Product name: Sakura XNCW-24N 24-Piece Koi Assorted Water Colors Field Sketch Set & Brush
Company name: Sakura – Koi
Type of product: 24 piece watercolor paint portable field set
Guarantee: Manufacturer’s warranty available upon request
My review: 7/10
Who is Sakura & what do they do?
Sakura is an art supply company with a long and surprising history. Believe it or not, they’ve been around since 1921! They started out by manufacturing crayons but didn’t even come close to stopping there – they’ve been inventing things ever since.
They’re well known for coming out with the very first set of oil pastels because they didn’t like the way most crayons didn’t mix well with each other. Also, they invented the first gel-based pens not to mention their more recent invention – the 3-D ink pens that can be used to decorate phone cases and such.
Since then, they’ve expanded into a very reputable, well-trusted company known for their innovativeness. What I like about this company is you can get their stuff for extremely reasonable prices if you shop on Amazon!
Breakdown of Sakura XNCW-24N 24-Piece Koi Assorted Water Colors Field Sketch Set & Brush
This watercolor set is designed to be a travelling kit so it’s all within a small plastic case. Within the case is 24 assorted watercolor cakes. There’s also a sponge, a Koi water brush and a versatile palette for mixing colors.
All of the colors that are included are as follows:
- Chinese White
- Lemon Yellow
- Aureoline Hue
- Permanent Yellow Deep
- Permanent Orange
- Jaune Brilliant
- Vermillion Hue
- Cadmium Red Hue
- Crimson Lake
- Quinacridone Rose
- Cobalt Blue Hue
- Cerulean Blue
- Prussian Blue
- Yellow Green
- Viridian Hue
- Permanent Green Deep
- Olive Green
- Yellow Ochre
- Light Red
- Burnt Umber
- Payne’s Grey
- Ivory Black
I say the palette is versatile because it can be attached so it’s either below the spread of paint cakes or to the side. Furthermore, it’s divided into several relatively large sections, which is actually pretty useful.
Usually you come across many divisions that are tiny and then one or two large spaces. I much prefer this set up since I like taking up room when I blend – especially if I wanna keep a little bit of a color spread before bringing the color to the page.
You might want to buy extra stuff…
There’s only one brush and one sponge included although there’s room to include more smaller brushes if you wanted to buy them separately, which I would recommend. I’m not patient enough to clean or even wipe down the brush between switching different color groups. I’d way rather just switch brushes quickly.
The issue is that the brush that it comes with is a Koi water brush. So if buy more brushes, you’ll either have to buy more water brushes or you’ll have to concede to lugging around some water and a container or two with you.
Personally, I don’t use sponges for painting that often on the go. I prefer using them on large works but if you’re a fan of using sponges, you can always buy more as well. Just keep em’ small because you might have trouble fitting too many more in the kit.
Most painters use the sponge in the kit to wipe the water brush between colors. That way you can use just the one brush and simply wipe it clean whenever needed. If you have the patience for this, then no need to buy anything else!
Painting kits just got cute and cuddly
This kit is actually so adorable. When it’s closed, it’s so small! You won’t believe there’s a full fledged 24 color watercolor kit in there.
The only thing is the bland white color on the exterior – the white seems a little boring. Also it makes the kit appear to be poor quality. But I mean you’re an artist! You can easily grab some of those 3-D pens Sakura invented and go to town (woohoo!).
The inside, of course, needs to be white so that you can see the colors that you’re mixing as shown on the right! The material of the palette is also great for mixing. It’s easily cleanable and is fairly durable in the sense that it doesn’t stain quickly.
I have palettes that have stained after just one use and soon I can’t use them anymore because I can’t tell what color I’m mixing.
The case itself doesn’t feel that durable. I mean one good tumble down the stairs while open and I’ll bet the lid would snap off. To be fair, I haven’t tested that theory out yet [insert sarcasm here].
But anyways – back to it’s adorable compactness!
24 colors right in your pocket
The company describes the product such that you can easily throw it in your pocket and whip it out whenever you catch some inspiration. They’re really not far off with this claim. Although a pocket may be a bit of a stretch for the ladies, it does fit in a larger coat pocket or men’s pocket and easily slides into a backpack or roomy purse.
There has been some complaints that the lid doesn’t open all the way. This can cause the palette to tilt backwards due to the weight imbalance instead of lying flat and can lead to some issues.
Blended paints can run and pool along the edges of your palette, or if the paint cakes are still wet, you can even have some running between them. And that’s never good!
Not everyone has had this issue, however. As you can see, this user hasn’t had an issue getting the kit to lie flat with the lid completely open.
Also there’s been one complaint that the product did not arrive as advertised. Instead it was damaged, the paints had already been used and the palette was missing.
These are clearly manufacturing and shipping issues. So if you end up with one that doesn’t have a lid that lies flat open or that’s already been used, complain, return it and get another! It’ll be annoying but at least you’ll know right away and you gotta do what you gotta do.
For the love of blending watercolors!
As I mentioned earlier, there are a good variety of colors included in the half pan kit and plenty of space to blend them in. The paint is extremely affordable for the amount and variety that you’re getting compared to other brands. And for those of you who mind, the paints meet the ASTM D4236 labelling and the ACMI AP safety standards.
The paint is also specifically designed to blend easily. Personally, I like it when my paint takes a little bit of time to blend incase I want a spread in color. But these ones work well either way. If I’m careful I can still get the coloring spread I want.
The quality of the paint really depends on what you make of it. It doesn’t contend with superb brands like Winsor & Newton or Van Gogh but then again, you’re getting this at a fraction of the cost. For what you’re paying, it’s pretty good.
It’s not like it’s children’s paint or anything but it can be a little grainy and there’s a good amount of filler. You have to make sure that you’re layering quite a bit otherwise your work will dry with a bit of a washed out look.
Now to the famous Koi water brush
The refillable Koi water brush makes blending even travelling with this kit even more convenient. And really puts the cherry on top for the whole travelling kit description. I mean now you don’t even need water or a container.
As long as you’ve filled up your brush before hand you’re good! Worst comes to worst, you run out but I mean you need to drink water too so just spare some drops for your brush.
The nylon fibers are also easily washable but the general quality of the brush is … delicate (cough, cough). Just be careful screwing the tip on and off to refill the water because if you’re too harsh on it, it will break.
I know sometimes water brushes can be kind of annoying and they can start to leak. This one will be fine as long as you’re gentle with it. If anything, you might find that the water comes out a little too slowly.
At the end of the day, this travelling kit is just that
Nothing more, nothing less.
The reason why this kit takes the cake for many painters and is #3 on the best sellers list in Amazon under all of paints is because it truly is super easy to travel with. It has several flaws but you can only expect so much from something that’s designed for the sole purpose of fitting in your pocket.
Could it have been done better? Probably. But I think that for what it is and especially for the price, the company did a solid job.
Sakura has been around forever and they’ve honestly done such a great job building up their reputation for innovation. And no one can disagree that this product is innovative and there’s not much else out there quite like it.
For that reason, I think it’s a good buy if you’re a casual painter who likes to whip out some watercolors during your afternoon stroll. You are getting more bang for your buck than usual but if you’re the type of painter looking for top notch Winsor & Newton or Van Gogh type quality, you’re just not going to get it with this.
Made especially for the casual travelling watercolor artist
If you’re on a budget and love the idea of carrying an all-you-need watercolor kit in your pocket that you can whip out at any moment, then this is for you. Plus you’ve seen some of the paintings done with this kit including the one on the right. So you have an idea of what you can do with it!
But if you prefer carrying around a bigger bag than compromising on top notch quality, then you’re better off buying a set of tubes from one of the top pro brands and get a case for your brushes. A hard core pro that needs to sell their work probably just isn’t going to get what they need out of this set.
But if you’re newer to watercolors or just want something relaxing to travel with, doodle with or do some mixed media, then you’re in luck!
Please don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any questions about the Sakura travelling kit or if you have anything you’d like to add.