Review: Nicholson’s Peerless Transparent Watercolors

Intro:

Nicholson’s Peerless Transparent Watercolors is an understated watercolor paint that is both rich in color in addition to being extremely portable. Its unique aspect lies in the format it comes in – “The Original Colors put on Films or Paper Leaflets”.

This watercolor book was first published in 1902 by Chas F. Nicholson and retains its old English text in the introduction. Its authentic hand-made process accompanied by its vintage packaging makes them very charming!

Testing:

The pack (Complete Edition) that we have for review today contains 15 vibrant hues – brilliant yellow, deep yellow, orange yellow, flesh tint, geranium pink, japonica scarlet, royal crimson, mahogany brown, sepia brown, light green, dark green, sky blue, deep blue, wistaria violet, and pearl gray. It also comes in bigger sets such as the Bonus Pak which contains 40 transparent watercolor colors in a square format.

Front of Brilliant Yellow Watercolor Film
Front side of Brilliant Yellow watercolor film

The front of the watercolor films are where you pick up the color whereas the back shows you the color that appears on paper when you paint with them. They aren’t quite accurate as we found the sky blue is quite different from what’s shown. The instructions in the beginning also say that you can cut a very small piece and throw it into a painting well filled with a little bit of water. The color is water-soluble and will be ready for use very quickly. Remove the film once all the color has been dissolved (a tweezer or toothpick can help). Otherwise, you can just pick up the watercolor directly from the film using a wet brush.

Back side of Brilliant Yellow watercolor film showing a slightly different color than the front - a bright yellow.
Back side of Brilliant Yellow watercolor film

It is also quite magical to see what looks like a deep blue on the front turn out to be a gorgeous, vibrant turquoise color on paper!

Sky blue watercolor film has an intricate, crystallized pattern on it. It is a deep blue color.
The patterns on the front of Sky Blue are quite mesmerizing!
The back side of Sky Blue is quite different than the front; it ressembles more of a turquoise.
The back side of Sky Blue is quite different than the front.

Pros:

  • Convenient and portable
  • Affordable – you get lots of colors!
  • Activate quickly and blend nicely
  • Colors are vivid, rich, and saturated

Cons:

  • Must be kept dry (can be stored in a plastic bag)
  • Hard to mix colors in a palette (since they don’t come in paint form)

Summary:

  • Great for cardmakers and stampers
  • For those who need portability
  • Fun to try out and make your own little palette with your favorite colors
  • Hard to use for larger paintings
Small strips of the watercolor film cut and pasted onto a sheet of watercolor paper for convenient access to all the colors!
Small strips of the watercolor film cut and pasted onto a sheet of watercolor paper for convenient access to all the colors!

The major selling point of Peerless Watercolors is its convenience. You can have all 15 colors on a small, single sheet of paper! All you need is this, some watercolor paper, and a waterbrush and you’ll be ready to go! Definitely a great travel kit!

Want to read more watercolor reviews? Click here!

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