Lightwish has upgraded their Meiliang Solid Watercolor set from 36 to 52 colors. The pigment formulas have been updated, more accessories have been added, and the metal case comes in either purple or blue. And the paints are still non-toxic.
Meiliang focuses on student grade paints of high quality. This a nifty watercolor set with almost everything you would need to paint, whether at home or on the go. It contains 52 pan watercolors, 10 sheets of watercolor paper, a brush, a pen, a pencil and a sponge. The only things you would need to add would be water and a towel.
With 52 colors, you might be surprised to know the set is travel-sized. It would fit into large pockets, purses, or bags.
I received the purple case.
The case is a sturdy metal with rounded edges, which means no sharp edges to cause cuts. It has a metal snap closure, and two metal hinges at the back. Both are straight and move easily.
I recommend keeping the cardboard box the set came in, to carry it around in. Otherwise, I think the clasp could be flipped open accidentally. Fortunately, there is a cardboard sleeve inside the cardboard box, giving it more strength, so it should be possible to use it for quite a while.
You may notice that sometimes the case looks purple and in others it looks pink, as in the photo above. It’s definitely purple, but it does have a pink cast. The color in my photos changed according to the light and the background. It’s the same in real life. It’s subtle enough that you might not even notice until you see photos like these!
The colors are set into a molded plastic insert in the body of the case. They are in metal pans (or foil) that are glued to the plastic inset. I tried to work one loose so I could look more closely but couldn’t get it free without breaking the plastic. These aren’t going to fall out easily.
The set has a removable plastic sheet, PVC I think, to protect the paints and accessories from each other.
The bottom of the outside box has the names and colors printed on it.
Inside there are two flyers, one with a printed list of the colors and pigment information along with some information on the colors and about the company. The pigment information includes a thumbnail view of the color, the name, the pigments it is made from, the opacity, and the lightfast rating.
The second flyer has the same pigment information with blank space for you to paint in a swatch of each color. Usually sets of this quality and price range don’t have the pigment information listed. This is very unusual for a student grade product.
I’ll show you the other flyer when I get to the paints.
The accessories sit in a second molded plastic insert that fits into the lid. This inset can be removed so that the lid can be used for mixing colors.
The sponge is a small piece of foam that can be used to blot your brush and help control the amount of water in it.
The brush is a pointed round size 5. There isn’t any information on it, but I think it has Golden Taklon or Toray bristles. It’s of medium stiffness, and holds a decent amount of water. In other words, a fairly standard student quality brush.
The handle is clear plastic and fairly small. It fits nicely in my small hands, but might be too small for comfort if you have large hands.
Given the size of the paper I found the brush to be just right. The fine tip allows for small detail, and the ability to fit into small corners. Yet the body is large enough to cover larger areas.
The paper is of a stiff consistency. It does curl a little at the edges so you might want to tape it down. I was able to work most of the curl out by flexing the paper and by wetting the back, then weighting it down until it was dry.
There is no information listed about the sheets of paper. They have a even, and visible texture. Given that the set is student grade, they are probably cellulose.
The sheets are cut to 7.5 x 21 mm. / 3 x 8.75 in. Good for large bookmarks, landscapes, and easily cut in half for tags.
The pencil is marked ‘B’, which means it is black and soft. It draws a little darker than I personally like, but not terribly so. If you need darker lines, it would be perfect.
The pen is a pigment liner with an 0.5 nib. It is water based, and water resistant.
Water resistant is not the same as waterproof. If you use too much water, the ink may smear. When using pens like this, I usually draw over the paint, or draw, and then let it set for an hour or two to make sure the ink has set before I point over it.
The paint in this set rewets easily. The binder is a high quality gum arabic.
While the color is good, it takes a little more work to get really intense color. But you can get intensity, which isn’t always the case with student quality. None of the colors were chalky.
I would rate these highly for what they are.
With 52-colors, there are a few that are similar, but overall, I felt it was a great range of colors.
For those who had the 36 or 48-color set in this line, you’ll want to know that 18 colors were in the original 36-color set:
- White Natural Yellow Orange Lemon Yellow Yellow Green
- Lime Green Olive Green Viridian Hooker’s Green Dark
- Sky Blue Cobalt Blue Ultramarine Blue Prussian
- Rose Red Bright Purple Deep Purple Payne’s Gray Coal Black
To get an idea of the range of features in these colors:
- 10 colors are transparent.
- 16 colors are semi-transparent.
- 15 colors are opaque.
- 11 colors are semi-opaque.
- 12 colors have a excellent lightfastness of *****
- 18 colors have a good lightfastness of ****
- 18 colors have a fair lightfastness of ***
- The two metallic colors don’t have a lightfastness rating (this is common).
Other features —
- 2 colors are metallic.
- 10 of the colors are macaron (aka Pastel)
- 22 colors are single pigment
I felt I should focus on what is in the set exclusively, so all the examples were done with only the watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and paper that came with the set.
For this example, I was testing to see how the paint and paper interacted together.
First I dropped a little water into each pan, to wet the colors. Then I started with lots of clean water, wetting the paper until there was a shine, but not puddles. Then I dropped in colors. There was no way to use all 52 colors on paper this size, so I chose them at random to get a good sampling.
Then I let it dry, and added detail, using different colors.
I found that the colors moved a little slowly in the water, but they do move. You don’t get wild, juicy effects, but do have good control and can get some nice blending.
My next test was for the paper and brush. I painted, lifted color, scrubbing way harder than I should, repainted and repeat over and over. This is a good way to ruin both paper and brushes!
It’s also a good test to see how well both hold up to abuse. The colors did get a little dull, and it was harder to get a crisp line. That is exactly what I would expect even with the best products. However, the paper did not pill. I was able to lift and repaint in the areas, several times. Often, when you do this, paper will refuse to take anymore color. That did not happen here.
The brush retained its point and didn’t fray. I was surprised. I expected it to.
I don’t recommend doing this with any brand of paint, brush or paper. I do it so you don’t have to. But beginners tend to do it, thinking they’ll be able to fix things. With this set, they can fuss more than a bit, and still get something decent.
My main test here was to see how well the ink did when wet.
I did find that if you use a lot of water, as I did in the initial washes, the ink runs a bit.
However, in this painting below, I had no trouble because I didn’t let my paint get as juicy.
I tested two things with this painting. I used both masking fluid and masking tape for the lightning, and I lifted and repainted several time to see how well the paper held up to scrubbing and rewetting. As you can see, I also used the two metallic colors — the gold in the cauldron and silver in the sky.
Both masking products came off easily, and I was able to paint over those areas with no sign of damage. I even lifted color and repainted in these areas several times and had no problem.
Color lifted easily. If you aren’t careful with the amount of water, you could lift when you’re trying to add color. The paper didn’t pill, tear, and the color didn’t dull in the areas that I over-worked.
Why Would You Want This Set?
I think it would be a great set for anyone who wants a complete kit for home, plein air, or travel, and doesn’t need it to be at a professional level of transparency or doesn’t want wild juicy effects.
With the range of colors and features, it would be wonderful for a beginner or casual artist who doesn’t know —
- what colors they like
- what difference opacity and transparency can make
- what difference single pigments can make
- what difference macaron (pastel) colors make
- what difference lightfastness makes
- what colors mix well
The Meiliang Solid Watercolor 52-color set is student grade, but a very good student grade. It has a pencil, pen, brush, sponge, and ten sheets of paper cut to 7.5 x 21 mm / 3 x 8.75 in. size that fits into the paint box.
The paints include a range of transparent, opaque, pastel. and metallic colors.
A great set for beginners, for the casual artist who wants to experiment with a range of colors, and any artist who wants a complete set for carry.
Links of Interest
I received this Meiliang Solid Watercolor 52 Colors set from PaulRubens® for the purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in