Wednesday, 28 April 2021

New Colours from Schmincke

Granulation is one of the characteristics of some pigments that is best seen in watercolour. You may not notice it in oils or acrylics, and certainly not in pastels and pencils. However in watercolour, granulation is a fabulous characteristic to explore. It is also very important since watercolour is basically a 2-dimensional or flat medium, so granulation is a way of adding texture to the wash.

Granulating pigments show their true nature best on damp cold pressed or rough paper though they will tend to granulate to some degree on any paper. For those new to watercolour, it may look as though something is wrong!

Some of the most granulating pigments have been used to create the 25 new mixes from Schmincke - some released in 2020 and some this year. They are available in boxed sets or individual tubes.

The full range of 25 have been made from quite a limited number of granulating pigments. You can see all the colours used to create them in my blog post here - it may be useful to have that open side-by side on your computer screen.

There are five colours in the newest 'Forest' set. The most useful and realistic greens are often created using two or three pigments so these might be useful colours in foliage paintings. 

Forest Olive contains Viridian, a PBr7, in this case probably Green Umber, and Yellow Ochre, which is interesting as there isn't a PY43 Yellow Ochre in the Schmincke range. 

Forest Green contains Cobalt Green and the brown pigment used in the colour Mahogany Brown (It was also used in the old colour Walnut Brown, which was darker.) 

Forest Blue contains Cobalt Green Turquoise (or possibly Cobalt Cerulean) and the Mars Black pigment. Forest Brown contents Cobalt Green Dark, Cobalt Turquoise and Yellow Ochre.

Forest Brown is not as brown as Forest Olive, and contains the stronger tinting Cobalt Green Dark, a PBr7 earth pigment and Yellow Ochre. 

Forest Grey contains a brown earth pigment along with Cobalt Turquoise and Mars Black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Forest Olive, Forest Green, Forest Blue,
Forest Brown and Forest Grey

There are five colours in the Deep Sea set. Deep Sea Violet is made from French Ultramarine and PBr33, which is used in Mahogany Brown and the Daniel Smith colour Lunar Earth. It is a fantastic pigment that creates gorgeous texture. 

Deep Sea Blue is made using Cobalt Green pigment, Manganese Violet and French Ultramarine. 

Deep Sea Indigo is made from Viridian and PV62, which I haven't seen as a colour though it makes a lovely granulating violet-blue here. The greens and violet don't show up much in my little dot sample. 

Deep Sea Green uses Viridian and French Ultramarine to create this granulating turquoise. 

Deep Sea Black uses the incredibly granulating PBk11 (used in Schmincke Mars Black and Daniel Smith Lunar Black amongst others) with Cobalt Blue Deep and Cerulean pigments (used in Cobalt Azure), to create this deep blue-grey with spots of black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Deep Sea Violet, Deep Sea Indigo, Deep Sea Blue, Deep Sea Green, 
Deep Sea Black.

The Glacier set of 5 does evoke the cool depths of frozen water. Glacier Blue is made with the same pigments as Galaxy Blue, but the other way around - more blue this time. It isn't obvious that the PG50 is doing anything as it is very like French Ultramarine. 

Glacier Turquoise has an intriguing mix of cobalt green and Manganese Violet. A green and a violet can make a blue - as you can see. 

Glacier Green has particles of Potter's Pink floating in a sea of Cobalt Green. 

Glacier Brown has particles of Cobalt Green Dark mixed into the granulating brown oxide. 

Glacer Black has cerulean (Cobalt Azure) mixed into the Mars Black this time for a cooler black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Glacier Blue, Glacier Turquoise, Glacier Green, Glacier Brown, Glacier Black.

The set of 5 Galaxy colours includes Galaxy Violet, made from Potter's Pink and French Ultramarine, creating a rich granulating red-purple. 

Galaxy Pink is made with Manganese Violet and the mahogany brown pigment. 

Galaxy Blue is more subtle - like Deep Sea Blue without the violet. 

Galaxy Brown has specks of violet in the granulating oxide brown. 

Galaxy Black is a mix of French Ultramarine and Mars Black.

Schmincke Watercolours - Galaxy Pink, Galaxy Violet, Galaxy Blue, Galaxy Brown, Galaxy Black.

The set of 5 Tundra colours have some interesting mixes. Tundra Orange contains Yellow Ochre, Potter's Pink and an earth brown - possibly burnt Sienna this time.

Tundra Pink is a granulating violet made with Ultramarine and Potter's Pink. 

Tundra Violet is a dark grey-violet due to the reddish Mars Brown pigment mixed with Ultramarine.

Tundra Blue has a small amount of a brown earth mixed with Ultramarine.

Tundra Green is the Mars Brown mixed with Cobalt Green.

Schmincke Watercolours - Tundra Orange, Tundra Pink, Tundra Violet, Tundra blue and Tundra Green

Often, when making colours, manufacturers are producing 'hues' and blending the pigments into new compounds that effectively behave like a single pigment. Mixtures like these are intended to keep the different pigments in the mix separate, so they can each contribute to the liveliness of the colour. What is interesting is that the mixtures in tubes may behave differently from the mixtures of the same pigments then mixed in your palette in your own studio.

I certainly wouldn't suggest this whole range is necessary, but some granulating watercolour mixtures can be really lovely to explore in watercolour painting. 

Update - there is also a Volcano set, a Shire set and a Haze set available now. I haven't tried them to show with painted swatches, but you can see them all at Jacksonsart (affiliate link).


  1. Thank you for this! I love Schmincke.

    1. More to come! We are spoilt for choice with excellent watercolours. Schmincke is certainly one of them :-)

    2. hi jane, looks like they have REALLY expanded their offerings since this post!!! there is now desert, haze, etc. would love to see you do an update on these.

      thanks for everything you do. yours is one of the sites i reference ALL the dang time. much appreciated!! (you and handprint lol. so you see i hold you in great esteem)

  2. The PV62 is the pigment designation given to their Cobalt Violet Hue, if I remember correctly - it was given the designation quite recently. I don't know if I'd buy any of these tubes myself, but I'll certainly take them as inspiration for making funky granulating mixes (especially the Galaxy Violet and Glacier Green), and it's always lovely to see a new post from you - fab as always!

    1. I agree - fun to explore, or play with the pigments from single tube colours. They are not as rich as many of the DS Primatek colours, but really interesting combinations.

    2. Yes...I have the Cobalt Violet Hue full is very granulating and I finally found out it is PV62, like you said...initially...there was no pigment info on the pan label...very strange...but it is now clearly PV62...lovely pigment...granulates a lot.

  3. Just came here to say that I really appreciate your effort. Your blog is a great tool for us. Very useful. Thank you. Do you have a Youtube Channel?

    1. Yes I do. I don't have many videos up as I've been working on my online courses, but what I have should be helpful to many getting going in watercolour. Just search Jane Blundell. You'll also find links to some interviews I have done.

  4. I have an obsession with muted, granulating purples and violets, and Galaxy Violet is calling my name.

    I will have to splurge on the Galaxy set on my next Jackson's haul.

  5. If you were to mix the two pigments that make up these colors would you get the same effect as you would from the tubes above?

    1. I haven't tried it with these colours, but often no you don't.
      I choose to create custom mixes or use conveniences mixes because they often behave differently than when you mix them yourself in the palette. I'd suggest giving it a go with these colours - if you have the pigments - and see!

  6. Hi Jane, do you know what pigment the lagoon blue colour 989 made up of. It was developed for the Japanese artist Yuko Nagayama and came in various size special sets by Schmincke Horadam. It looks very pretty. Can’t seem to get here, in UK.

    1. It is a pretty colour, but very easy to make with regular palette colours - Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3) and Phthalo Green Blue Shade. This combination is available from many manufacturers as phthalo turquoise, which can be adjusted with a little more green or blue or water as you prefer.

  7. Thanks Jane. I love your website. So much cool info.