Budget Watercolor Sets for Art Journaling and Urban Sketching

I have long had a fascination with budget friendly art materials. I have always liked getting the best bang for my buck.

I reviewed the Royal & Langnickel FlipKit. Which I now and forever will call the flippy floppy watercolors. The Flippy Floppy is a set that I continue to reach for despite the fact that I hate the flippiness of it. The flip out pans are annoying and when wet, smear paint on the bottom of the Flippy Floppy set up and then all over my hands. Annoying. Yet the colors are nice- they rewet easily and are vibrant and act as watercolors should.

Now the Flippy Floppy kit is a white labeled set up from a factory in China. And as such if you look for other brands that look like this set, you’ll find a variety of prices and options. Buy the best priced option.

White label factories make an item and rebrand or repackage that item for whoever orders them. An example. The place where I used to work had white label ice cream. Customers used to complain that this company was ripping off Ben & Jerry’s because the flavors were literally the same. What they didn’t know was that B&J made that company’s store brand ice cream. They contracted with B&J to make the ice cream but with few inclusions. So less banana, less chocolate chunks, and even less chocolate covered cherries. You get the picture.

Another reviewer on YouTube called up a bunch of the companies and found that these are all made in the same factory in China. Better brands have more pigment and fewer fillers.

Anyway, you can find the video review of the Flippy Floppy set up here:

I just put up a review of the Mei Liang 48 color watercolor set. Mine was in the purple box and came bundled with a water brush. 12 of the 48 colors are shimmery or metallic. These colors are nice but I will never use them except for art journaling and on occasion. The other 36 colors are standard colors for a set of that size.

I see the usefulness of a large watercolor set as mainly for beginners. Especially those who are interested in en plein air or urban sketching. This lets you test out 36 colors on the go and see which colors are right for you. You can figure out what you can mix wit what colors and which colors you are drawn to.

This is also a great set of colors for art journaling- the colors are vibrant and easy to use, they give you a huge range of colors that let you really decide what colors are going to be perfect in your art journal.

These colors are nice too, vibrant and very little filler. They move as each of the colors should on the page.

The tin is thin and easily dented but sturdy enough to protect the colors.

Anyway, check out my video on them here:

There are some well known brands that likely use the same factories for their watercolors. A way to tell (though not definitively) is to look at the molded plastic pieces and how the paint is presented. A well known art journaler brand has clearly switched to a new factory. the reviews on their new colors are much less favorable than their old version.