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.
|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), 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 :-)