Monday 13 March 2017

New Schmincke Watercolours 2017

The first professional watercolour set I bought over three decades ago was Schmincke. The pigments that were included in that set of 24 pans have been changed over the years, with 110 colours available in their most recent range up until this year. They are a very accessible brand as they come in 5ml and 15ml tubes as well as half and full pans. They also come in sets but tend to have some rather odd choices in them.

This year Schmincke have released 35 new colours as part of their 125 year anniversary revamp, changing some formulations, renaming old colours and expanding their range to 140 colours.

I haven't used them much myself in recent years as unfortunately two of the key colours I use - burnt sienna and ultramarine - have not been to my liking. The burnt sienna is PR101 with black pigment added and the ultramarine finest doesn't granulate much at all. So I am delighted with their decision to introduce a French Ultramarine  - a granulating version, and a new burnt sienna made without black. It uses PR101 rather than my preferred PBr7, but it's a step in the right direction. To be fair - I think it's terrific that there was a less granulating 'ultramarine finest' available for those who don't like granulation, I'm just pleased there is now a choice. There is another new colour called Maroon Brown that is labelled as NBr (whatever that is!) but that looks to me like a natural burnt sienna PBr7. It's gorgeous :-)

They have also released some dot cards, a Daniel Smith innovation that makes testing out colours so much better for those of us trying to choose them. Jackson's Art UK website has a great post about the colours here. To see the new colours in detail, there is a PDF here.

I get sent dot cards periodically of paints that people have that are missing from my website so was sent a few of the new colours before they were released in Australia. (Thanks Corinna and Ricarda :-) Then I was able to check out the rest of the colours at my favourite local art store Art Scene, and received the full range dot cards from Schmincke Germany, so here is the full range of new paints painted out and photographed without adjustment.

New Schmincke colours 2017 - Rutile Yellow, Quinacridone Gold Hue, Turner's Yellow, Yellow Orange and Geranium Red.
  • Rutile yellow is interesting - it's a completely different version of the usual PY53. Rather like some versions of Naples yellow. I can see it being useful to many.
  • The Quinacridone Gold Hue is close to the genuine colour. This is a good pair of pigments to make the hue.
  • Turner's Yellow ia also very opaque, like a yellow with white added. Interesting :-) It is richer than it looks on my screen. Another very interesting addition.
  • Yellow Orange is more orange than it looks on my screen. It reads as a yellow orange rather than a warm yellow. Very beautiful.
  • Geranium red is the colour of geraniums - a bright red.

New Schmincke colours 2017 - Vermilion Light, Quinacridone Red Light, Perylene Dark Red, Ruby Red Deep and Transparent Red Deep.

  •  Vermilion Light is a coral colour.
  • Quinacridone Red Light is a slightly more pink coral colour rather like many of the quinacridone coral/reds made with PR209.
  • Perylene Dark Red is rich crimson.
  • Ruby Red Deep is a deeper stronger crimson - a great colour (like the Pyrrol Crimson DS made from the same pigment.)
  • Transparent Red Deep is more of a deep fire engine red.

New Schmincke colours 2017 - Saturn Red, Bordeaux, Quinacridone Magenta, Potter's Pink and Perylene Violet.

  • Saturn Red is brighter and more vibrant than this looks on my screen - a lovely mid orange, close to Transparent orange but without the slightly yellow undertone.
  • Bordeaux is very like Ruby Red Deep
  • Quinacridone Magenta is the same pigment as DS Quinacridone Magenta - slightly violet magenta. 
  • Potter's Pink is deeper than most versions. (I like this - saves me having to make any more Jane's Earth Rose!)
  • Perylene Violet looks correct on my screen.

New Schmincke colours 2017 - Quinacridone Purple, Cobalt Violet (no pigment number given as it is an apatite pigment), Phthalo Sapphire Blue, Cobalt Azure and French Ultramarine.

  • Quinacridone Purple is the same pigment as the DS colour.
  • Cobalt Violet Hue is granulating but no pigment number is given.
  • Phthalo Sapphire Blue is a warmer phthalo blue. It looks accurate on my screen.
  • Cobalt Azure is cerulean PB35 pigment. Nice and granulating and non-staining.
  • French Ultramarine is rich and strong - very nice.

New Schmincke colours 2017 - Viridian, Transparent Green Gold (Should read PY154 + PBr7) , Spinel Brown, Maroon Brown (which I think is made with PBr7) and Transparent Sienna.

  • Viridian is never an easy pigment to paint with. This is not the strongest version of PG18 I have tried. It looks too blue on my screen.
  • Transparent Green Gold is a slightly dull olive green. I originally thought this was an unusual version of PY154, but I was missing the PBr7 that is also in the mix. It would have been better if they had used PY129 as then it would have been a single pigment green gold.
  • Spinel Brown made from PY119, which is also used in Manganese Brown by W&N. Lovely granulation :-)
  • Maroon Brown is labelled NBr (whatever that means) but it looks to me very like the Schmincke Burnt Sienna PBr 7 pigment so perhaps it is a natural burnt sienna? I love it. Jackson's website labels it PBr7. I'd call it Burnt Sienna Natural :-)
  • Transparent Sienna is a very earthy version of this PR101 pigment - not too bright. It actually looks like a burnt sienna rather than a Quinacridone burnt orange.

Transparent Ochre, Mars Brown, Green Umber, Transparent Umber and Mahogany Brown.

  •  Transparent Ochre is a staining ochre - it looks more yellow on my screen.
  • Mars Brown is like a burnt umber.
  • Green Umber is raw umber in many other brands. I really like to have a cool dark brown in my palette so this is a useful colour, but I would like to see it much richer and more heavily pigmented.
  • Transparent Umber is another Burnt Umber option.
  • Mahogany Brown is made with PBr33 - as was the now discontinued Walnut Brown. But this is a lovely warm colour with interesting granulation and might wash out nicely for skin tones.

New Schmincke colours 2017 - Perylene Green, Graphite Grey, Hematite Black, Mars Black and Brilliant Opera Rose.

  • Perylene Green is such a useful colour. Mix with yellows for fabulous mid greens.
  • Graphite Grey is nice and granulating.
  • Hematitie Black is made from a green pigment.
  • Mars Black granulates nicely though not as much as DS Lunar Black
  • Brilliant Opera Rose is certainly bright - until it fades.

The new colours are largely single pigment colours, and it's nice to see some lovely granulating colours among them. It's now possible to put together a lovely sketching set of single pigment colours :-)

Art Spectrum watercolours here
Blockx full range of Watercolours here
Daniel Smith new colours 2017 here
Daniel Smith full range here
Da Vinci range here
Dr PH Hydrus Watercolours here
Lukas watercolours here
M.Graham watercolours here
MaimeriBlu full range here
Mission Blue full range here
Old Holland full range here
Rembrandt Watercolours here
Schmincke new colours 2017 here
Schmincke full range here
Sennelier watercolours here
St Petersburg Watercolours here
Wallace Seymour Artists Watercolours here
White Nights watercolours here
Winsor & Newton Full range here

Still to come - Daler Rowney and Holbein - nearly there!


  1. Why do the companies insist on using "opera" (I've seen it in several brands) if it is that fugitive? OK, maybe not as bad as Rose Madder Genuine, but still if there is a color shift within a few months of sunlight, that is pretty significant. (I did my own test with D.S. Opera and Rhodonite from about September to Christmas in So.Cal. South facing window.)

    I've ordered a tube of Daniel Smith's new formulation of Rose Madder Permanent. It's a combo of three Quin colors. I'll see how it compares to genuine Rose Madder. I have a whole pan for comparison I keep wrapped up in a box. I was not impressed with their new formula New Gamboge. I hope the new Rose Madder Permanent is more successful.

    1. Companies made Opera because people want it. I don't touch the stuff normally but some artists are of course making work for reproduction purposes so fugitive paints are fine.

      I think it is good that some of the genuine (fugitive) colours can still be found, if only for comparison sake. I have a tube of genuine alizarin crimson and some genuine rose madder somewhere too. Art Spectrum had a nice rose madder hue, by the way - soft and granulating but lightfast. PV19 from memory - it's on my website.
      It's hard to beat the beautiful PY153 that was in DS New Gamboge. I'd switch to Hansa yellow deep PY65 if you want the same hue. It is a well-behaved colour - predictable. It's called Arylide yellow deep in DV and Chromium Yellow Hue Deep in Schmincke. Or consider the even more orange PY110 colours? Or trawl for old stock of New Gamboge! I found a few tubes to put away...

  2. I get fascinated with so many artistic considerations on pigments for watercolor.
    Thank you all!

  3. What a wonderful resourse Jane. I can only admire the depth of your research into paints. Fabulous.

  4. Jane, thanks again for all your wonderful work!

    "NBr" denotes Natural Brown (pigment); but there should be a number to further define it (See A number of pigments are unfamiliar to me: PR 244, PR207, PR187, and PO 64. PR207 and PR187 don't seem to have been watercolor pigments--but oil, yes--according to the link above. Regarding PR244, there is no record of the existence of this pigment at artiscreation. PO64 seems new to watercolor, too.

    1. Yes NBr should normally have a number associated with it. I guessed it was PBr7, which is a natural brown pigment anyway, which is why I put a question mark on that swatch - it exactly matches the dried pigment by Schmincke called burnt sienna PBr7 - and when I contacted the company they confirmed that it is PBr7. Maroon Brown is not the best name for a gorgeous burnt sienna watercolour ;-) Hopefully they will add the '7' eventually.

  5. Hello, Jane!
    Congratulations for this minutious work. It is really helpful for discovering the world of watercolours. Your blog became a reference for students, watercolourists and curious from all over the world, including Brazil. :-) I have already started my own colour swatches to have a full catalog of my paints handy. It is very useful to help us compare and select the colors for a painting.
    A short contribution: Schmincke's Transparent Green Gold is actually a mix of Benzimidazolone (PY154) and Earth pigment (PBr7).
    Thank you very much and carry on with this great job!

    1. Yes thank you - I had corrected that in the comments but will correct and re-photograph the swatch cards at some stage...

  6. Very useful as always, thanks. Which, in your opinion, is the best Perylene Green (PBk31) - the new colour by Schmincke or the Winsor and Newton, i.e. for depth of colour, and any granulation? I want to get one of them but would prefer to get the one with most saturation and "character". I don't ask about DS because they don't use PBk31 anymore in their Perylene Green.

    1. You can see on my website here that perylene green is one of the more consistent watercolours across brands in terms of strength of colour and characteristics. I thought the Schmincke was nice and rich, and I like the DV version. I can't find any information about DS changing their formulation - it is still PBk31 on their website. That's the version I know best and use all the time myself.

      I would do a test paint-out between them but am nursing a broken wrist so can't at this time! I plan to do a whole series of posts by pigment over the coming months...once I'm back in one piece :-)

  7. Hello, thank you very much for your hard work and creating these absolutely useful pages! Swatches are really super hard to find done in the same conditions to compare at least within limit ... I'm finding your blog super valuable!

    Looking at new Schmincke paints, since I'm considering upgrading from White Nights (some colors only as I run out) I'm interested in Transparent Ochre, Transparent Sienna and Transparent Burnt umber. Are these colors granulating in Schmincke range? Or better stick with PBr versions, despite (semi)opaqueness? Transparency and clear mixtures is what is my main concern. But granulation is great, starting to love it!

    From the swatches these doesn't look very granulating ... (asking cause I was looking at DS too, they look much more granulating in that brand line than Schmincke!)

    Thank you very much for your reply :) Much appreciated, thousands thanks!

    1. The paints you have mentioned are not really granulating. There are some lovely granulating watercolours in the new range, my favourite being Maroon Brown which is an absolutely gorgeous granulating burnt sienna. It says it is semi transparent but I wouldn't worry about that - just add a little more water to make it more transparent, or wash it onto pre-dampened paper to make it granulate more.

      For a lovely granulating yellow earth colour that is granulating I think DS Mont Amiata Natural Sienna is worth a look. Also look at DS transparent Red Oxide and the Environmentally Friendly iron oxides in the DS range. One of the reasons I have used Daniel Smith watercolours for so long is that they are the masters of granulation so if they are available they are worth looking at for some of their special colours. Another lovely Schmincke granulating colour is Mahogany Brown and the discontinued Walnut brown if you can find it. You can see them all the my full range post here

      Generally, the more transparent watercolours can be less granulating (consider phthalos and many quinacridones) - the pigment particles are very small so not as noticeable if/when they clump together I suppose. But really with watercolour there are not many colours that are actually opaque so just using them a little more diluted can give you the granulation and relative transparency you may be searching for.

    2. Thank you very much for your kind reply. I'm fairly new to watercolor, just tore through my first set, so any info I can find is very much appreciated :)

      I do have option to purchase DS tubes here, but sadly, in Europe they are higher priced than Schmincke/Sennelier for example, so thought I would look around for the cheaper options.

      Thank you very much for the tips, I'll keep researching then! :) (sadly my wallet doesn't allow me to purchase try outs of every tube I would love to try T_T)

  8. This is my first comment on this blog, so first of all I'd like to thank you for your work. And I'd like to contribute a bit: Cobalt Violet Hue is made from apatite. This is information which I have from Schmincke's official color chart.

    1. Thank you for reminding me - I added that to the full range post but not to this one. Now updated. I hope you drop in and comment again :-)