Holbein Watercolor Review Color Chart Swatch Cards, Lightfast Test, Painting Demonstration
Holbein watercolor is a professional grade paint made in Japan. They use the typical gum arabic binder, with no additional flow additives (such as ox-gall that is present in brands like Winsor & Newton, Schmincke, Roman Szmal etc.). Like many Asian made watercolors, these colors tend to stay where you put them (instead of actively flowing across a wet wash). These stay put more than American or European made watercolors, but still retain a pleasant workability without streakiness. Holbein is most similar in performance to Mission Gold and ShinHan brands.
There are 108 colors in the Holbein watercolor catalog, many of which are multi-pigment convenience mixtures. Their more expensive pigments such as Cobalts, Cadmiums and Viridian tend to be cost prohibitive in the USA/Euro, where the additional cost added to import these paints have resulted in a price too high to be competitive. In Japan these are a very reasonably priced paint. Depending on the color, some individual tubes may still be on the average to high end of normal costs for pro grade paints in your area. I would check the current pricing on Jackson's website, who ships worldwide.
I have had a good experience with all colors I have purchased from Holbein, with no unusual quirks to report. Unlike some brands, each tube seems to be well blended with its binder resulting in a stable paint with minimal binder separation over long term storage.
Lightfast test results:
Where to buy? USA Blick, Worldwide Jacksons.