Grumbacher Academy Watercolor Review Pros Cons Compare to Van Gogh Student Grade
This student grade brand is made in the USA by Chartpak. The most similar brand to compare it to is Van Gogh by Rembrandt. Both have a low price point and come in small tubes aimed at those interested in learning watercolor painting without breaking the bank. I have noticed that Grumbacher offers much more unique, and sometimes fugitive pigments. For instance, they offer Perylene Maroon, Chromium Oxide Green, and Magnesium Green (Cerulean Chromium) which is very rare in a student grade. Those pigments tend to be only found in individual tubes from professional brands, and rarely even in pan sets. However, they also offer some fugitive colors, such as Alizarin Crimson. In contrast Van Gogh brand is very reliable, choosing only the most lightfast pigments. However, Van Gogh does not typically offer much in the way of unique or granulating colors.
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Here are the details for the first 9 colors I purchased from Grumbacher. Every one of them had an unusually large pigment particle size, almost gouache like. None of the colors would react to salt, which typically only happens if there is an odd binder additive, or the pigments are heavy/large/easily granulating colors that don't move the same way in water as most watercolors. Be aware that the pigment load is extremely high, and while these paints performed well in wet on dry strokes of mastone or diluted, they did not flow well for wet on wet washes. They overall felt more gritty than Van Gogh, though several pigments that I tried are naturally gritty/have an unusual flocculating texture across all brands (such as the PV29 in Thio Violet).
Available to purchase here.
Blick art materials typically offers these paints at a very low price within the USA. Grumbacher Academy is available to pick and choose individual tubes here:
I have also seen some colors, but mostly starter bundle sets on Amazon. I'll put the links to those options, which may contain other colors below. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.