Review: Daniel Smith Watercolors Primary & Secondary Sets

These are the two sets of Daniel Smith Watercolors tubes that I bought recently.

The main reason for buying them is they are selling at a good price. Usually each 15ml tube would cost USD $12. So for 3 tubes, that's going to cost USD $36. The set of 3 tubes was selling at USD $24 though. So it's almost like buying three for the price of two.

The tubes came in small plastic packs with a brochure inside.

One set features primary colours and the other secondary colours. The colours are

  • Perylene Red - PR178 - semi transparent, medium staining, non-granulating
  • Hansa Yellow Medium - PY07 - semi transparent, low staining, non-granulating
  • French Ultramarine - PG29 - transparent, medium staining, granulating
  • Quinacridone Burnt Orange - PO48 - transparent, low staining, granulating
  • Undersea Green - PB29 PO49 - semi transparent, medium staining, granulating
  • Carbazole Violet - PV23 RS - semi transparent, medium staining, non-granulating

Lightfast rating for the six paints are rated excellent.

These are the colour swatches from the six colours. I like the primary colours but I'm not too excited about the secondary colours.

Perylene Red is a clean red. It looks like a warm red to me but definitely not as warm compared to other options available.

Hansa Yellow Medium is a nice versatile yellow. It's one of my favourite yellows and is great for mixing.

French Ultramarine is a classic. Nothing much to say.

Quinacridone Burnt Orange looks like a warm red earth tone to me rather than an orange (like New Gamboge).

Undersea Green is a really dull green. You can easily mix this with French Ultramarine and Hansa Yellow. Undersea Green already has pigment PB29 (which is Ultramarine).

Carbazole Violet is a clean purple. It's brighter compared to Perylene Red + French Ultramarine but it's not as interesting compared to the mixture even if it's not as bright.

These are the mixtures you can get from the three primary colours.

For the bottom horizontal swatches, I mixed the secondary colours with their complementary. That's Quinacridone Burnt Orange with French Ultramarine, Hansa Yellow Medium with Carbazole Violet and Undersea Green with Perylene Red.

The complementary mixes all produce browns and earth tones. I can't see to get a beautiful neutral grays.

The primary colours mix quite well. Hansa Yellow Medium with Perylene Red produces a nice glowing orange. Hansa Yellow Medium with French Ultramarine produces a nice bright yellow green that you can make darker with more Ultramarine. Perylene Red and French Ultramarine produces a beautiful dark granulating purple.

The reason why I'm not excited with the secondary colours is because you can mix them with the primary colours. The browns and earth that I mixed with the primary colours are almost similar to the ones I mixed with the secondary with their complements.

Here's a sketch I painted with all the six colours. Here's how I mixed the different areas
Crab: Perylene Red + Hansa Yellow Medium
Table: Quinacridone Burnt Orange + French Ultramarine
Top left: Undersea Green which looks quite distracting because of the granulating texture.
Yellows are almost unmixed Hansa Yellow Medium -- I love the vibrancy.
Greens near the crab: Hansa Yellow Medium +French Ultramaine
Tray: Hansa Yellow Medium with lots of Carbazole Violet
Shadow tones, French Ultramarine + Perylene Red + a bit of Hansa Yellow Medium


The primary colours are definitely worth the money. The secondary colours are not necessary.


You can find the Daniel Smith Watercolors set via these links: | | | | | |

Check out more art product reviews at



Add new comment