Is this watercolor or is it ink?

Hi friends! Today I have a review fitting for Inktober. It’s a watercolor that behaves like an ink! Watch the video for the full review of Micador for Artists watercolor disks!

You can find the products I used here. You can scroll down and see all of the products I showcased today as well as others. The website can be a bit clunky so I will link to specific products as I mention them. Micador offers flat rate shipping worldwide but it is a bit pricey to ship if you are outside of Australia. It would worth it if there were a lot of things you wanted to order of if you were splitting an order with a friend.

  • Watercolor disks: Available in 12, 24 and 36 color sets from $18-$54
  • And 6 color seasonal sets for $9
  • These watercolors are not like other watercolors, they remind me more of Inktense by Derwent however they are more transparent than the inktense blocks. They are more similar to the inktense pencils. It is hard to list pros and cons as what is a pro to one person might be a disadvantage to another. I’ll list the attributes and you can decide for yourself:)

Pros & Cons:

  • *Extremely vibrant, saturates and transparent (with the exception of white, pearl, grey and light pink)
  • *Staining, layers and glazes very well. It does not lift well.
  • *Sets are compact and nest into one another with the lid being the mixing area. I recommend having an additional mixing palette.
  • *Since colors are very concentrated and transparent the pan color does not reflect the paint color so swatching is essential. I recommend making a pie-chart swatch and adhering it in the middle of each disk.
  • *These lightweight plastic palettes can slide around your workspace so I recommend working on a non-slip mat or tacking them down with poster putty so you don’t have to chase your paint around.

If you are looking for an ink-like super transparent paint in pan form I recommend these! Keep in mind there are duplications between sets so go for the 36 set if you want the best variety and no duplication.

The Rains watercolor paper was really nice, it reminded me very much of the Bee 140# CP cotton watercolor paper. It is available in several size packs, pads and sheets.

I also loved the Roymac Revolution synthetic watercolor brushes which performed more like a squirrel than a sable brush to me. Very absorbent and a dream to paint with.

These products may be most attractive to Australian consumers as they are shipped domestically and traditionally do not have access to the bounty of affordable supplies we have in America so I really encourage you to check them out if you are in AU, otherwise if you love any of these products they do ship worldwide, it’s just a bit pricey as with anything. Thanks to Micador for sending these products for review and thank you for watching! Happy crafting!

Review: NEW Premier by Nicole Watercolors from AC Moore

Hi freinds! Today we will look at the Premiere by Nicole watercolors available at AC Moore. Currently they are available in store only but they plan to stock them on their new shopping website soon. I went shopping with my friend Kathy yesterday and saw that these watercolors were on sale 4/$10 this week so if you have a shop locally and you are interested in them after seeing this review you might want to grab some on sale. The Menta brushes by Royal and Langnickel were also 4/$10 if you were looking to grab some.

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These paints are sold individually for $3.99 (regular retail price) and there is a nice selection of colors available. They also have a watercolor pad and brushes in the line. I would rate all of these products student grade and they are priced for the student or hobby market. BTW here are the swatching stamps I used to make the mixing chart. Watch the video below for my in-depth review.


  • Nice variety of colors available
  • Colors dry down well without cracking
  • Dry paint rewets nicely.
  • Glazing is possible


  • No pigment or lightfast information available
  • Some of the colors I received are quite “samey”
  • Some colors were a bit streaky
  • Some colors mixed got a bit chalky

Review: These paints initially reminded me a lot of the Cotman line from Winsor & Newton in the colors, texture and the way they dried down. At the end of the video I compared the exact colors from Premiere to the swatches of the full like of Cotman pans I have and the similarities are striking almost like they were made by the same company. Cotman paints retail for $4.89 a tube but cotman paints contain pigment info wich is a big plus in my book.

They also reminded me of Royal and Langnickel tube paint which is a steal however the R&L paint has an odor and I know some people are bothered by that even though it is faint. R&L paint will crack if dried down so I recommend using that fresh from the tube or adding a bit of glycerin in the wet paint.


These paints will perform very similarly to any other student grade paint however without pigment info and lightfast info available I would not recommend them over other brands that offer that information at the same price. If you want to get a few tubes to try I recommend sticking to a very limited palette of Permanent Rose,Intense blue, and Cadmium yellow as you will get very nice clean mixes and vibrant colors. I think those colors may be single pigment. I think that if you like Cotman watercolors you will like these as they are nearly identical but I’d wait for a sale which luckily ACMoore has often. The paper is quite smooth and reminds me of Canson XL. It is a wood pulp paper and very affordable (about $5.88 for a 9″x12″ pad of 30) I personally like it for rubber stamping and watercoloring those images, it is a great buy for that. The brushes are your standard golden taklon and a bit stiff for my liking in watercolor and will make you watercolor look more streaky. For the same money you can purchase the Menta brushes by Royal & Langnickel also sold at AC Moore. *Reminder both the Menta brushes and Premiere paints are on sale this week at ACM!

Thanks to ACMoore for sending these to me for review. They are very similar to Cotman and I’d give them a try if on sale and you are in need of student paint. Happy crafting!

Review: QoR Watercolors by Golden Paints

Hi friends! Today I am reviewing a line of watercolor by Golden who are famous for their acrylics. You can see swatches of the colors on their website, click on a swatch to see more detail. These QoR (pronounced core) watercolors use Aquazol instead of a traditional gum arabic binder but you can intermix these with other brands of watercolor with no problem. The paints rewet very well and dry down quickly and are super concentrated so I like to refill my travel palette with them because they are so slow wearing so I don’t have to refill often. Qor Watercolors can be purchased in 11ml tubes individually or in sets containing 6-24 5ml tubes. Since they are so slow wearing Irecommend starting with a intro set with the 24 set being the best value. They also just came out with a 12 half pan travel set that my want monster has his eyes on LOL! Watch the review for more info and a demo!


  • great flow
  • Dryes down hard but rewets easily
  • clean vibrant color
  • the tin the sets come in are great for storing your paints and using as a palette
  • Price is affordable in sets


  • The 11ml tubes that are available individually are a bit pricey but the paint goes a long way so it is about the same as other artist grade colors. I bought the sets for this reason.

Qor Watercolors  are wonderful artist grade paints, I personally purchased all 3 intro sets of 6 and the 24 set and Golden sent me 6 large tubes of my choosing. If you want to start with a small set that I feel represents the uniqueness of the line try the high chroma set, the intense colors will knock your socks off! Also there is no duplication in colors in any of the 6 tube sets so you can build your collection slowly over time. Affiliate links used in this review. Thanks for watching and til next time happy crafting!




Review: Grumbacher Academy Watercolors

Hi friends! Today I am reviewing a paint which might be the best student watercolors on the market in my opinion: Grumbacher Academy. I have had many of these colors in my stash for over a decade bought on clearance and I grabbed a couple extra to do the review. Watch the video to see how they fared.


Price: $3-$5 per tube
good transparency
high pigment load
stable artist pigments used
rewets well when dry in palette

Can’t think of any:)

I don’t want to think that if you have watercolors you like that you need to run out and get these two. I still find them quite comparable to Van Gogh and my beloved Cotmans. I also recommend Prima and Koi (but I wish I could know what pigments are in them) and Sonnet (I know the pigments and some are shady but most are good!) 😉  Mostly I want you to be able to make informed decisions and not waste money on junk. Since we all live in different countries with different products available affordably I want to help as many people as I can.

Programming note: The next two weeks are a bit crazy, the kids have short school weeks and I have some videos I am working on for you that might take a bit longer to produce than usual so if there is a day without a video that is why:) Luckily I have over 1400 videos in my archive if you need a crafty fix. I have them organized by type on my playlist page so poke around and find something new to you! Thanks so much for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Roses in Watercolor & Van Gogh Paint Review!

Hi friends! I have two videos for you today! A review of inexpensive (and much requested) Van Gogh watercolors and a demo of me using them.


First the review. I have had a lot of requests for this paint so when I saw a good buy on it I bought a few tubes. You can see how they fared in this review.


I found them to be very comparable to the Winsor & Newton Cotman paints which I reviewed here. The price is about the same as cotmans and the tubes are a bit larger. I paid $2.50 for each 10ml tube but the list price is $4.80 vs $4.49 for a 8ml tube of Cotman. Shop around because you can find both brands for less.


Now let’s see them in action! Watch this video of me painting 3 roses.

Bottom line: These are nice paints and easy on the wallet. They are student quality so you need more paint than you would artist quality so you will use it up faster but you can get clean, bright mixes and the pigments the line uses are tried and true. I would recommend this to anyone starting out in watercolor or someone who wants a less expensive brand to experiment with. The lightfast rating on this paint are pretty good too so if you make a masterpiece it will last:) I hope you found this review helpful! Happy crafting!

My Thoughts on Reviews {…and a review…}

Hi friends! I want to start off tonight voicing an opinion (that’s what the internet is for right? LOL!) I have had a few people complain about the fact that I, The Frugal Crafter, review products. I totally understand why it would rub some people the wrong way if they are coming to my blog for thrifty ideas and a review makes them want to spend. That is not my intention. I get requests on a daily basis from viewers to review products, literally hundreds of requests a year, because they want to know if a product is worth buying before they spend their hard-earned money on it. That is why I review products. That and I am honestly curious about how they perform and compare. I also realize that my audience is all over the globe and a product that is affordable and easy to find one place may be impossible to get somewhere else. I live in the USA so it is fairly easy for me to obtain products. Maybe you can’t get M Graham watercolors so you want to know if Winsor & Newton is as good or maybe a new brand came out and is on sale so you want to know if it is decent. This is why I do reviews. Sometimes I buy the product and other times I am given a sample from a company. I ALWAYS let you know if I am given a product for free so you can factor that in your judgement on how much or little weight to give my review (although you will always get my honest opinion.) And I do not take payment for reviewing a product however I may use an affiliate link if a company I am affiliated with sells it. Again, I make that obvious too. I appreciate when other artists review products especially if it is someone who works in a  similar style because I can get an idea of how useful a supply would or would not be for me. I never want you to think that you need to go buy anything I give a positive review on, rather I want the reviews to be there in case you are considering a purchase that you can compare items and see if it is something you really need or not. It is also helpful to know if two products are indistinguishable from one another so you don’t buy duplicates. You might not agree with my reviews but you will always get my honest opinion. One piece of advise I will give anyone whether you are a marker artist, watercolors or pencil artist is to try a couple of tubes, pencils or markers from each brand (get different colors though so it is not a waste!) and see what works best for you before going “whole hog” on a set. That’s my opinion and as always I welcome yours:)


Now on to the review of Mijello Mission Gold Class (Professional) and Mijello Mission Silver Class (Student) pan watercolor sets. These sets were sent to me by Amazon seller Crush On because they appreciated the review I did on the Mission Gold 24 pure pigment tube set that I purchased last month. I have not seen the silver class (student line) used and I think in some countries it is vastly cheaper than the professional line so I am reviewing it.

Here are the sets I reviewed:
Mission Gold Perfect Pan 24 Set:
Price: $108 on Amazon (retail $189)
24 colors equivalent to 5-6ml tube paint per pan
Packaged in a gold bulletproof glass palette (it is really a type of plastic)
Artist Quality

Mijello Silver Class pan watercolors:
Price $68 (could not find a regular retail price)
20 pans each with the equivalent of 12ml tube paint per pan
Comes in a large palette with plenty of mixing room, also keep the clear plastic packaging as it can be flipped over and serves as divided mixing areas.

I have to say I am impressed with the Mijello Mission Silver Class paint, just be aware that some of the colors are not as lightfast as the artists grade (perhaps due to fillers?) but they mix cleanly and seem as pigmented as their artists counterparts.

In all honestly tho, I would consider the pure pigment set by Mijello gold class because I believe all of the colors can be made from those artist grade pigments. I personally purchased these a couple of weeks ago and love them! They are also cheaper than the Mission gold perfect pans and you get more paint.

And I don’t have this set but many of my viewers have said they love it, the Mission Gold set of 36 with palette, it is cheaper than the silver class paint set but you actually get the equivalent of 80 ml less paint, on the other hand artist quality paint theoretically will go farther.

Like I said I was given these two palettes as a gift from the Amazon seller Crush On from whom I purchased my pure pigment set. The mission gold paints were one of the most requested products to review and I am glad I could able to show you a couple more options. I hope you found this review helpful! If there is a product you would like reviewed let me know in the comments. I base my reviews on most requested items. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Review: Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolors

Hi friends! Remember when I was sick during my birthday and I mentioned some misspent time watercolor shopping online? Well, the first of my crafty loot has arrived, my set of Mijello Mission Gold watercolors. I had been hearing about these paints a lot lately because there is a very popular set of 36 colors with a palette that had been going for $57 on amazon (regular $180-$285 on sale at art supply websites) and I was quite tempted to buy them but I did not like the fact that most of the colors were mixed pigments and I prefer single pigment paints due to the fact that they are more vivid and mix well without becoming muddy. A friend had sent me a tube of Peacock Blue (thanks Jacqueline!) and the color was really pretty and vibrant but when I went to mix it with other colors it was very weak. It did not make mud but the color was weaker than the others I mixed it with. So I decided that I would pass on the tempting set. But then I saw that they offered a set of 24 pure pigment colors in larger 15ml tubes for $86 and I decided to take the plunge. The cold medicine made me do it, but I am glad I did!


The 36 set with a palette for $57 that most crafters had been buying had either 5 or 7ml tubes of paint, I heard it both ways and the listing did not specify which, even if the tubes were 7ml the pure pigment set of 24 15ml tubes only worked out to a few cents more per 7ml (not counting the black and white freebies that came with the set.) I feel that a single pigment color is more versatile and more valuable than a mixed pigment color so I was happy to pay the extra. That said, if you don’t plan on doing much mixing the 36 color set is fine. I asked folks on YouTube what they thought of the colors in the 36 color set and my viewers were pleased with the quality. I only had the one tube of mixed colors and it is not fair to judge a line on one tube.

If you want my full review and to see the paints in action watch the video!

Now let’s break it down:

  • No cadmium pigments are used (this can be a plus or a minus, cadmium is toxic)
  • Excellent/Very Good lightfastness across all pure pigment colors
  • Rewets well
  • Lots of reds in the kit, few greens so you will need to mix, the amount of reds might be wasteful to a landscape painters
  • Price: $86 on Amazon but individually the tubes for $15-$30 a pop! This set would cost over $500 if bought open stock at MSRP or over $300 o sale at the major online stores. PS I am not an amazon affiliate so click on an amazon link from another favorite blogger and help support their content:)
  • 15ml is a large tube for watercolor, it will take a while to use them up and you can replace colors as you use them up (however it might be cheaper to just re-buy the set if the price stays low.

I did notice that they relisted this set on amazon for $88 and included a palette with it, I kinda wish I waited for the palette but I have my eye on a Steven Quiller palette for these, I have always wanted one:)

So far I am very pleased with these paints and I look forward to painting more with them. If you have used these or any other Mijello sets and want to rate them in the comments below it would be helpful to fellow readers. I also wanted to let you know that I was not asked to do this review or compensated for it:) I will share a painting done with this set soon, til then, happy crafting!

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