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Paul Rubens Watercolor Review (4th Generation Artist-Grade Watercolors)

Iva Mikles
Paul Rubens Watercolor Review (4th Generation Artist-Grade Watercolors)

In one of my latest experiments with traditional media, I tried the newest Paul Rubens watercolor paints – the Paul Rubens 4th generation artist-grade watercolors.

I sampled the colors, made color swatches, tested the blooming effect, and made a bunch of artwork.

I was very surprised by the outcome!

Read the summary and details of my experience below. Enjoy!

My Summary

   

At this affordable price, Paul Rubens brings artist-grade watercolors to artists of all levels. Professional and advanced artists will enjoy the high-quality pigments, which easily allow for an amazingly vibrant but also pale look and excellent contrast. And beginners and hobbyists will have fun painting shapes, flowers, and other subjects with a beautiful vibrancy.

Pros Cons
➕ Vibrant hues ➖ No open stock (at the time of writing)
➕ Awesome color range ➖ No white for mixing but instead two similar yellow hues
➕ Contrast and blooming
➕ Pure pigments
➕ Extra fine gum arabic binder
➕ Price
Set of 24
Set of 36

Set of 24 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flag to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Set of 36 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flat to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Set of 24

Set of 24 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flag to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Set of 36

Set of 36 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flat to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Why Did I Choose to Try Paul Rubens Watercolors?

I love trying new art supplies.

I guess it’s almost every artist’s little guilty pleasure 😊

And as a digital artist, I love to make art with pencils, markers, gouache, watercolors, and acrylics.

I get away from the screen, try new techniques, and come up with new ideas for my Procreate brushes.

When the folks at Paul Rubens asked me if I wanted to try their newest creation, the 4th generation artist-grade watercolors, I asked myself: “Why not?”.

I own the Daniel Smith and Holbein artist-grade watercolors, so I was curious how Paul Rubens watercolors will perform.

When choosing watercolor paints, I focus on these key decision-making criteria:

Key Decision-Making Critera

  • Vibrancy of the colors
    When I paint with watercolors I want to make a sketchbook page or a landscape artwork that is not dull and washed out, but rather vibrant and lively. I also want to be able to achieve a lot of contrast.
  • Range of available colors (hues)
    I love earth colors and mixing them with vibrant warm colors – green, yellow, warm red and pinks hues. So I want them either straight out of the box or I want to have the possibility to mix them to create the colors I want.
  • Blooming needs to be flawless
    The watercolor needs to naturally create these interesting textures, which, as a digital artist, I often have to laboriously recreate.
  • Transparency
    I want to be able to achieve good transitions within the hues from opaque to transparent.

Find out below how the newest Paul Rubens 4th generation watercolors fared with my criteria and about my painting experience with them.

Video: Unboxing, Color Swatches, and Watercolor Demonstration

Photo: Open box of Paul Rubens 4th generation watercolors with color swatches - By Iva Mikles @Art Side of Life

Let’s unbox the Paul Rubens watercolor paints together and try them in an artwork.

In the video, I am making the color swatches, blooming, and then I paint watercolor sea life scenes with them.

Color Swatches – Sampling Paul Rubens Watercolor

Photo: Color swatches from Paul Rubens 4th generation watercolors - By Iva Mikles @Art Side of Life

I had a lot of fun sampling these Paul Rubens watercolor paints and creating the color swatches.

I found the range of colors in the 24-set very good.

I like earthy colors, so I was quite happy that there’s a range of different greens available. Including colder and warmer shades such as Olive Green and a very vibrant, almost neon-like bright green called May Green.

And there are two dark colors in the set. A cooler-looking black and a warmer almost-black color called Brown Amber.

I have also been enjoying working with a turquoise-looking blue.

I was able to achieve an interesting blue hue by mixing French Blue and Phthalo Blue together.

And I’ve been drawn to a vibrant warm red included in the set – it’s called Cadmium Red, and it’s very lovely.

Overall, these colors have allowed me to create some really interesting and dynamic artwork.

Keep on reading to see my experiments.

FYI – If you are wondering which paper, sketchbook, and brushes I used for the color swatches and the artwork, here they are:

Painting Sea Life with Paul Rubens Watercolor

I am really happy with how my painting turned out!

I was so impressed by the diverse range of blue hues available straight out of the tube!

It saved me the time I would have otherwise spent mixing colors.

The best part was that I could still achieve a lot of variety within the blue spectrum while working on my sea life artwork.

Plus, I found that using just one of the blue hues allowed me to create some deep and contrasting edges, which was awesome because I didn’t have to rely on other mediums like marker pens or colored pencils to achieve that contrast.

Overall, I’m really happy with how easy it was to get the desired effects using these Paul Rubens watercolors!

Sketchbook Spread “Girl with Plants” with Paul Rubens Watercolor

In this spread, I experimented with the contrast of cooler tones, such as blues and greens, and then transitioned through yellow to warmer orange and red hues.

The effect was amazing, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. The transition of colors was seamless and gave my artwork a beautiful, unique touch.

Another technique I used was the wet-on-wet technique, which created this interesting blooming effect on the flower in the bottom right corner.

Thankfully, the colors didn’t become muddy, and the result was stunning.

Sketchbook Spread “Indy” with Paul Rubens Watercolor

In this spread, I wanted to work with a limited color palette.

I found that using light colors such as yellow, orange, and light green hues worked well to achieve a warmer green tone. Specifically, I mixed May Green with yellow hues to achieve the desired effect.

Using this limited range of colors, I created a beautiful and vibrant color palette that worked well for my artwork.

Overall, I was pleased with the result and found that working within these constraints allowed me to be more creative and intentional with my color choices.

Sketchbook Spread “Flamengo” with Paul Rubens Watercolor

For this artwork, I also used a limited but a bit broader color palette.

I focused on playing with the transparency of the colors, going from dark to light.

Achieving the right balance was a fun challenge, and I’m happy with the result.

I like how the colors stand out even next to the black marker pen. The contrast is perfect and doesn’t look washed out or strange.

The transparency of the colors also works really well and adds an extra dimension to the piece.

I mixed red with white from my Daniel Smith set to get the pale pink color I wanted. (Because there is no white paint in this Paul Rubens set)

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get the right color. And I am quite happy with how this piece turned out!

Sketchbook Spread “Cacti” with Paul Rubens Watercolor

Photo: 'Cacti' Sketchbook Spread by Iva Mikles - ©Art Side of Life

For the last experiment, I decided to use Paul Rubens watercolors on non-watercolor paper.

I wasn’t sure how they would behave, but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Of course, the paper did wrinkle a bit, but that was to be expected. What really impressed me was how vibrant the colors still came out, even on regular sketch paper! And the best part? The hues remained rich and dark, even with just a little bit of water added.

Overall, I found the experience fascinating. It was amazing to see how these Paul Rubens watercolor paints could be applied in different ways to create unique effects on this type of paper.

Should You Get Paul Rubens 4th Generation Watercolors?

Yes, I think you should get Paul Rubens 4th generation artist-grade watercolors.

I love how vibrant they are and the contrast I am able to achieve with them, and I also love the natural blooming effect I was able to achieve.

You will have a lot of fun painting with them!

Set of 24
Set of 36

Set of 24 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flag to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Set of 36 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flat to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Set of 24

Set of 24 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flag to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

Set of 36

Set of 36 - 5 ml watercolor tubes for professional artists

Click the flat to get them in your country: US 🇺🇸 | UK 🇬🇧 | CA 🇨🇦 | DE 🇩🇪

I hope the guys at Paul Rubens will also make the open stock available soon!

Currently, they are only available in a set of 24 and 36 paints, which may be an issue if you use one of the hues more often and you run out of it faster. Plus, I also love to create my own sets with the colors I love.

FAQs about Paul Rubens Watercolor

Is Paul Rubens watercolor good?

Yes, Paul Rubens watercolor is really good. I love how vibrant they are, the contrast I am able to achieve, and the natural blooming effect I get when doing the wet-on-wet technique. Try their newest Paul Rubens 4th generation of artist-grade watercolors.

Is Paul Rubens artist grade?

Yes, Paul Rubens watercolors are artist-grade because they are made from ultra-pure pigments and bound with extra fine gum arabic (Paul Rubens 4th generation of artist-grade watercolors). This ensures they are very vibrant, have superb contrast, good consistency when mixing, and better lightfastness.

Are Paul Rubens watercolors lightfast?

Yes, Paul Rubens watercolors are lightfast because they are bound with extra fine gum arabic (Paul Rubens 4th generation of artist-grade watercolors), which ensures lightfastness.

Who makes Paul Rubens watercolor paints?

The Chinese company called Shanghai Aowen Painting Materials makes Paul Rubens watercolor paints. They focus on developing the highest-quality pigments and paints, which is visible in their Paul Rubens 4th generation of artist-grade watercolors.

Are Paul Rubens 4th generation watercolors available in open stock?

Paul Rubens 4th generation watercolors are not available in open stock at the time of writing in April 2023. I hope they will be available soon!

Happy painting!

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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