Wednesday 10 January 2018

Holbein Artist Watercolour

Holbein from Japan has been making watercolour since the early1920s. They don't contain any ox-gall, animal products or dispersing agents so are easy to control. They claim that the pigments are more finely ground than in other ranges and describe themselves as "a European style transparent watercolor which preserves the brush handling qualities inherent in Japanese watercolor techniques". They generally rewet beautifully from the samples I have received so can be used fresh from the tube or dry in the palette.

The 2018 colour chart shows 108 colours, without the pigment information. They are available in 5ml and 15ml tubes and some pan colours. Note in this range there are only a possible three stars for lightfastness.  Many of the problem fugitive colours have been reformulated :-) but there are a lot of two and three-pigment mixes.

The colour chart also shows a series of symbols
T = Transparent,
N = Non stain
E = Easy lift
H = hard lift
X = granulating
B = Semi transparent
O = opaque
S = Staining
I = intense.
I've added this information to the swatches, though sometimes it seems contradictory.

2018 update
I was told about these dot cards being available so have been able to update these swatches to include the full current range. These charts also have pigment information so are really helpful. Where I have swatches of the old and the new colour I've included both. The swatches are arranged according to the 2018 colour chart. 
December 2022 update - the swatches were rescanned, and I've individually colour matched them as well as I can. All have been added to my website so you can compare the colours with other brands.

I always avoid PR83. The other less lightfast pigment, PR23, has been removed from the range. These swatches have been updated and are quite accurate in colour.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Crimson Lake, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Carmine, 
Rose Madder, Quinacridone Red.

These are also relatively accurate in colour, though the cherry red 'coral' is difficult to capture.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Pyrrole Rubin, Perylene Maroon, Pyrrole Red, 
Quinacridone Scarlet, Scarlet Lake

I find scanning can't capture the brilliance of Opera, so the photo is better here.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Opera, Brilliant Pink, Shell Pink, Cadmium Red Purple, Cadmium Red Deep.

Cadmium Red Orange is a really orange version of PR108! I suspect it is an error and it is actually PO20. 

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Vermilion, Vermilion Hue, Cadmium Red Light, 
Cadmium Red Orange, Brilliant Orange .

Cadmium Yellow Orange is listed as PR108. I think it is more likely to be PO20?
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Permanent Yellow Orange (old), Permanent Yellow Orange (new version), Cadmium Yellow Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Pale.

These colours are reasonably accurate. PR110 is really difficult to match so this is a photo.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Imidazolone Lemon, Imidazolone Yellow, Gamboge Nova, 
Permanent Yellow Light, Isoindolinone Yellow Deep

Permanent Yellow Deep is brighter than I can capture it here, but a definite warm yellow hue.
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Quinacridone Gold, Permanent Yellow Deep, Aureoline, 
Permanent Yellow Lemon (old version), Permanent Yellow Lemon.

While these swatches are very close, Jane Brilliant 2 is slightly more peach pastel than shown
Holbein Artist Watercolour - Lemon Yellow, Naples Yellow, Jaune Brilliant 1, 
Jaune Brilliant 2, Greenish Yellow.

The new version of Permanent Green #1 with PY1 replaced with PY3 looks brighter.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Olive Green (old version) Olive Green, Leaf Green, Permanent Green #1 (old version), 
Permanent Green #, Permanent Green #2 ,

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Cadmium Green Deep, Cadmium Green Pale, Hooker's Green, Bamboo Green, 
Cobalt Green, Viridian.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Viridian Hue, Emerald Green Nova, Compose Green,
Sap Green, Terre Verte.

Marine Blue is very beautiful, however it is now made with PB16 + PG7 - perhaps a new version of PB16 since it is apparently the same hue.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Green Grey,  Shadow Green, Phthalo Blue Red Shade,
Phthalo Blue Yellow Shade, Marine Blue.

Holbein Artist Watercolour -  Turquoise Blue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Peacock Blue, 
Manganese Blue Nova, Horizon Blue.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Compose Blue, Verditer Blue, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue,
Cobalt Blue Hue.

Both ultramarines are rich and gorgeous.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Ultramarine Light, Ultramarine Deep, Prussian Blue, 
Royal Blue, Indigo.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Lavender, Permanent Violet, Mineral Violet, 
Cobalt Violet Light, Lilac.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Bright Violet, Bright Rose, Quinacridone Magenta (formally Rose Violet), 
Quinacridone Violet (formally Permanent Magenta), 
Mars Violet.

These earth colours are nice. Less granulating than some brands.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Indian Red, Imadazolone Brown, Light Red, 
Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Raw Umber, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Yellow Grey, Umber.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Van Dyke Brown (this is the real vandyke brown pigment), Sepia, Ivory Black, Lamp Black,
Peach Black (old version), Peach Black.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Neutral Tint, Payne's Grey, Davy's Grey, 
Grey of Grey, Chinese White.

Holbein Artist Watercolour - Titanium White, Gold, Silver.

A few extra swatches of discontinued colours.


Holbein Artist Watercolour - Permanent Red (discontinued), Permanent Green #3 (discontinued),
Compose Green 3 (discontinued), Mineral Violet (discontinued)

Use the search button to see other watercolour ranges. See each swatch compared to other brands in the 'Painted Watercolour Swatches' section of my website.

Happy painting!