Pentel Watercolors Review – Not As Good As I Thought

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Masha Eretnova

I was traveling and walked into a local art store. I saw a lot of paints and colored pencils from Pentel and thought to myself that I’d never heard of this brand!

And it looked suspiciously cheap too.

When I was about to walk by, I kept thinking, how often do we overlook some art supplies because they seem cheap, unknown, or less promoted?

So I decided to test the paint and I’ll share my findings in this Pentel Watercolor review.

Pentel Watercolor Review
Pentel a Watercolor set I got

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Pentel Watercolors Characteristics

Pentel paints are extremely affordable yet are great for complete beginners, kids, and watercolor as a hobby.

Once a Japanese brand, they are now produced in Taiwan and mostly distributed and popular in South East Asia.

I’ve tried to google the two websites mentioned on the paint box, but both expired πŸ™

It is worth mentioning that the watercolors by Pentel Arts also come in a 24-color set and the brand also has a travel watercolor brush which is super convenient.

Pentel Arts Water Colors, Assorted, 5ml Tubes, 12 Color Set (WFRS-12)
  • Rich colors spread and blend easily to create dramatic to subtle hues
  • Dries evenly, resists fading and will not crack or flake
  • Plastic tube is designed to allow every last drop of paint to be used
  • Great to use in conjunction with oil pastels and color pencils
  • Ideal for glazing without turning “muddy”

My Pentel Watercolor Review

  1. Coverage 8/10
  2. Consistency 8/10
  3. Colors 6/10
  4. Opacity 10/10
  5. The dry time and finish are 6/10
  6. Tubes 5/10
  7. Price 10/10

Total: 7.5 / 10

A quick note on the packaging.

There are two packages with quite different tubes and from my research, these two packages differ in colors a bit and may differ in quality.

I have this package with simple tubes with color names:

pentel Watercolors Review

There is also this packaging. It comes with tubes with nothing on them, different tubes design, and also purple instead of warm yellow

Read also: Pentel Oil Pastels Review [12 Colors Set] Great Travel Oil Pastels


Pentel Watercolor 12 colors set comes with the following colors:

  1. White
  2. Yellow
  3. Lemon Yellow
  4. Yellow Green
  5. Viridian
  6. Cobalt Blue
  7. Prussian Blue
  8. Red
  9. Vermillion
  10. Brown 
  11. Yellow Ochre
  12. Black
Pentel Watercolor Review colors
Swatches of Pentel watercolors I made. From opaque to watered-down.

I’m not sure if I like all colors. For my personal preferences, Vermilion is too orange, and both blues are quite dark. I would prefer a lighter blue. All colors seemed a bit dull to me.

I saw someone mention that the Pentel watercolors are hard to rewet, I cannot agree with this.

I left some paints on paper sitting for 5 days and I retweeted them just with a touch of a wet brush. So definitely, easy to rewet.


Pentel Watercolor Review  consistency
How Pentel watercolors look directly from the tube

I’ve read some reviews online and I saw people mentioning that binder and pigment were divided in the tube and binder was leaking out first.

I saw it being mentioned for another type of packaging also. I had no issues with separated or runny paint.

The paint seems to be creamy and soft.


Pentel Watercolor Review coverage
Coverage with warm yellow (wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet) and two blue colors wet-on-dry

Coverage is good, smooth, and easy.

However, when the painting is dried I think the coverage seems less even

Finish and drying time

Pentel Watercolor Review drying
Dry pentel watercolor on top, still wet (same color) at the bottom.

Drying time depends on home much water you used.

Wet-on-wet dry up to a few minutes. Wet-on-dry application dries almost immediately.

Colors dry to a duller, slightly darker, matte, smooth finish.


Pentel Watercolor Review opacity
Pentel watercolor opacity

As watercolors in general Pentel watercolor is more transparent. However Prussian blue if applied with less water can be quite opaque, as well as white.

The colors for the opacity swatch didn’t lift each other which means you can layer Pentel watercolor without creating mud.


Pentel Watercolor Review tubes
I’m holding two tubes of Pentel watercolors: warm yellow and yellow-green.

All colors come in 5 ml plastic tubes with a screw-on lid with a bit of ventilation.

After a rebranding, the tubes were downgraded from metal tubes to plastic ones. Metal tubes are often used for professional paints and certainly are more expensive to produce, so I think the brand decided to cut costs.

Another thing is that there is no membrane. When you buy the paint in tubes, often your first use starts with ripping off the membrane that was keeping the tube airtight. Maybe Pentel has a special lid design, but there is no such protective membrane.

Lastly, 5 ml is good for kids, students, and occasional hobby painting but it wouldn’t be a good size for the long run.

Pentel Watercolor Price

The Pentel watercolor is very affordable, on Amazon it costs only around $11, but as I said the paint is popular in SEA, where it costs much cheaper.

I bought it in Thailand for only 186 baht (roughly $5.4), I saw the prices for pentel watercolor in Sri Lanka being closer to American – around 7 to 10 dollars. In the Philippines, you could get the paint for as low as $3.5.

It is indeed a cheap watercolor paint.

Performance Test

how to use pentel watercolor
My setup to use Pentel watercolors

I think Pentel watercolors can be somehow a travel paint set. I bought them while traveling and I’m going to use them miles away from all my art supplies. I only have my Sakura brush pen with me and I bought some small-sized Canson watercolor papers.

You need to get some paper towels or a regular old towel, and a separate jar with water if you are working with regular brushes.

My Sakura watercolor paintbrush holds water inside πŸ™‚

Step 1 (Optional) – Sketch

With watercolors, you don’t have to sketch. Especially if you are painting loose flowers or loose landscapes. Any pencil will be visible through watercolor. But it may be your intention. For ex., for portraits painters often leave pencil lines.

Step 2 – Paint light areas

how to use pentel watercolor
how to use pentel watercolor

Working with watercolors we move from light to dark, unlike acrylics or gouache, meaning we first paint everything that is transparent and has very light colors.

Step 3 – Paint dark areas

how to use pentel watercolor
I’m adding trees with a more opaque application of the green color

Only when light areas are dry we are adding accents, shades, and everything that is dark.

Step 4 (Optional) – Adding mixed media

When the painting is done, we can add accents and highlights, for example, stars, with pastels, acrylic paint, markers, or brush pens. You can add small details nicely without interfering with watercolors.

how to use pentel watercolor
I’ve added some birds with a brush pen


how to use pentel watercolor
I painted some loose landscape

Painting with Pentel watercolors is overall easy, I think they are a bit blocky, the water control is not perfect, and the colors dry duller than they are wet. The colors seem bright when wet. But overall, decent easy paints for beginners.

I also have to test them again as this time I noticed that blending and mixing colors is a problem. Maybe it was just my mistake and my first time using the Pentel brand.

My Verdict

Pentel watercolor is good only for kids, students, and complete beginners adults from the very start with watercolor. It is not a good choice for professional artists or someone who already mastered different watercolor techniques and wants to progress.

You will see a big difference between professional watercolors and Pentel.

Have you tried Pentel? What were your thoughts?

Last update on 2024-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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