Caran D’Ache Gouache Studio First Look

All sparkly and new!

I had a little birthday money (Thanks Grampy you are the best!) and a huge addiction to paint pallets! When I saw this giant pallet in a shop I was very intrigued, I have around 20 sets of watercolour pans but I have never seen gouache paints in pans before. My gouache sets are all liquid and although they do firm up and can be activated with water they are not as firm as actual watercolours so I had to try these paints!

Colour chart on underside of the wrapper.

The tin is also my first ever red tin and I love it. It is just over three times the size of my twelve half pan watercolour tins.

OOOHHHHHH!

There are 14 coloured pans and a tube of white. I am not sure why the white is a tube as opposed to a pan but I am assuming that it keeps its vibrancy more to use as highlights. It comes with a brush too which is always a bonus. The pans are just slightly bigger than a full watercolour pan. The perfectionist in me was annoyed with that little smudge of blue on the lid but luckily it is water activated so it came straight off (phew!).

Feeling Blue?

I sprayed the paints with water in the same way that I do with watercolour pans before I start painting with them to activate them and wow that blue sprayed a lot! It activates really easily so be careful if like me, you like to mist your paints before use.

Swatch catalogue.

I appreciate when a pallet comes with a swatch card but it is always worth swatching on the paper you use most often. I also swatch into my swatch catalogue so that I have all my swatches together, this makes it a lot easier to choose the right colours my paintings.

The paints are beautifully vibrant. They activated with the water very very easily, they didn’t break apart and were a dream to swatch with. Swatching is one of my absolute favourite parts of getting a new set and this one did not disappoint. They are very rich in colour and they seem opaque too. Perhaps not quite as opaque as the Himi gouache jelly paints but these are a lot more convenient to use than the jelly gouache set up.

Side of Pans.

Frustratingly the swatch card that came with the paints and had the names of the paints on did not have the colours in the same order as the paints were placed in the pallet. However the pans are printed on the side with the number of each colour and the pigment used which helped me find out which colour was which. It will also helps if I want to order just one pan to replace it.

Ponyo with a doughnut.

The colour selection in the pallet is pretty basic and has everything you need. I had a bit of a play mixing colours like the skin tone above and they mix really well. I used them very much like watercolour and they were really bright with the smallest amount of water. They are very smooth to paint with and not chalky at all. They dried completely matte and were easy to pencil over. My initial sketch was in red pencil and the colours concealed it brilliantly which is great if you like to do your outlines last, if you prefer to do your outlines first then you will want a more transparent paint. If you like to do a lifeless finish then I think these would work really well too but perhaps use less water than I have.

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed using these paints, I think I will reach for them often, especially when working on my children books because they are so easy to get a really bright finish. I didn’t end up using the white in the end but I am sure I will too and if it dries on the pallet I can just activate it with water again.

These paints are perfect if you like the vibrancy of gouache but the convenience of watercolour, they are a bit too big to stick in my handbag when I go out though, so if they ever do a pocket version I would definitely be getting that one for on the go too.

Thank you for reading my ramblings, I hope they have been helpful!

Samantha x

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