Here's the second Prima Marketing watercolour set that I have, the so called Decadent Pies set. The name could have been inspired by pastry. I'm not sure. The first set I bought was the Tropicals set. There's also the Classics set (which I have) and recently I also discovered Pastel Dreams and Shimmering Lights. I'm not sure if I'm going to review Pastel Dreams or Shimmering Lights.
These are the 12 colours included in the metal box set. The colours are not named and there's no pigment information to be found on the box or on Prima Marketing's website.
Using my best judgment, the equivalent colours would be something like
- Metallic White
- Metallic Gray
- Metallic Yellow Ochre
- Metallic Dark Peach
- Naples Yellow
- Van Dyke Brown
- Light Peach/Pale Flesh
- Venentian Red
- Gold Ochre
- Sap Green or Hooker's Green
- Payne's Gray
- Phthalo Blue
4 colours are supposed to be metallic colours but I find that their version of metallic just means there are some shimmering dust particles added. If you look at the watercolour wash against the light, you can see a thin layer of those dust particles shimmering. The effect is not very pronounced.
Design of the box is great. There's enough space in the middle row to fit in more colours.
These are the colour swatches from the Decadent Pies set.
And just for comparison, these are the swatches from the more vibrant Tropicals set. So the colours in Decadent Pies are more pastel like, more toned town. Generally speaking, most colours we see in real life are toned down so we don't see pure intense colours of impurities, and that's why to make colours, impurities have to be removed. So with the Decadent Pies set, because the colours are already toned down to begin with, they can be applied without much mixing and straight onto the paper. The good thing about that is, it saves time from having to mix colours. The downside is, you can't get intense colours, and when you use colours without mixing, they can appear flat.
Here's a sketch I drew where parts are painted with colours straight from the pan and other colours are mixed.
For the skin tones, I used mostly the yellows provided, and to get a bit of warmth, I added the Venentian Red-like colour.
The dark shade was mixed with Phthalo Blue and Venetian Red. Other colours are used without much mixing.
Because the colours are toned down to begin with, the palette is limited to mixing only toned down colours. The only bright colour included is Phthalo Blue.
There are certain colours that you just cannot produce with this set. For example, you won't be able to get bright orange (mixed with warm yellow and warm red) or an intense violet (mixed with warm blue and cool red). This limited palette is really limited although it doesn't really prevent you from creating masterpieces. However, the colour scheme you can produce is definitely limited compared to a set that has bright primary colours to begin with.
I know lots of crafters like these colours because they are really affordable, even when compared to Winsor & Newton's Cotman sets.
Main things I like about the set is the metal box and affordable pricing. They sell for around USD $20 per box.
While the colours in this set does not appeal to me, this is just one of their many sets. Having a variety of box sets to choose from is great. For those who want convenient colours, you can get all the box sets. For those who want to try out watercolour, getting either the Tropicals or Classics set will do because you can always add additional pans in the middle row with your chosen colours.
The last thing to note is the questionable lightfast quality. I'm not sure how lightfast these will be. It's not meant for use in creating work you want to archive.
But overall, I would consider them to be worth the money for the casual artist. Empty metal watercolour boxes sometimes cost as much but this set includes colours.
You can find the Prima Marketing watercolour sets through Amazon (links below). Cheapest place to get them would be on Amazon USA. They are much more expensive in Europe.