JetPens Watercolor Starter Kit: A Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

I’ve always been fascinated by watercolors and the people who can paint with them. I love seeing Hobonichi and Traveler’s Notebook pages that people have done in watercolor and envisioned myself one day doing the same. Although I may never get to the point where I can record every day using watercolor and washi tape, I wanted to give watercolors a try.

JetPens has a terrific watercolor starter kit for $36.00. It includes a Maruman New Soho Series Sketchpad, a Pentel Aquash water brush, a black Sakura Pigma Micron pen, a white Uni-ball Signo Broad gel pen, a 3H Uni Mitsubishi 9000 pencil (I never used this), and a set of Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors..

I sat down one morning and began painting. I started with my usual horse picture (that’s one thing I can sort of reliably draw, though this one’s legs are a bit long).

Then I did a small pumpkin that was decorating our dining room table.

Next I made a rather sad attempt at an empty coffee mug.

Then I painted what I think is a pretty darn good rendition of an antique vase.

And finally, I painted one of our kitties, Hermione.

I must say I’m impressed with this kit. The paper works reasonably well, though it does curl up after being wet. Maybe all paper does that with watercolors, I don’t know.

You can see the paper curled slightly.

You can see the paper curled slightly.

The Sakura Pigma pen is terrific for the base drawing, and it definitely doesn’t smudge when wet.

The Pentel water brush is adequate, though I also used a bowl of water to rinse the brush out between colors. I’m sure, if I continue this watercolor thing, I’ll want to buy some nicer brushes. But for now, this one works.

I absolutely love the vivid colors of the Kuretake set. Usually, when I think of watercolors, I think pastel. But I really like the dark reds, browns, blues, and greens in this collection. The black is a true black, and the white is a great addition for lightening colors or adding subtle highlights.

I used the Uniball Signo for stronger highlighting (and whiskers) and for covering up mistakes.

I highly recommend this set for anyone who wants to try their hand at watercolors. I’m planning on buying The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook to help me learn better techniques. There’s something incredibly soothing about painting with watercolors–it’s like meditating with a brush.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on November 4, 2016 and filed under Watercolor.