Koi Watercolor

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  1. Koi Watercolor Review
  2. Koi Watercolor Set 12

The Sakura Koi Watercolor comes in tube and pans sets. They are among the more popular watercolour sets for beginners because they are rather affordable. For pan sets, they come in 12, 18 and 24 colours. The layout of the box depends on how many colours there are. Shop for koi watercolor art from the world's greatest living artists. All koi watercolor artwork ships within 48 hours and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. Choose your favorite koi watercolor designs and purchase them as wall art, home decor, phone cases, tote bags, and more!

Koi watercolor brush pens

One of my artistic goals is to do more plein air sketching. Most of my sketching is with pencil but I have recently seen so many beautiful watercolor sketches that I decided I would give it a try. At first, I bought some watercolor pencils, which I really like for the most part. Then, in preparation for my recent trip to Southwestern Utah, I decided to buy a small watercolor kit that can travel easily. The kit is a Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box set. Here it is:

You can buy it here:

I bought the 24 color set. I decided I needed to learn the colors and color mixing a little better. Let me just do a little math to put it in perspective. If you have a 24 color pallete, creating a color chart yields 576 (24 x 24) color combinations! WOW! And that’s just mixing 2 colors with each other, then those same two colors plus white. Color mixing experts say that you can mix 3 colors, but really, I think I can deal with 576 colors. Besides, I think mixing a 3 color chart would be very confusing….and you’d probably make lots of “mud” colors. Anyway, so I found some instructions for building a color chart:

I liked this one pretty good, there are other instructions out there, you can find one that you like just by searching the web for “how to make a color chart”. Basically, it’s just a matrix and you add the color from the row plus the color from the column. Everything below the diagonal has white added. My example is below with numbers. I numbered my colors to make it easier.

Here’s my finished color chart:

As you can see, I made mine in 6 panels then taped them together with thin strips of white duct tape. This made it fold-able and is the same approximate size as the Koi watercolor box. To do this, each square was 1 cm square. Here is the folded color chart on top of the Koi watercolor box. It was too thick to put inside but you can rubber-band it to the box to keep them together.

Another note about the color chart: Creating a color chart this size takes a long time. To speed up the process, I put the column color on a pallette in a long horizontal line, then white on the pallette in a long horizontal line. See below. Then I could just mix the color from each row with the horizontal colored line, put it on the paper in the correct block, then mix with the white horizontal line, put it on the paper in the correct block, then wash the brush and go to the next color. Like this:

I hope that anyone who uses this can follow my instructions and hope that you’ll build your own color chart. I have to admit, it was alot of work, but it’s well worth it when looking at something and trying to figure out what colors to mix. You just find the color on your color chart that you want, and look at the colors that you need to mix to get it.

The Sakura Koi Watercolor comes in tube and pans sets. They are among the more popular watercolour sets for beginners because they are rather affordable.

Koi Watercolor

For pan sets, they come in 12, 18 and 24 colours. The layout of the box depends on how many colours there are. I really like the design of the box, specifically the large detachable mixing tray with individual wells. You can fix the tray on the left, right or bottom of the main box.

For the 24-colour set that I have, it comes with sponge on both sides and a waterbrush. The colours are slightly hard but once you add water, they dissolve easier. However, to mix a large wash, it will take some time to scrub the paints off.

The waterbrush comes with a stopper that you can use to prevent water from leaking as you detach the waterbrush to fit into the box. It's truly a compact set that you can bring outdoors. It's quite lightweight too.

However, it's not as compact compared to those 12-pan metal boxes. The 12-colour Sakura Koi set might be smaller. Shown beside is the Prima Marketing Watercolor Set that cost around the same price.

These are colour swatches from the set. The colours are

  1. Chinese White
  2. Lemon Yellow
  3. Aureoline Hue
  4. Permanent Yellow Deep
  5. Permanent Orange
  6. Jaune Brilliant
  7. Vermilion Hue
  8. Cadmium Red Hue
  9. Crimson Lake
  10. Quinacridone Rose
  11. Purple
  12. Cobalt Blue Hue
  13. Cerulean Blue
  14. Ultramarine
  15. Prussian Blue
  16. Yellow Green
  17. Viridian Hue
  18. Permanent Green Deep
  19. Olive Green
  20. Yellow Ochre
  21. Light Red
  22. Burnt Umber
  23. Payne's Grey
  24. Ivory Black

Straight from the pans, the colours appear quite vibrant. However, there's a trace of chalkiness with some colours. Some colours are quite weak, such as Crimson Lake and Jaune Brilliant. I suppose if you get enough paints from the pans, you can get a stronger colour, but those two colours are more difficult to dissolve.

There's no information regarding the exact pigments used. I bought this set at USD $20 and at that price, I don't expect artist grade quality, lightfastness or permanence.

Koi Watercolor Review

Here's a comparison of selected colours vs Prima Marketing's colours. I want to compare these two sets because they are priced quite close. To me, Prima Marketing's colours are slightly more intense.

The real test of how good the colours are are when you mix them. Colours that are of inferior quality often lose their vibrancy quickly when mixed. This is because the paints have more binder than pigment, or multiple pigments are used are to make up a colour. You can usually identify such colours because there's the word 'Hue' appended to the colour's name.

When I mixed Sakura Koi colours, I find that they are unable to hold on to their vibrancy compared to artist grade colours. The colours from the mixtures are dulled down faster, and at times they appear to be more pastel-like resulting in soft colours. Check out my review for Pebeo's 12 half pan set to see some really soft colours.

Koi Watercolor Set 12

At times, I also find that the colour mixtures to be a slightly chalky but still acceptable. Overall, I find it quite a challenge to maintain the vibrancy of the original colours. The best way to use Sakura Koi watercolours is probably to use them straight from the pans without mixing them too much.

For the price, it's a good introductory set for watercolour beginners. However for the same price, I would recommend you go for the Prima Marketing Tropicals set instead unless you really want to get this set for the plastic box which is really nice.

Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials (US) Jackson's Art (UK)