image of 14 tubes of Camel Artist's watercolour tubes on a wooden table with a plastic box on the left showing the same paints poured out into half-pans

Camel Artists’ Watercolours- Swatches

So I have long been thinking of the best budget watercolour and paper combo.

In pursuit of that knowledge, I have been going back to trying Camel Artists’ Watercolours a few years after I stopped using them.

Now that my skills and understanding have improved, I feel I can review them once more to understand if they compare to the ‘fancier’ brands. I can also try figuring out what shades from their chart work for a basic watercolour palette.


They retail for INR 60 (for Series 1) and INR 70 (for Series 2) in India for the 20ml tubes. That is pretty affordable if you ask me! Not a single other brand can compete with that, even their student grades.

They also have a reasonable range of 48 colours. Here is a link to seeing the shade card on their website. They have various sets in smaller 5ml and 10ml tubes, and in individual tubes of 20ml.


Unknown information on the quality and longevity or composition of the paints. This makes it questionable to use them for any display or archival purposes. But when one is starting out, archival quality is not really the most important feature.

The Cakes /Tin – In the past, I have had average-to-poor experiences with the Camel Watercolour cakes.  I feel they had too much binder and filler in them, making it hard to get rich colour from those dry-ass bits in the tin.

Tubes – My experience with the tubes has not been all bad, barring a few colours which were difficult to handle. I just I completely left them by the wayside once I got into the pigment exploration of things since they don’t specify any pigment numbers etc, and well… I got lured by the fancier new paints I had.


I went through the shade card and bought about 14 of the 20ml individual tubes to see what they look like. I also want to compare them to my basic CMY colour wheel primaries, to shortlist a final palette entirely of Camel AWC.

For now, here are the swatches of the 14 colours I chose from Camel Artist Watercolours. I will shortly follow up with detailed explorations of each.

The colours have no pigment information, so I have just listed their names, opacity info, series number and permanence.

This information is from the tube itself.

Name – Title of the colour as per the tube

Series – determines the cost and the Series 1 tubes retail for INR 60, with Series 2 at INR 70, each.

Box depicting opacity – A Transparent paint is depicted with a black-outlined sqaure. Semi-transparent ones with a half filled square, and completely opaque paints with a fully black-filled square.

Permanence – A stands for most permanent, with C being least.

image of watercolour swatches of 14 Camel artist's watercolour tubes
Camel AWC swatches on Schoellershammer paper with improper sizing.
Camel AWC swatches on Maestriaa Buff sketchbook
Camel AWC swatches on Maestriaa Buff sketchbook - Part 2

Initial Observations:

The yellows and reds have rich colour payoff and vibrant appearance. They handle very smoothly and blossom well in wet-on-wet uses.

in the Blues, both Permanent Blue and Ultramarine blue seem to have too much binder in them, causing them to be a bit gluey in consistency. This also makes it difficult to really get the richest colour. Camlin Blue appears to be a Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and handles well with high intensity. Sap Green is brighter than it looks on screen. Yellow ochre is a nice smooth, opaque paint. Burnt Sienna again, suffers from the consistency issue and is not great to paint with. Payne’s Grey is a rich dark cool grey with intensity in hue and smooth handling.

All in all, this is a promising start.

I will try some more basic combinations of colours, try to understand which colours make for better primaries.

Note- The patchiness you see on the 1st paper, is a result of poor sizing on that paper block, and not due to the watercolours themselves. I have included a second set of swatches done on another paper for comparison.

The first paper is a Schoellershammer 100% rag watercolour block and the 2nd spiral bound sketchbook you see is a Maestriaa Travel Sketchbook with Buff coloured paper in 100% cotton, 300GSM.

1 Comment
  • Pingback:Camel Artists' Watercolour Tubes - Review
    Posted at 21:09h, 24 January Reply

    […] colours: In my previous post on these swatches, you can see the tubes I chose from their set of 48 colours, which was tentatively what I wanted in […]

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