Review of Sonnet Watercolors from Russia

Hi friends! I had a few readers ask me to review Sonnet watercolors. I had never heard of them so I did some research and found a seller on ETSY who had the Sonnet set of 24 full pans for $20 as well as metallic individual pans for $3.45 as well as White Knight watercolors for the same price. I was intrigued. I have some Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and really like them and I heard-tell that the Yarka is the same as the White Knights watercolors (different names for European and American markets) and those are made from the same company (Nevskaya Palitra) as the Sonnets so I decided to give them a whirl.


See how the perform in my demo and review, please don’t judge the paints by the scary rose I painted at the end LOL!


First impressions:

  • Rich, vivid color, released immediately upon wetting, good flow
  • Great price $20 for 24 full pans
  • Most colors had high lightfast ratings

They held up well to my Yarka St. Petersburg colors (also Russian and I reckon from the same company as Sonnet and White Knits because “St Petersburg” is embossed on the bottom of the pans of both.)

I wonder if the Sonnet might be the student grade of the Yarka or White nights as they are much cheaper. Actually I am pretty sure this is true.🙂 The texture of the paint is very uniform in the Sonnet where the Yarka paints had a bit more “character” between colors, some granulate and have unique qualities where as the Sonnets are more uniform. I really think the Sonnet paints are the student line of Yarka/White Knights but they are a darn good student line!

Really, for $20 you can’t beat it. They also have the individual full pans of White Knights (professional) for $3.45 which is less than the price half pans of western watercolors. I have not used the White Knights but supposedly they are the same as Yarka St. Petersburg. I found these paints from Etsy seller Pro Art Supplies and was not compensated for my review. I believe they are the American distributor of White Knights and Sonnet watercolors.


What do you think of these budget paints? Was the review helpful? Let me know in the comments below and if there is a product you would like to see me review let me know and I will try to make it happen. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

19 Responses

  1. Very interesting Lindsay. Who knew we could get Russian paints?!! I love when you find these kind of things. By any chance have you come across Russian rubber stamps?


  2. Since I am originally from Latvia, I’ve been using St. Petersburg watercolors whenever I am able to buy them and for some 45 years. There is simply no comparison to many other brands which are available in Canada. “White nights” (because St. Petersburg, a city of White Nights, has practically daylight all 24 hours in summer due to its location close to polar circle) are extra fine artist grade paints, “Sonnet” is artist grade, as well. I don’t think that particular plant even makes any student grade paints. These are natural pigments, and paints are created using a pouring technique which sort of allows them to stay half-moist, therefore, activation takes no time. Any St. Petersburg paints have much more vibrancy and transparency than other brands. The best feature is they make no mud because pigments are so clean. It’s possible to mix lots of colors which otherwise don’t seem to be mixing well. Their Kolinsky brushes are exclusive, as well, I just don’t have any at the moment. I would say you simply got a very good deal, Sonnet is not a budget paint set. Russian Ruble must be very low compared to US dollar. I paid something 30 EUR for such set in Latvia, that would be some $45 Canadian, in the UK they are also much more than 20 USD, so you should be really happy. I am, too, I’m buying from a good supplier in Latvia because there are fake Russian watercolor sets available also. Brilliant colors, they create excellent paintings.


  3. Lindsey… Can you tell us if you prefer to use pan paints or tube paints when you do water colors?… I’m sure it depends also on the subject you are painting… I recently saw migella mission gold sets ( on Amazon).. But they looked like they were tubes of color put on a large palette lid not actually pan paints…which is better?.. Could you tell us how to use the tubes of paint ( i.e. Do they dry out when left in the pan, etc… Thank you … Love love your work!!!… Pamela


    • When I took watercolor classes, we used tube paint and put it in sectioned plastic container with a lid. This way you are creating your own pan watercolor set when it drys out. It works great and is easily refilled with your tube paint. I swatched it out on paper .and put the colors on the inside of the lid. When I opened the lid I could see the corresponding colors. No waste of paint this way. We also used it fresh from the tube if we wanted to.
      Hope this helps.


      • I do that for my large in studio palettes as tubes are easier to obtain in the USA.


      • Thank you, Gigi.. Yes that does help!… That was what I guess I was seeing in that migella golden mission paint set…but it confused me cause I thought it was pan paints.. Pamela


    • I like them both but I use my tubes as pans as I prefer to work from the dry pant and reconstitute it as needed, no waster that way! It is personal preference which kind of paint you use. They are the same for all intent and purposes:)


      • THANK YOU… Lindsey… I really appreciate your help… And your many talents!!!.. Pamela…👍🏻


  4. Great review.


  5. Thanks for this review. The turner watercolors that you often mention are not in my budget. I have purchased Reeves tube paints and I’m not pleased with the colors. I think I will order this set. Thanks! Your rose looks a heck of a lot better than mine. The best thing I have learned from you is to STOP fussing—-walk away—-have a cup of tea and go back to your painting later and sure enough I can then fix my mistakes. Thanks, Sue in humid DE today


  6. You are such a delight! This was a fun tutorial & I appreciate the time you took before the video with the color charts. Loved seeing the use of actual paints…you do an awesome job!! Thanks so very much💗


  7. Thanks so much for this review Lindsay. All I can say for $20 is wow! The colors are very vivid and bright. I actually do have an older Yarka pan set which I’ve really enjoyed. I really like how the Sonnet set was so fluid and rewet so easily. And like you said the only drawback is that it doesn’t come with a palette, but for $20 I think it’s a great buy. Thanks for sharing this with us! Sharon


  8. I think our minds help us remember things by attaching cultural references. I had heard that “White Nights” had some relation with St. Petersburg, Russia, so I checked it out on Wikipedia and found this: “The White Nights are a kind of all-night arts festival held in many cities in the summer. The original festival is the White Nights Festival held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The white nights is the name given in areas of high latitude to the weeks around the summer solstice in June during which sunsets are late, sunrises are early and darkness is never complete. In Saint Petersburg, the Sun does not set until after 10 p.m., and the twilight lasts almost all night.” I don’t have a bucket list, but I do want to make it to the Arctic Circle for “Midsummer” (which is the first day of summer, and that I don’t understand) in Sweden some year. Maybe I can visit Russia the same summer.


    • good point! I never put that together, I thought “knights” like knights of the round table and England (the target market) LOL!


  9. So guess what? Your Etsy seller is now 2.5 weeks out for delivery due to your UTube, oh, I am sure she is thrilled! She sold out!! Don’t ya love it when you can increase someone’s business like that??? Great job Lindsay!


  10. Thanks! This is helpful. I do love Yarka…


  11. Hi!

    Good to know about them watercolors from the “White Nights”-label…I may try them out for the future courtesy of your blog! Now, I wonder…: Have you ever tried out a watercolor-brand from “Daniel Smith” (, and if you haven’t; would you like to do a review of it? Would be darn helpful if you could dish out your opinion of it. Thanks in advance, whether you decide to or not.


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