It’s been a very short and very busy 2017 for me, hence my lengthy absence – I could barely find time to paint here and there, writing about it too seemed so out of my reach that I didn’t even tried.

But now – Happy New 2018! They say is going to be the Year of the Dog and, as someone who loves dogs more than most people, this can only mean it will be a very good year indeed.

And when the start is with new art supplies to try out and write about – what can I say, any doubt I might have had about the goodness of this year is absolutely gone!

So now we will talk about a new discovery – the “Vibrant Jungle” 20 watercolour brush pens (plus a clear water brush for blending) set. As an avid sketcher, I was long seduced by the convenience of the watercolour pens, so I tried EVERYTHING – pencils, markers, brushes, the lot. I have my favourites of course, but show me an artist who’s not addicted to try all the art supplies on the market …!

They came in a very nice transparent pack together with a pad of lovely A5 pad of 20 pages 180 gsm smooth paper.

But, since all my trials in the “watercolour pen” division happened on a particular type of paper – i.e. my Seawhite 20x20cm sketchbook (120gsm paper) – I thought it would be only fair to do the same with these ones.

First, I did a set of colour swatches – on the provided smooth pad –  and I was particularly pleased of their interaction with water. Many of the pens I tried tend to stain the paper too much and even after applying water, the original marks are still visible on the paper – in this case, the staining is minimal and the blending with water is beautiful and very close to the watercolour paints.

The only negative point I found is the colour choices – two almost identical oranges (lucky me, because is my favourite colour!), two very similar reds, but just one brown. The pens are also not marked with the colour’s name – which might be a problem if they decide to sell them separately too.

P.S.: I only just noticed (on the swatch I did a day before) that it actually had two browns (AND a burnt sienna, my second favourite) – is just positioned on the other side of the spectrum (next to the pink) instead of next to the other brown. (!)

I was very curious how will they behave while interacting with one another – blending with water is one thing, blending with other colour might mean a completely new experience.

And of course it was. I was very pleased to notice that once you apply a new colour over an existing one (even if dried), they start blending immediately – a bit of water and brushwork will create a brand new colour, which was exactly what I wanted!

Below you’ll notice on this detail that I applied two colours on to the base of brown (smoothed out with water). Shadows (darker area) with cobalt blue (I never use black for shadows) and highlights with the second orange. Everything was then blended nicely with the waterbrush and it looks just like any other watercolour painting detail, you have to admit.

The other thing I noticed is that the colour can be partially lifted – the brown spots on the white area above are made just by using the waterbrush after I blended the three colours described above – so I was able to transfer a bit of colour. I also tried to remove the colour – this was only partially successful, but not surprising. The type of pigment watercolour brushpens use (non-toxic water based ink actually) is different from the watercolour paints and we all know there are many watercolour paints described as ‘staining’ (meaning they cannot be lifted completely after application).

Bottom line, my experience with “Vibrant Jungle” watercolour brushpens was really enjoyable and I will probably take them with me on my next ‘on location’ sketch.

You can purchase them here https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B075R9NNRV/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Vibrant Jungle just let me know that the first 30 sets will receive a 10% discount using the code MishuB10 at the checkout (from 2am tonight onwards). How amazing is this? I am a discount code!!  Use the link above for purchase and please let me know how you get on with them! I would love to hear about it.

In the meantime, here is the final sketch – made in ink pen and these lovely watercolour brushes.



I think there is a law somewhere that says if you are an artist or even one that tries to be one, you have to buy and try all the art supplies available at any time.

I know, is a stupid law, but it works just like biology – things happen without any control.

At least, that’s how I argue buying yet another set of watercolour paints. In my defence, this set of Kuretake pan paints is one that made me drool for more than a year now – so, considering the amount of self-restraint alone, I should be forgiven.

I always heard the Chinese and Japanese watercolours are exquisite – and them, being such incredible watercolourists, had all the premises to succed in this area.

Without further digressing, in a sunny weekend morning I set myself for a day of (mostly) drooling in a big art supplies shop. For a measly £14 (and some change) I bought this wonderful box with 12 pans.

As you can see, the Japanese are nothing but careful when it comes to packaging –the box has a lovely finish in an otherwise simple cardboard box. The surprise comes when opening it – the pans are HUGE! (although quite shallow) which allows using a seriously large brush.

As I said, there are 12 colours – all very glossy and with a moist texture that reminds me happily of my beloved “White Nights” watercolours. Just to have an idea, the Winsor Newton pans although glossy, they look hard, like bonbons and one has to rub the brush on them quite a lot to take a significant amount of paint. The Kuretake – and the “White Nights” – look more like a glossy caramel.

Filled with anticipation, I set up to do a colour chart and this is the result.

The colours look a lot different from what I’ve expected and much, much less pigmented than I would’ve liked. But I promised myself not to be jumping to any conclusions until I do a trial painting.

I started painting a generic hill landscape, painting in the exact same manner I do with my paints – which involves a lot of water, and mixing the colours directly on the paper.

All I can say is that I was NOT a happy bunny.

In order to achieve the most saturated tones, I had to paint with a brush that was basically dry and add many consecutive layers – in a painting that is mostly a sketch. So I might take a chance and say these paints don’t love the water as much as I do.

The colours are also not very happy – the burnt sienna (my favourite) is very diluted (even when almost no water is used) and the so called indigo is basically a blue with a cooler side.

The good things I discovered? Is incredibly easy to lift it off the paper, no matter how dry it is, and none of the paints stain. They have indeed that lovely texture of moist, gooey paint and the size of the pans make you believe you can actually use them for a big size painting. I wouldn’t risk it though – being moist and with so little pigment, in a shallow pan, means they run out very quickly.

Bottom line – I would probably not invest in a bigger set (although a set of 36 colours is only £25 on Amazon), but they might suit an illustrator or someone that would work with inks too, where the depth of tone can be achieved with ink not paint.

Hope this helped some other drooling mate and help him or her to make a decision about buying (or not) the Kuretake watercolours.

Until your next set of watercolours, take care and happy painting! 🙂


I am yet to meet an artist (or wanabees, they are the worst) that doesn’t revel in art supplies and whose idea of a heaven isn’t a large warehouse with 84,154 different colours of their preferred medium. I’ve been a sucker for all stationery and art supply for most of my life and I always had more pencils and pens than anything else in my house.

It’s then probably not a surprise for anyone that when I bought some new watercolour paints, I literally had to take a walk around the house in my mid-review because I was just too excited. Overdosed on paints.

Never done a proper review (whatever that means) for a watercolour brand, so if I missed some info or detail you might’ve been interested in, please let me know.



When these where introduced by Jackson’s Art Supply I have been very sceptical – mostly because I am just so happy with my ‘White Nights’ and I am yet to find a better choice for my money – but couldn’t pass the opportunity to try the mini-box of 6 paint tubes for a measly £6.

When one says Turner, immediately we think at the glorious landscapes, amazing watercolours as only a master can do. So, I was a bit taken aback when I realised that these particular 5ml tubes of paint (with the catchy name ‘Turner’) were actually made in Japan. As I am in complete awe of all that is Asian in watercolour painting, I was twice as excited to try them.

So here is it


Really unusual choice of colours (I always thought that a very small selection will give me just the basic colours) but I was utterly hooked. The turquoise is superb and the burnt sienna (my favourite) just as it should be. A bit watery when I squeezed the minuscule tube, but really pleasing feel when painting. To explain, not the paint was watery, but an odd transparent liquid that came out with it. Don’t know anything about the chemistry of paint-making, so apologies for my ineptitudes.

Played a bit with it and I quite liked the green and the purple colours I was able to concoct. Nice vibrant colours that remained unchanged in the two weeks or so.

As I never clean my palette, I was able to use them again a couple of weeks later and they behaved absolutely beautiful – and didn’t even fall off the palette like some other paints do when dry. I liked that.

I went on the website for a bit of window shopping and I drooled all over seeing how many other gorgeous colours there are (didn’t count them, but looked over 100, with options to buy in set or sepparately in tubes of 15ml). You can see them here.

So, for this particular set of paints, I would give them an 9 out of 10 – the 5ml are so diminutive that my chunky fingers spent a lot of time trying to put back the caps. Price is a bit (just a bit) spicy for the more financially challenged when buying a proper set, but a definite ‘BUY’ for the near future.


I can’t even translate the name of these paints, as much as I pride myself of handling well the English language – they don’t have a ‘proper’ name and ‘combinatul fondului plastic’ basically means ‘the painters factory’ (well, more or less). How did I get to buy these paints? Because I grew up with them – back then, these were the only paints we could buy, be it watercolours, gouaches, acrylics or oils. They do them all. I haven’t used them in ages, in all honesty, I didn’t even know if this factory still existed – but Romanian artists told me it does and they still produce a very good quality paints.

Happy childhood memories? Check. Friends from back home recommending it? Check. I should be biased. I am biased. But I still think I can be objective. Just bare with me.

Firstly, took a good look at the packaging – HUUGE 4cm in diameter round pans (the size is a plus, has to be). Minus point for the fact that there is no way to travel with these – being round, you can’t just put them in a box and go. Not to mention that I spent the better part of a half an hour trying to open the buggers. The blue (can’t remember which one, told you I have an issue with remembering the proper name of paints) even spilled over – which was a surprise, but a good one in a way. That meant these paints were moist! And everybody knows that a moist paint pan is a good pan.

Secondly, it was the label – showing an expiry date. Haven’t even thought about watercolours expiring, although it does make sense. Only two years though? Considering that most of them were produced last year (and some of them even two years ago) that means my window of ‘opportunity’ is really small. We shall see – since I almost got hurt opening them, I don’t see myself using them too often.

The entire colour choice available is probably around 40 colours (I might be wrong though) – I refrained myself to 13 (double for the orange) but the only negative thing I could say about them, I already said it. They are absolutely beautiful and work like a charm. Well, the burnt sienna is a bit on the cold side, but the rest are spot on. The China green is exactly like the ready made green I use in my ‘White Nights’ palette and the Ceruleum Blue is a dream. The colours remain bright and intense and honestly, I cannot praise them enough.


Too bad the packaging is a nightmare, their website is a joke – really, I bought them all blindly, no one bothered to add a pic with the colour next to the name – and I would probably need another room just to have them all spread and ready for me.

It’s sad really.

But overall, I have to say even if I would be accused of taking sides, the paints are a joy and truly a wonderful surprise for me. If I tell you that each of them (8ml pans) costs less than 50p you might be able to go past the bad points too. An overal 8 out 10 from me. You can buy them here. (no English translation though)

They also have the miniature version of these paints, in a tiny 5x7cm box which I used heavily in my university years.


So, after my (too) detailed review of these new paints, how do I look? Do I change my ‘White Nights’ to the new comers? Don’t think so, definitely not yet – have a generous supply of ‘White Nights’ and the comfort of not having to do anything, just open the box and paint… is hard to beat. As a comparisson, these are the colours of the three watercolour paints we discussed. In all honesty, not even I can truly differentiate them all – so it’s a work in progress. What I can say is that all of them have brilliant, bright and vibrant colours that look just as well few weeks down the line.


Hope you enjoyed my adventures with new paints. Don’t forget to tell me your discoveries or questions, I will be more than happy to discuss anything ‘artsy’ with you!