REVIEW: Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour 24 Colour Set

Paul Ruben’s Artist’s Watercolour Set

The Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour 24 Colour Set, Fourth Generation is a professional quality set, just recently released. There is a set with 24 colors and one with 36 colors. I’m reviewing the 24 color set today.

What’s Different?

This is the fourth generation of Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolor set. So what is different about it? Unfortunately, I haven’t tried sets 1 through 3, and I can’t tell you the differences from a personal perspective. So, I’ll tell you what the manufacturers are saying.

This fourth generation set is the highest quality watercolors that Paul Rubens has ever produced, making them professional quality. The extra-fine gum arabic used improves the light fastness, and the pigments have higher transparency. The ultra-pure pigments will not grey easily.

Most of the colors are single pigment.

This new generation of pigments creates a more natural layering, better diffusivity, and more natural blooming. Color blending is more uniform.

These sets were released on December 12, sold out, and are now available again.

My Experience With Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour Set

Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour Tubes Photo

After playing with these colors for a month and a half, I’ve found them to give full-bodied color, ranging from soft tints and vibrant bold mass-tones.

The set has a good range of transparent to opaque, with most of the colors somewhere in between. Even the semi-opaque and opaque colors can be quite transparent with enough water, but opaque enough to color over other layers with less water. That can definitely come in handy at time.

The paints like to create hard edges. With a little playing around you can figure out the right ratio of paint to water to control that as needed.

Eighteen of the 24-color set are single pigment colors.

The ease with which a color might be lifted is partially determined by the paper, but also by how staining a color is. I couldn’t find the staining information for the colors so I played around on a paper I’ve used for lifting in the past.

None of the colors are highly-staining. I lifted them all with a great deal of ease. This rather strange painting also showed me that a few of the colors granulate, and that the colors are intense enough to be lifted and still glow.

Yeah, it’s a weird painting, but I sure had fun painting it!

The paints come in an elegant, but sturdy cardboard box. The tubes are nested in a plastic inset which is covered in velour-like fabric — another touch of elegance.

A few of the colors dry into flakes. They do reconstitute easily, but you need to make sure they have completely rewet, or you may get flakes in your brush. You might want to keep these in a closed palette so flakes don’t get dislodged and fall out.

What Stood Out Most for Me

The range of colors make this a nice set for someone who is looking for all the basic colors with some popular convenience colors. There is a great range of greens, so this a fabulous set for landscapes. The Quinacridone Maroon and Quinacridone Maroon are very similar, and the Transparent Turquoise is to die for.

The tubes are 5 ml., but the color is saturated enough that a little goes a long way. I squeezed out about a dime’s size of paint, and have done six 5 x 7 inch paintings. I still have enough on the palette for another 6 – 8 of them.

All the important pigment characteristics — the pigment index no(s), the lightfastness, the transparency/opacity — are listed on the tube in English as well as Chinese.

Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour Set – The Colors

Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour swatches

Key to Pigment Characteristics:

  • P=pigment, W=white, Y=yellow, O=orange, R=red, V=violet, B=blue, G=green, Br-brown, Bk=black
  • LF=Lightfastness 5=excellent, 4=good, 3=fair
  • TR=transparent, OP=opaque, STR=semi-transparent, SOP=semi-opaque
  • Naples Yellow PW6/PY53/PBr24, LF 5, OP
  • Lemon Yellow PY3, LF 4 STR
  • Cadmium Yellow Light PY35, LF 5, STR
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep PY65, LF 4, STR
  • Chromium Orange Hue PO62, LF 5, STR
  • Cadmium Red Light PR108, LF 5, OP
  • Perylene Maroon PR179, LF 5, SOP
  • Quinacridone Rose PV19, LF 5, TR
  • Quinacridone Maroon PV42 LF 4, TR
  • Dioxazine Violet PV23, LF 4, STR
  • Indigo PB15:1/PB66, LF 3, OP
  • French Blue PB29, LF 5, STR
  • Berlin Blue PB27, LF 5, SOP
  • Phthalo Bleu PB15:3, LF 5, TR
  • Transparent Turquoise PB16, LF 4, STR
  • Oriental Green PG7, LF 5, STR
  • May Green PY151/PG7, LF 5, STR
  • Cobalt Turquoise Dark PG26, LF 5, OP
  • Olive Green Dark PO62/PG7, LF 5, SOP
  • Earth Yellow PY42, LF 5, SOP
  • Burnt Sienna PR101/PBk9, LF 5, SOP
  • Venetian Red PR101, LF 5, OP
  • Burnt Umber PB15:1/PBr7/PBk9, LF 5, SOP
  • Ivory Black PBk9, LF 5, SOP


In this example, I was testing to see how intense the colors behaved when tons of water were used. The paper had water puddling on the surface, my brush was sopping, and the paints were mixed to be like water.

The colors stayed bright and intense, and the transparency really shows.

Photo reference by photoboel at Pixabay

I noticed as I used the paints over time, that I did have to watch out for hard edges. You know, that sharp line that sometimes forms? These can be used for good effect, but can be annoying if not expected. The amount of water to paint is important for control.

Photo reference by Nennieinszweidrei on Pixabay

In the two examples before the, I painted on a more absorbent, softer paper, and this was a test to see how the paints performed on a harder surfaced paper. In particular, a hard surfaced paper where the paint would sit on the surface longer.

That kind of paper is more likely to form hard edges, so I wanted to see how these paints performed on it.

I had already figured out the paint-to-water ratio I needed, so I got hard edges only where I wanted them.

I’m probably making the control sound more difficult than it is, but I do consider this tendency toward hard edges a characteristic of this paint. It isn’t a good or a bad thing, but is something a professional painter would want to know about.

Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour – Overall

The recently released Paul Rubens Artist’s Watercolour 24 Colour Set, Fourth Generation is a professional quality set with all the basic colors and some nice convenience colors. The colors are bold with a range of transparent to opaque.

Eighteen of the 24-color set are single pigment colors.

The paints tend to form hard edges, but it can be controlled through the paint to water ratio.


Links of Interest


I received an Artist’s Watercolour 24 Colour Set, Fourth Generation, from Paul Rubens, 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 Art Supply Reviews
  1. Teresa 何 Robeson 2 months ago

    That is a nice range of greens, indeed. Thanks for the review, Sandra!

  2. Brenda Sommerville 2 months ago

    Sandra, your reviews are always so helpful. 💖

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you so much, Brenda! I’m glad you find them of use!

  3. Mugdha 2 months ago

    Hello Ms. Sandra,

    How are you? First off, wishing you a wondrous and miraculous 2023!!!! Thanks again for such an in-depth review. I fell in love with the painting in the circle. 🙂


    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you so much for the lovely compliments, Mugdha! I hope your 2023 has been as pleasant as min!

  4. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Thanks for another wonderful review, Sandra!! The colors are amazing and your paintings wonderful!

  5. Marisela Delgado 2 months ago

    Hi, Sandra! A wonderful review! Those colors are gorgeous! 💜

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