New colors for testing

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Sketching with Kuretake colors

The Kuretake (36 Color Set MC20 / 36V) box I got directly from Japan. I’d like to try these colors and use them for urban sketching or a virtual sketch walk. For me, it’s interesting to just play with colors and observe what qualities they have. The box contains larger color wells than our usual “whole cups”. Later, when the colors have run out, I can refill these cups with tube paint. It was offered as a paint box, facial make-up, and much more. For less than 40 € I could not do much wrong. Customs fees were not charged. Here is my box … A cardboard box with inserted plastic cups that can be easily removed.

The color names are given in Japanese and English. They correspond to the names of the common watercolor paints manufacturers. Caution is advised if you are not so familiar with the colors and their names. Then you should leave the paint cups in the box, because they are sorted there by numbers. Otherwise, the sorting could be difficult if all colors have to be sorted again. The colors red, carmine, rose madder, rose madder deep, cadmium red, cadmium skarlet, cadmium orange, yellow ocher, cadmium yellow, aureolin, lemon yellow, olive green, sap green light, sap green, hooker’s green, sap green deep , viridian, forest green, turquose green, malachite, ultramarine pale, ultramarine, cerulean blue, turquoise blue, prussian blue, indigo, imperial violet, cobalt violet, purple, burnt sienna, raw umber deep, black, white, white gold, brush gold, gold. So a colorful mix of warm and cold colors …


The colors are nice, but not permanent. They can not used for layering.  I will certainly use it for sketchbook painting.


How do I test watercolor paints? First, I use good handmade paper. It makes no sense to use plain paper, otherwise the results will be falsified. On the “real handmade paper” I differentiate between cold-pressed and hot-pressed paper (NOT / HP). With the NOT there are still the papers with finely structured surface and coarse surface to distinguish. Thus, I test on 3 different papers. The papers are particularly suitable for special watercolor painting techniques. To go into detail here on the homepage would be too complex. I will briefly explain two general tests here:

  1. Create a color chart on NOT (NOT HOTPRESSED) paper and test for transparency . It is stuck on the card, a black cardboard strip or a wide black line with a waterproof color pencil (Below a Molotow Acrylic Marker in the picture) pulled and finally labeled (manufacturer color, etc.). The card is painted and painted over the black line or the cardboard. You can see quickly when a color is opaque and how much the black area is covered by the color. I collect such color cards, for example, to be able to look up later, if this color is suitable for my current project.
  2. Here it is about to test the color fastness of the color pigments . So create another color card, label, cover a half of the map and expose to the light of day. After a few months, the cover can be removed and both sides compared.

You can now also test how colors mix and varnish, how much they granulate, if at all, … and … and ….

Here’s an example: M.Graham Watercolor Color Cards

These M.Graham colors are very transparent, as you can see. The cadmium colors are generally opaque. This can be seen in the Cadmium Red Card a little, if you look closely. It’s still unexpectedly transparent to me. I do not know if it’s the honey that’s used in making these colors, but the colors work wonderfully soft and, in my opinion, are very even. But that’s just my personal impression !!!

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