I'm test driving a new set of paints called ShinHan Pass Hybrid Watercolor/Gouache. The manufacturer voluntarily sent me a sample set to try out with no expectation of a review.
The set contains 48 plastic tube colors including primaries, "secondaries" and earth colors, Titanium white, and black.
When faced with a large assortment of pigments, I like to explore the colors in small groups and combinations. For my first experiment, I'm using just three colors plus white: Indigo, Vermilion Hue, and Yellow Ochre. The Vermilion gives me a high chroma accent in the warm red range. The other two colors are muted and harmonious.
The ShinHan paints feel similar to a lot of other brands of gouache paint nowadays. As with other brands, they use a water-soluble gum arabic binder. The colors are rich in pigment without a lot of extenders or fillers.
Gallery artists should note that many of the pigments are not lightfast. Eight of the 48 colors are rated with a "low degree of lightfastness," which means they will fade rather quickly if they're exposed to a lot of UV light. That wouldn't be as much of a problem for designers whose renderings aren't subjected to too much light exposure or urban sketchers working in sketchbooks.
UPDATE: I did a lightfastness test of all the colors, putting swatches in direct sun in a south window for three months, and compared them to the same swatches kept in the cool and dark. There was no discernable fading except one fluorescent pink (#870). The rest were fine.
The paints are advertised as non-toxic. That means no Cadmiums or other heavy metals, but rather substitutes like Naphthol reds and Arylide yellows. These non-toxic alternatives are a positive for those concerned about health and safety, but a serious omission for others who prefer the qualities of those traditional pigments.
Some popular colors such as Cobalt Blue and Viridian have the word "hue" after the name, which means a convenience color has been mixed from less expensive ingredients.
The paints vary in opacity, ranging from transparent to semi-opaque to very opaque. Some of the pinks and blues are tinted with titanium white to create opaque designer colors which will not behave like transparent watercolors.
The set comes with a valuable and informative color chart that rates each of the colors on a scale of opacity, lightfastness, and relative price, and a Composition and Permanence Table that lists detailed chemical descriptions for each color.
I can't review all the colors yet, since I've only sampled a few so far. I'll be exploring more of them in future experiments.
This is probably a bigger set than most people really need, but if you're adventurous and want a big tray of goodies, it offers a lot of possibilities.
Amazon: ShinHan Pass Hybrid Watercolor/Gouache.
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