Writer for this post: Belle
If you’ve studied in an elementary school nearby the UP Los Banos Campus (or, in my case, within it), the yellow plastic case above seems a little familiar, doesn’t it?
(It taunts me in my psychedelic watercolor dreams)
That is the Camel Brilliant Water Colors. I’ve once used a set of this back when I was in elementary, and this year when I checked, it only cost Php 34 (a little more than 60 US cents). I suspect it cost even less when I was in elementary. Back then, I used to complain having to buy this because it seemed so expensive–to a ten-year-old whose allowance was 20 pesos. Now, however, this set could be considered a steal compared to other watercolor brands.
Is it, though? Time to open this baby up and test it.
Camel Water Colors comes in a set of 18 colors (full pans); I don’t know which specific colors because there’s nothing about the brand, apparently. The colors are hard and dry when you first get them, and some may even have this weird, white, powdery coating on them (the coating goes away after use, though).Also, the pans crack easily, but it doesn’t seem to affect the quality.
As for the container itself, it’s really portable, although the plastic stains easily and doesn’t feel durable. It’s thinner than most portable watercolor sets, and it has three substantial mixing wells (although, as a child, I used them for holding water). It also has a thin compartment for the brush the comes along with it.
The brush has a red plastic handle, and black plastic bristles. The bristles don’t really form much of a point, and they tend to be all over the place. Even though the set is a children’s watercolor set, I think getting a more decent brush for this set is important. I’ll say it: the brush is rubbish, even for children’s standards.
Testing and Swatching
For this review, I tested each of the colors on 200 gsm Canson watercolor paper and used the brush in the set, just to see if it’ll actually hold out. I’m actually pretty glad that I let Bea just use the rubbish brush instead of one of my better ones, because it takes a lot of vigorous scrubbing to get a vibrant pigment out of those pans. Bea actually didn’t bother using the mixing wells, because the only way to get any substantial pigment was to use the colors right off the pan.
This is the final swatch Bea painted. Some of the colors, like the yellows and reds, were vibrant (once you abused the brush, of course). However, the others were either pale or muddy. When the colors dried, though, there wasn’t too much chalkiness like I feared (but there still was).
These are children’s watercolors, meant for kids and should probably be used only by kids. For elementary students who just need to bring a cheap watercolor set for the school year’s requirements, this is probably good enough (although another brush may be needed for fine work). However, if you want to get serious about watercolor, you should probably invest in a more expensive set. After all, this set costs less than three US quarters–you get what you pay for.
Thanks for reading all that! Next up: Disney Art Attack Watercolors 🙂