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Review: Jackson's Artist Watercolour Paint (tubes)

Jackson's Artist Watercolour are one of the more affordable artist grade paint available. They are only sold through Jackson's Art (UK) as far as I know. These are available in half and full pans, 10ml and 21ml tubes, as well as in sets.

The tubes I'm reviewing were bought recently during one of their sales. I paid £60.83 for a set of twelve 21ml tubes. That's almost £5 for each tube. You'll find out whether it's worth the money in this review.

Jackson's Artist Watercolour is actually a rebrand of Sennelier Watercolour. The tubes used are the same except the Jackson's label that was pasted over. The design printed on the tube above is the same design you'll find on Sennelier's tube.

One issue I have with Jackson's Artist Watercolour is for certain colours, there's the problem of binder separating with the pigment. The problematic colours that I know of are Neutral Tint, Cerulean Blue and Permanent Magenta. There can be so much gum arabic binder that you can count the drops that come out of the tube before you can even see the pigment.

And you have to be careful not to let the gum arabic flow down the side of the tube or it will get very sticky and difficult to clean off. I had to use tape to tape up the sides to keep my fingers clean each time I pick up this tube.

And with all the gum arabic out of the tube, the actual 21ml capacity is much smaller. I can't say much much paint is less but it's definitely no where near 21ml. If you buy the 10ml tubes does that mean you'll get even less paint?

Another issue I have is the paint shrinks significantly when you squeeze the paint into pans. Maybe that's got to do with the fact that much of the binder dries up. So to truly top up a pan, you have to do the top up several times.

Sennelier paint is known for using honey so the surface of the paint will always be glossy. The paint is very fluid, and is probably best used from tubes. You can use them in pans, they do dry, but you have to dry them over several pouring sessions and days.

Below are swatches of colours that I have.

Jackson's Lemon Yellow uses PY3 which is a common pigment used by many paint manufacturers to make Lemon Yellow. PY3 is sometimes known as Hansa Yellow Light (eg Daniel Smith) and is marginally lightfast, semitransparent.

Jackson's Yellow Light (PY153) is nickel dioxine yellow. It's a semitransparent, lightly staining, non-granulating, light valued, intense orange yellow pigment. It's a nice mid yellow.

The pigment labeled was actually PY154 which made me happy because I love Azo Yellow. But this is not Azo Yellow. This is PY153, which is also a nice vibrant yellow.

Quinacridone Gold is a mix of PY119, PY42 and PY83. Sennelier's version of Quin Gold actually uses PR101, PR206, PY150. Sennelier's Gold Ochre is the one that uses the PY119, PY42 and PY83 combination.

I feel like this version of Ultramarine may need more paint to make it more intense.

This is a nice Cerulean Blue but as mentioned above there's the binder separation problem. So there's not much of the actual pigment and hence you need to use more paint to achieve the intensity.

Phthalo Blue is good. This pigment is always incredibly vibrant.

Jackson's has a good version of Pyrrole Red (PR254). This is intense and concentrated.

The Permanent Alizarin Crimson used here is PR206 which looks very different from Daniel Smith's more vibrant three-pigment mix (PR 177, PV 19, PR 149) and Winsor & Newton's PR206+PV19. Jackson's version is more dull.

This is a nice version of Carmine.

This colour also has binder separation problem. But pigment itself looks quite vibrant. This is a nice version of magenta.

Burnt Sienna's nice.

Permanent Sap Green looks good.


The paint quality looks and feels like artist quality paint. However because of the higher concentration of binder and whatever that's used to make the paint, the paint gets used up much quicker compared to other brands.With heavily pigmented paint, you just need to use a bit of paint and can go a long way. With Jackson's (Sennelier) watercolour paint, they get used up quite quick. The colours are still vibrant so they are still enjoyable to work and mix with.

So overall while the paint is more affordable compared to other brands, the amount of pigment you get isn't as concentrated even if the colours still appear vibrant. So the saying "you get what you pay for" definitely applies here. Having said that, this is a brand that I can still recommend easily especially to beginners because of the attractive pricing.

As for me, I will probably squeeze them into pans, have them shrink and repeat the pouring process again, so that I can get the paint in a more concentrated form to use.

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