Tools Review: Pebeo 12 Hues Half Pan Watercolour Mobile Set

The box set was acquired from a China online shopping website for about SGD11, or est. USD8 or slightly lesser, not including the shipping charges. Pebeo is a French company that has been producing and manufacturing art materials and tools since 1919, according to their website. I have used their gouache and watercolour in the past and most recently, the mentioned watercolour box set that contains 12 hues, namely: Primary Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Primary Red Cadmium, Alizarin Crimson, Primary Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Blue, Permanent Green, Earth Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, and Ivory Black. As you can see from the scanned colour chart, the pigments are quite light and dry chalky, whilst some pigments are slightly more opaque than others.


The lack of colour saturation in the pigments is an indication that these watercolours are student grade and they are not going to do your painting any good if you are looking for colour saturation, light fastness and better colour transitions.However, the aluminium box is quite well made and if you do not like the pigments, you can swap out the half pans to be replaced by better pigments. You may also purchase empty half or full pans so you could squeeze fresh paints from tubes and bring out for your plein air session.


But I am not going to dismiss these pigments totally. I think it would still be useful to apply these watercolours on practice sketches or roughs. So I chose 2 pages from my sketchbook to try out these paints. Here are the results.


In general, my experience with these pigments is satisfactory. It took a while to coax the pigments and it also took a few glazed layers to add to the saturation level desired. Just be wary that too many glazed layers would hide your inked lines partially. Adding a light wash over your inked lines is not a problem since the pigments are relatively light. Unless you mind your inked lines being covered by the somewhat chalky and opaque pigments, these Pebeo paints still work. If you are the sort who paints with greys mostly, these give relatively nice greys too.


These pigments are not pricey so you cannot expect too much from them. Because these are not pricey, you can use them for sketches, adding a general basic wash over your pencil drawings or roughs and etc. I don’t see how they are as bad as described by some reviews.


From these sketches, you can find the different greys I have mixed with the basic 12 half pans. I can vary their temperatures easily and getting them to complement each other. Quality pigments does play an important part in the drawing and painting process, but cheaper student grade paints works the same if you can work around the problems.


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