Today we're going to look into a very special watercolor set I came across on Aliexpress back in June.
The Paul Rubens Candy Color set rated 4.6 stars out of five that has been ordered 830 times and has over 350 reviews.
This affordable set comes with 24 quarter pans (half a half pan) with enough paint to allow you to try out the colours and decide if you'd like to purchase the tubes and spend the extra money.
Before purchasing a palette, I decided to look at the reviews and found that a few customers claimed these weren't real Paul Rubens paints while others said they were indeed Paul Rubens.
Those who stated these paints are the real deal complained about how in the product description there's no colour name nor pigment information whatsoever so they had to do some research on Paul Rubens website using this colour code chart for guidance:
I noticed how the colour chart provides codes that could be useful to find all the information available about these paints.
As you can see, there's a disclaimer explaining how these quarter pans are secondary packaging, most likely poured on small quarter pans from official Paul Rubens tubes.
The seller allows you to choose different tincase colours for this set which is a lovely addition.
Also the set comes with 20 pastel colours and 4 Daniel Smith dupes (specialty granulating colours).
I swatched them and started my pigment and colour name investigation. I was convinced these were the real Paul Rubens right after finishing swatching.
After digging through the website and their colour charts, I could complete the information.
I also received a lot of help from a kind YouTube user who left a comment under my YouTube video swatching these watercolours.
Thanks, Amanda Harbottle-Johnson!
So are there the real Paul Rubens pastel colours or not?
They're genuine Paul Rubens! High quality as expected from the brand. All pigments behave as expected, the cobalts granulate, the phthalos stain a bit more etc.
B112 Moonlight purple PO73, PB29, PG18
E106 Shadow purple PB29, PG18
B214 Royal purple PV19, PB29
B111 Christmas green PBr7, PB15
B110 Mixed green PY3, PG7, PW6
A172 Permanent green light PG7, PY3, PW6
B144 Mineral green PG18, PY35, PW6
A123 Azurite PB15, PBr7, PW6
D109 Mixed blue PB36, PB29, PG7, PW6
D107 Blue peacock PB36, PB29, PW6
B108 Grey blue PB28, PW6
A356 Green lime PB15, PW6
B105 Lavender blue PV23, PB29, PW6
A116 Lavender violet PB29, PV3, PW6
A311 Pink violet PB29, PV3, PW6
B104 Lilac purple PR112, PV23, PW6
A317 Violet red PV3, PW6
B102 Grey purple powder PV19, PW6
A225 Peach pink PR146, PW6
B101 Rose powder PR207, PR122, PW6
A232 Brilliant yellow red hue PY35, PW6, PR108
A253 Brilliant yellow PY35, PW6, PR108
A231 Brilliant yellow light PO20, PY35, PW6
C202 Naples yellow light PY35
There could be mistakes in this list and if you spot any, please let me know!
While I haven't used them long enough to do a proper review, I can say they're beautiful pastel colours that are a pleasure to work with.
The couple of tests and paintings I've done with them look soft and delicate. The paints layer well and also lift easily without much scrubbing. They're nice when combined with other watercolours and gouache.
I'll leave you with one of the paintings I've done using this palette (and some metallic watercolours).