Art Materials, Journal, Traditional Art

Peerless Watercolor First Impressions

I’ve been super obsessed with watercolor lately and I’ve been thinking about art materials nearly every waking moment when I’m not at work. Going through videos on YouTube, I stumbled upon this interesting thing called the Nicholson’s Peerless Transparent Watercolor

It’s basically a set of coated cardstock-like paper originally used to color-grade films. Apparently it is long-lasting and extremely pigmented. I bought a pack of 40 colors from called the “Bonus Pak”.  

Due to their popularity as a watercolor medium nowadays, people have been making their own palettes using cut-up portions of these Peerless papers. They cut them into 1-inch squares and stick them on watercolor paper folded to look like a little booklet.

I made my own as well and found that it takes a bit of time to cut out all 40 colors, but once you’ve made your palette, it looks super cute! #PatienceIsAVirtue

As you can see, I placed a piece of laminating film in the middle to prevent color mixing when the palette is closed. (Most people use acetate but this was what I had.) It’s important to swatch these since the colors can be starkly different from how they look on the card. Some of them even have these unique patterns. I kind of felt bad wetting them lol.

The palette I made is a little larger than my 8 x 5-inch “traveler’s notebook”, which can be a little annoying when I put it in my bag and it gets folded at the corners, but that’s my fault.

To use this, all you have to do is go in with a wet brush. Just touch your wet brush to the square of color and the pigment immediately attaches itself onto the brush. Here’s the very first thing I made using the Peerless watercolor palette:

This is the cover of the Peerless palette I made for my mother. As you can see, the colors are super vibrant. These colors work really well for botanicals in my opinion, but I think it makes some nice washes too. 

The colors behave more like thin ink rather than creamy watercolor so it doesn’t blend as smoothly as normal watercolor. If you don’t help it along with a bit more water and your brush, you can see these solid lines where the colors meet.

I made another cover, this time for my own palette:

I love how the bloomed rose turned out thanks to the shades of orange in this palette! For the rosebud, I used wet on wet to get a smoother yellow-pink blend on the petals. While wet, I dropped a bit of yellow and a bit of pink in certain areas and then used my brush to mix them.

Here’s how the Peerless cards look now that I’ve used them a bit more:

You might think that I’m playing favorites here but I actually found that some colors are more pigmented than others. You can more easily pick up the blues and violets compared to the greens. The reds, yellows, and oranges also seem to have stronger pigments than the browns.

I had to really get into my Warm Sepia card because it didn’t come out as strong as I wanted it to. I’ve hit the back of the card on some of the colors because I insist on picking pigment up from the same spot until I wear it out lol. The strength of the color is not the same if you dab your brush on a used area obviously.

I also used quite a bit of the Gamboge Yellow for the background wash of my palette cover and when I realized it took too much attention off the rest of the elements I decided to lift some of the color off. It’s not hard to lift but it leaves a strong stain.

My experience with Peerless Watercolors are mostly positive, but I honestly don’t think it’s enough as a main watercolor palette. They will however complement your normal watercolor palette well since most normal watercolors don’t possess the extra vibrance some of these Peerless colors do. These colors can be used to brighten up details to make them jump. 

These Peerless colors are fun to use for coloring books and also simple artworks like the ones I made. I think they’re more suited for painting directly from the square and I decided not to do much mixing with these since I didn’t want to dilute the vibrance of the colors in any way. The hues available are great for layering/glazing anyway. I’m looking forward to using these for botanical studies I plan to do.


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