results. It kind of puts my Cotman watercolour paints, that I thought were quite good, in a “meh” range! 😀 I’m still gonna use them for practicing but the Holbein paints are amazing and I’m very tempted to buy more colours to make the colour mixing a bit easier.
As I said many times, I don’t have much experience with watercolours, so to finish this artwork I used some Polychromos pencils (mostly for lines around leaves and flowers) but I do hope one day, when I get better at watercolours, I will be able to choose to skip the pencils and the artwork will still look good, but today is not that day 🙂
Anyway, if you’re curious what my finished May Paletteful Packs watercolour artwork looks like, it’s right below! It’s nothing special but I do like it and I hope you will, too! Let me know what you think in the comments or on my social media pages (or you can PM me, if you want!)