QoR Modern Watercolors by Golden.  Pronounced “core.”

Qor high chroma and earth set of 6 watercolors in a 12 well jack richeson porcelain palette sets in tins

Before getting into the paint of the post, I want to share something that I was inspired by- Guest Doodlewasher Larry Marshall posted on his blog on September 26, 2016 that he has been sketching now for five years.  High five Larry!  He started with no experience, stuck with it, and has shared his journey.  His blog is one of the first I came across when starting this leg of my artistic journey and it helped me a lot.  Not just with supply suggestions, but that he was putting it out there- by it, I mean his sketches.

Never underestimate the potential capacity of  what you create and share to be inspiration for others.

Now, on with the show!

The QoR website has comprehensive information about these paints, videos, science and technology info.  This artist grade watercolor differs from others because it does not use gum Arabic as a binder. 

The first thing I asked after learning about the “used in fine art conservation” Aquazol binder- which is a polymer, is what does that mean?  Basically it’s less yellow than gum Arabic, and claims greater adhesion and less cracking.  I’ve never had a watercolor painting crack, apparently it is either a real issue, or a marketing tool. Perhaps very old watercolor paintings suffer from cracking, it happens to oil paintings.  This watercolor is intermixable with other brands of watercolor, no matter the binder.  Here’s the other highlights about the paint:

  • Incredibly smooth transitions
  • Good flow and liveliness on the paper
  • Vivid color depth in one stroke
  • More density of color than traditional watercolors
  • Amazing vibrance after drying
  • Excellent resolubility in water
  • Excellent glazing qualities
  • Greater resistance to embrittlement

“The exceptional color strength of QoR Watercolor is achieved through the use of a unique binder called Aquazol®. This unique binder first caught our attention through ongoing dialogue with professionals in the field of fine art conservation. Conservators have been using Aquazol since the early 1990’s as an adhesive, consolidant, and inpainting medium. The properties that make it ideal for use in conservation also make it a great binder for watercolor paint. It is highly soluble in water and remains resoluble over time. It remains stable after accelerated light aging tests with no significant change in color, and it is very safe to work with.”

The tins that sets come in used to be a large unhinged size.  I use it to keep paint tubes in. Seems people complained about the size of the tin and now they come in smaller unhinged tins.  The wells in the lid can be used to mix in.

Qor high chroma and earth set of 6 watercolors sets in tins

Available in 83 colors- here is a really nice color chart, click on the individual colors and and awesome swatch set pops up along with properties and labeling info.  Labeling and lightfast ratings article here.   QoR Colors Pigment Chart pdf here.  Their site is very nice, interactive and user friendly- they’ve done an outstanding job with it.

Sold in sets and individual tubes.

Earth Set of 6– 5ml tubes:

Naples yellow, Transparent Brown Oxide, Venetian Red, Sap Green, Indigo, Raw Umber. Older sets came with Ardoise Gray, but now come with Raw Umber.

Qor high chroma and earth set of 6 watercolors

High Chroma Set of 6 – 5ml tubes:

Cobalt Teal, Green Gold, Quinacridone Gold, Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Quinacridone Magenta and Dioxazine Purple.

Introductory Set of 6– 5ml tubes:

Indian Yellow, Cerulean Blue Chromium, Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrole Red Light, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna.

The sets of six are around $21-$24 with no duplicate colors. This is a good deal and makes them affordable to try.  Found online or at local art stores.

Introductory Set of 12 5ml tubes- around $40:

Nickel Azo Yellow, Hansa yellow medium, Quinacridone Gold Deep, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Pyrrole Red Light, Cerulean Blue Chromium, French Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green, Burnt Sienna, Payne’s Gray, Yellow Ochre.

24 Color Set of 5ml tubes: around $72- $84.  Here is an unpacking video of this set.

Here is a link to read more about the sets sold.

Individual tubes are 11 ml. and retail online for around $9.50- $15.  Most other brands are 15 ml. Given the size difference, QoR is more expensive per individual tube.  My local art store sells this brand, and so do many others.  Last year I got the High Chroma set from them and the Earth set was a recent purchase from Amazon.

I have the paints in this tiny 12 well porcelain palette that comes with a lid- 4 x 3.25 inches.  I over filled the wells anticipating that they would shrink more than they did. During drying, some of the colors didn’t shrink up as much as others, some barely shrank at all.  The Transparent Pyrrole Orange shrank the most. They maintain a sheen when dried in the pan and dried pretty smooth- no cracking. Below, the first photo is of them wet after being poured, the second photo at an angle is of them after drying for a couple of weeks.  A top view of them dried can also be seen in the very top photo of this post.

I have the high Chorma and Earth sets in this palette. Below is a small swatch that I keep with the palette, and then a larger one for this post.  Both swatches on Arches 90lb cold press watercolor paper.  A note on this weight of paper before anyone runs out and buys it- it buckles a lot because it’s only 90 lbs., not the 140 lb. usually used.  I bought full sheets to tear up and put through the printer- which I haven’t done yet and that’s for another post.  I’ve done paintings on this paper, but have always taped it down.

Qor high chroma and earth set of 6 watercolors in a 12 well jack richeson porcelain palette, painting swatch

I like how this paint spreads on the page with wet in wet technique, this is the “good flow and liveliness” mentioned in the bullet points above.   Bit of an odd way to do a swatch, but I wanted to show how they disperse and flow, because it’s something that I love about them. I touched a loaded brush to the wet paper, no tipping the page or anything, just natural migration on a flat surface. In my experience, paints with honey, like M. Graham watercolors, also act this way more so than other brands. The earth tones like Naples Yellow, Transparent Brown Oxide, and Raw Umber don’t move as much.

Qor high chroma and earth set of 6 watercolors in a 12 well jack richeson porcelain palette, qor colors paint swatch

The colors are very vibrant, and capable of transparent washes, or intense layered color- see mandala painting at the bottom, it really pops.

Simple sample paintings. I used a couple of different papers- Arches 90lb cold press and Tomoe River Paper in a Hobonichi Techo Planner.

Guest Doodlewasher Jane Blundell has swatch samples and observations about the paint on her blog.

Guest Doodlewasher Lindsay Weirich– aka- The Frugal Crafter has a 13:50 minute video making a palette from the QoR tin.  She also has a 35:55 minute demo using the paints. She has tons of helpful videos and demos!

Unless something changes, this is the last brand of artist quality watercolors that I have to review.  A rundown of what’s been reviewed so far (these are all hyperlinked):

There are other odds-n-ends and non artist quality paints that have been reviewed, and I have plans for others.  Today marks the first day of Inktober, which is something that I participate in personally (in other words, not affiliated with Doodlewash).  Want to find out more, click the link.  In honor of that event, and as watercolorists and sketchers, many of us like to use waterproof ink- I will be doing a review on inks and pens good for waterproof sketching.  I can be found on Instagram- @jessicaseacrest, where all my creative outlets are entertained, and sometimes telling signs of what will be reviewed next can be found.

Qor high chroma set of 6 watercolors mandala painting by Jessica seacrest
High Chroma Set

All previous review posts can be found under “Reviews” on the menu or click here.   Doodlewash has a Facebook group called World Watercolor Group.  Huge variety of folks from all over, and a wide variety of painting styles and skill levels. The group is over 11,000 and growing everyday! We have a lot of fun over there, and there are many kind people in the group.  If you haven’t already, please join in and share your watercolor creations!

Supply posts are every other Saturday. See you next time!

Happy sketching and painting!

Posted by:Jessica Seacrest

Hi I'm the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer biweekly reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression.

17 replies on “DOODLEWASH REVIEW: QoR Watercolors

  1. Thanks for the review, Jessica. I’ve heard of QOR but didn’t know much about them. (Jane’s site is fantastic in it’s detail, isn’t it?) And many thanks for highlighting Larry’s site – I missed his Guest Doodlewash. So inspiring!

    Have fun with Inktober! I love my Platinum Carbon fountain pen (what Jane Davenport has accurately named the Epic Pen) so much that every day is Inkday for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just discovered these paints last week and the staff at the art store recommended them highly. I bought the tin with 12 colours. The prices you quoted must be American because I paid slightly more. Anyway I’m anxious to try them, especially after reading your review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I’m in the US, so those are the prices I use, and also what I link to. Yay, I hope you enjoy your new paints! 🙂


  3. These look like they’d be amazing watercolors to paint with – I love every aspect of your descriptions and plan to order at least a small set for trial. Am painting a number chart for baby granddaughter, and these might be perfect watercolors for the project. Well, I’ll continue it once my arm is out of cast – lol. Meanwhile, I can order the paints so they’ll be here and ready to go.

    I always want to try everything you review, Jessica – you make everything sound wonderful. Thank you for all your detailed reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment warmed my heart today, thanks so much Sharon. I hope your arm is liberated from that cast very soon! I love the little palette I have of these paints, and I feel like the sets are a good deal. I hope that you enjoy them fully!

      Liked by 1 person

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