Primrosia Watercolor Marker Lightfast Test

Monday, November 13, 2023

Nearly eight months ago, I started a lightfastness test for three watercolor palettes, a set of jelly gouache, and this set of 60 Primrosia watercolor markers. I made wide swatch cards with each color, then cut them in half lengthwise so that I had each color on two strips from the same swatch. The control side went into a drawer for later comparison.

Paper Used:
GenCrafts 140lb wood pulp watercolor paper.

Primrosia Watercolor Marker Swatches Before:

The strips went up in a double-paned vinyl south-facing window from March 21st to October 25th of this year (about 7 months). Near the equinoxes, these strips got full sun exposure, but at the height of summer, the eaves on the roof left them with only indirect light. This is enough to show fading in the most unstable pigments, though a longer test might have been better to test some of the paints.

I eventually took all of my test strips down because I noticed some condensation on the window in the mornings after I rearranged my room to put the bed closer to the window. That may have messed with some of the results from other paints, but the strips for these markers did not seem to be affected.

Watercolor markers require dye-based colors rather than a ground-up mineral or other pigment that could clog them. Dye-based colors are notoriously unstable, so I expected to see significant fading in most, if not all, of the colors in this set.

Note: I arranged the last strip segment incorrectly for this photo,
but the fading is so dramatic that 87-100 not being side-by-side doesn't matter much.

As expected, all of the colors in this set faded. Many faded completely.

Because the fading was so dramatic, I would advise anyone wanting to use these markers to make a gift, commission, or other important piece of artwork to make sure that the piece is under a protective UV glass, coating, or both. Even then, I'm not sure if it will be enough to prevent fading, but that's beyond the scope of my experience, so I can't say for sure.  If they don't take steps to protect the work from UV light, they are likely to experience significant fading with exposure. This would not be much of an issue for any art kept in a sketchbook or journal.

I'm not a big marker person in the first place, so this test won't have any real impact on my artwork or process, but I figured I might as well test the markers while I was doing my other paints. I hope this helped someone. Next, we'll look at the Himi Mia Jelly Gouache.

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