Painting with honey watercolors, Part II

One thing about being an artist – your opinions will change. You’ll have your favorites. And something else will come along and you’ll end up liking it even better.

We are constantly evolving. Constantly. All of us.

Not too long ago, I wrote an article on how important is watercolor paint brand. Well, I’ve already changed my opinion since then.

This shit will happen to us. We’ll like something. And like something else just as much. Then, suddenly fall in love with something and realize those two previous things just weren’t as good.

I now like Sennelier watercolors more than Daniel Smith, Winsor and Newton, or Blick’s artist brand. Just my personal opinion, but one formed after serious time spent painting.

Smells better

I’m probably one of the only people you’ll ever meet who even cares about this one. Regardless, I’ll say it anyways. As I’ve previously discussed, I’m nearly blind and it’s made my other senses way more sensitive. I absolutely love the smell of both Sennelier watercolors and M Graham gouaches, both made with honey.

You use way less paint

I ended up getting a Sennelier travel set. They come in smaller tubes than I’m used to buying.

But that’s OK.

I’m no scientist, but I’m obviously using less paint when using honey based watercolors. These tubes are going to last much longer than the non-honey based watercolor paints.

This is a good thing since I’m painting constantly. Sure, they cost more. But considering how well they spread, I have a feeling the cost is really a wash.

Mixes easier

I’m one of the rare watercolor artists who really don’t mix that much. The only time I’m mixing a lot is when I get my skin tones with watercolors.

That said, I made a new batch of skin tones. And you know what? Super easy to mix! Way easier than the other paints I’ve used.

After five layers of paint - all Sennelier watercolors
After five layers of paint – all Sennelier watercolors

Learning curve

Well, not everything is a-ok. It’s a bit of a learning curve to use these honey based paints. I’m used to using the other ones and the washes are a bit different. The mixes are a bit different.

How I paint skin tones is a bit different as well. The burnt sienna really pops through. I do something that you’re not supposed to do with watercolor. You’re supposed to paint light to dark. Well, for layer five, I do a burnt sienna layer. Then paint my skin tone layer over that layer twice (for a total of seven layers).

The burnt sienna really shows through with the honey watercolors. Way more than when I used the non-honey watercolors.

As I’ve mentioned – a bit of a learning curve. I simply learned to use less burnt sienna with the honey watercolors then I’ll use with the non-honey watercolors.

Also, you’re going to have to clean your brush a little bit better. You know how you swirl it around in your jar? Well, expect to do it a bit longer. Not too much. But it’s noticeable. This for me is by no means a deal breaker. I don’t mind at all.


Daniel Smith wins with total colors. I’m still going to buy DS’s luminescent watercolors. I especially love that blue one that I always use. It’s great for mermaid tail blends and for eye colors. Nothing like luminescent blue eyes in my fantasy world pinup girls.

I’ve heard some people say that the honey based paints are bolder. Honestly? Hard to say. Daniel Smith has some bold colors as well. Winsor and Newton appear more subdued and old fashioned to me. I do love those both though for those specific reasons. Sometimes you want bold. Sometimes you want subdued.

So honestly, I don’t really have a preference when it comes to colors.

What wins me over is I’m just having so much fun with these. It’s like when I got a Paul Reed Smith guitar. I loved my Ibanez and my Schecter already. But the PRS was just better. Why? Because of intangibles.

You may look at the intangibles I’ve listed and think I’m off my rocker. That’s totally fine. I may be nuts. But, I do make some pretty good pinups.

Selene's Rangers - Guardians of the Moon
Selene’s Rangers – Guardians of the Moon

This is Allie in all three poses. Mostly Sennelier watercolors and M Graham gouaches, but with Daniel Smith’s Moonglow for the moon (I love that color) and Daniel Smith’s luminescent paints for a lot of the rocket. I also use Daniel Smith’s Rose of Ultramarine for their eye shadow. I’m really fond of that color.

By Roman

Pinup Artist. Composer. Writer.

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