While in France I picked up this set of Caran d'Ache Museum watercolor pencils on a near whim - lately I have been working primarily in oil paints, however, I wasn't certain if oil paints purchased in France would be allowed for air travel. I had to get something from Paris, so.. why not these?
I'm so glad I gave these pencils a try and have been happily cranking out little watercolors every evening. Watercolor pencils allow artists to draw shapes and outlines and then apply water with a brush later to create shaded areas and layers of color. It involves far fewer surprises than painting with watercolor.
For this watercolor of a falcon, I used the Museum pencils exclusively - I loved their buttery feel and ability to glide over the toothed watercolor paper surface.
What I can say about the Museum pencils is... imagine comparing drugstore lipstick against Tom Ford lipstick. The Tom Ford lipstick retails at $50.00. The drugstore lipstick sells for $7.50 max. The $50 dollar lipstick does not wear out or fade, and putting it on feels amazing. The $7.50 lipstick is okay and looks good for a few minutes, but it has to be reapplied every few hours and it might have problematic chemicals in it that ultimately make lips less healthy.
Not everyone can just throw $50 at lipstick or $40 at 12 watercolor pencils, but the effects are similar - the coverage, pigmentation, application, feel, and last-ability of the Caran D'Ache Museum watercolor pencils feel like a million bucks.
I also tried out the Caran d'ache Supracolor pencil set of 80 pencils - this set offers colors from your wildest dreams at a slightly less massive price than a full set of the Museums:
I made the hummingbird artwork above with a mix of both the Museum watercolor pencils and the Supracolor pencils. The blue palette of the Museum pencils offered a nice outlining color, and the various purples and greens of the Supracolor set allowed for a full range of expressive colors.
(The hummingbirds are also made on Yupo paper, which you can read a bit more about here)
All in all I think a mix of these pencils is the way to go for creating beautiful and rich watercolor artwork. Though known as a difficult medium, watercolor provides an interesting challenge. The surprises that emerge from creation are always good surprises when mediums are high-quality.