24 November 2021

A vanGogh Watercolor Pocket Box


Whether or not I actually get round to using them, I'm a sucker for pocket watercolor paint boxes. 

VanGogh, a brand of Royal Talens has a selection of good ones. They've curated a few themed sets; they have a 'vivid colors' box, a 'muted colors' box, a 'pearlescent and interference' box (stylish, in black) and a 'general selection'.

I got the general selection because I just play at watercolor at present. Here's what it looks like opened up:

The arrangement is a very nice size; there's pocket in my canvas shoulder bag it fits exactingly and satsifyingly. Ten colors, plus Chinese White for tinting and Payne's Gray for shading.

The little included brush is an interesting one. It collapses like many small brushes of that type, and the end of the brush has a sort of bevel that makes it resemble the end of a woodwind. This edge fits into a notch on the right side of that mixing tray, making it easy to pop it out to provide access to the one big mixing area in the lid. Otherwise it snaps in nice and tidy.

The quality of the paints can be seen in the following picture.

The quality seems comparable to Winsor & Newton's Cotman line of student/amateur grade colors, which means this is a good choice as well for amateur dabblers and those getting started in watercolors, who want more than a Prang box but don't feel confident enough yet to lay out the big bucks on professional grade paint.

They say you should buy the best you can afford, and I won't argue with that, but I'm sure I'm not the only aspiring artist who got sticker shock when we priced those paints. I mean, Bob Ross Inc. makes their video content next to free and widely available, but it's when you price paint and supplies when it dawns on you where that sweet sweet revenue comes from. I believe you should decide for yourself where the line between what one can afford and what one feels comfortable using, and buy as close to that line as you can get. I do think one shouldn't settle for less than student grade; you won't go broke that way while learning confidence with real big-kid art supplies.

The colors in the vanGogh general selection box span the primaries, with biases: Permanent lemon yellow/Azo yellow medium, Permanent red light/Madder lake deep, Ultramarine deep/Cerulean blue (phthalo), Sap green/Veridian, also the ever-dependable earths Yellow ochre and Burnt sienna, plus Chinese White and Payne's gray rounding out the set.

I also got a Niji medium water-brush pen, which was the first time I've ever used such a thing, and was quite a liberating experience. 

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