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

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolours, First Look, Review

I am a full time illustrator and I love to experiment with different mediums, you will find all sorts from digital to needle felted illustrations in my books but if I had to choose one art supply for the rest of my life (please don’t ever make me do that!) then it would be watercolours and Mr Webb definitely is not as impressed as I am with my ever increasing collection of palettes.

However I have never used Japanese brand watercolours so when I was commissioned to work with The Nurture Programme on a big project I decided to treat myself to some new paints (even though the commission is actually digital, any excuse for new paints!)

I have been looking at these paints for a long time and when they arrived I was so excited to use them. They come in a very beautiful green package that makes them feel very fancy a like a real treat. All of my other paints are in metal tins.

Beautiful green box.

This comes in a few different sizes but I chose the 48 colour set because I knew that if I got a smaller set and liked them then I would want the bigger set. This is why I waited until I had a reason to celebrate, it was a big treat. But opening the box felt like Christmas! It is so beautiful inside, I was a little intimidated to even swatch them.

Swatch card in the lid.

The pans are slightly larger than full watercolour pans and there is a swatch sheet inside the lid. All of the colours look stunning straight away! I really liked that each pan is marked on the bottom with the name and number. The bottom of the box has each colour and information on too, just incase you mix them up which I really appreciate because it means that you can take out a few colours to use on your desk at a time because this beast really does take up a lot of space.

I don’t know if it is just a me thing or if it is an artist thing but there is nothing that makes me quite as happy as swatching new paints, it is like new PJs or fresh crisp bedding. One of the most amazing pleasures in this world. I always swatch on the card that comes in the box as well as on a sheet of cold press watercolour which is what I paint on most often. These paints were incredibly satisfying to paint with. They do not need a lot of water for the colour payout, they activate very easily, even the metallic which fall short in some sets.

Swatch on the paper you are likely to use.

The colours are so vibrant and so clean that the swatch card is just so beautiful to look at. I absolutely love the selection of colours. My favourites are the Rose Madder and the Imperial Violet but the whole selection is just very pleasing to look at. I did try it out though too, firstly I had a good play to see how the colours lay down and how they layer because I know that I use layers a lot in my watercolours.

Experimantations.

My experiments were fun and unplanned but was good to see how the colours blend into one another. The colours are a lot less translucent than the watercolours that I am used to. You can layer them if you use the top layer slightly thicker and more of an ink consistency but I found that if you use a lot of water then it was reactivating the colour below even once it was fully dry. This will be an interesting effect to play with in the future that is definitely different to my other paints. I also found that they don’t bleed into one another excessively and I had to use a considerable amount of water to get them to bleed into each other which is something to consider if you use a lot of wet on wet techniques in your painting.

I wanted to try them with an actual illustration since that is what I will be using the paints for, mainly for children’s picture books but also possibly for some products in the future too.

On A Tiny Journey by Samantha Webb

I did not get on well with this illustration. I had a lot of trouble because I am not use to using such vibrant colours without having to layer and layer them. I was also very spoilt for choice with the colours, this is my biggest set of colours and I just kept selecting colours that did not go together and so the finished illustration is not what I imagined to begin with. Faced with such an amazing array of colours my mind totally forgot all that I have been learning about colour theory! Some days just go like that, they can’t all be perfect and I think I definitely learnt from the experience, I need to remember to select my colours wisely before I start painting.

I also did something very random, I totally forgot about mixing my colours. I am not sure if it is because I am so used to having a mixing palette built in that I use all of the time (the box is made of card and does not have mixing wells) or if it is because the pans were so big that it didn’t seem necessary but because of this I was using the paints from pan straight to paper which is again not something that I usually do. Hopefully with these things in mind my future endeavours with these paints will be more successful than these two little bugs in an umbrella boat. I did really enjoy using the paints though, I was able to add layers even though they were more opaque than I would of liked.

If you like really thick and creamy, opaque paints that have a flat finish then I think you would really like these too. I will need to practice more to get the most out of them but I do feel like they will be very versatile and will allow me to make some more vivid illustrations. I have since read that you can also use them on black paper too so I will have to try that out.

I am very happy to have them amongst my paint collection, I have yet to find somewhere to store this massive box though so maybe having it on my desk will make me use it more.

Thank you so much for reading my rambling. If you would like to see some more of my collection of paints just let me know, I could talk about watercolours for days!

Samantha x

On A Tiny Journey by Samantha Webb