Are Koi Watercolors Lightfast?

If you’re a watercolor artist, you know how important it is to choose high-quality paints that will stand the test of time. One popular brand of watercolors is Koi, but are Koi watercolors lightfast? Let’s take a closer look.

What does ‘lightfast’ mean?

Before we dive into whether Koi watercolors are lightfast, let’s define what that term means. ‘Lightfast’ refers to the ability of a pigment or paint to resist fading or changing color when exposed to light. This is an important consideration for any artist who wants their work to last for years without losing its vibrancy.

How are lightfastness ratings determined?

The lightfastness of a pigment or paint is determined through testing. The most common method is to expose samples of the paint to different levels of light over an extended period and then compare them to control samples that have been kept in the dark. The results are given a rating on a scale from one (fugitive) to five (excellent).

Are Koi watercolors lightfast?

Now, let’s get back to our original question: Are Koi watercolors lightfast? The answer is.. it depends.

Koi watercolors come in both student-grade and professional-grade options, and the lightfastness ratings will vary accordingly. Some colors in the student-grade set may have lower ratings than those in the professional-grade set.

According to Sakura, the manufacturer of Koi watercolors, their professional-grade paints have “excellent” lightfastness ratings (either four or five on the scale). However, they do not provide specific information about the ratings for individual colors.

It’s worth noting that even if a paint has an excellent rating, it may still fade over time if exposed to direct sunlight or other harsh conditions. It’s always a good idea to take steps to protect your artwork, such as framing it behind UV-resistant glass.


In conclusion, Koi watercolors can be lightfast, but it’s important to pay attention to the ratings for individual colors and choose the professional-grade set if you want the highest quality. Remember that even the most lightfast paint can fade over time, so take proper precautions to protect your artwork. Happy painting!

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Emma Gibson