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Kuretake Gansai Tambi by Zig Watercolor Review and Lightfast Testing
In 2015 the Kuretake Gansai 36 color set became one of my very first watercolor pan sets I ever owned. It was a great place for me to start, and my fond memories of this paint set made me jump at the new 2019 updated 48 color set. The pastel additions to this set are sure to be a hit with illustrators. They have made packaging improvements over the years, and the new colors are wonderful to work with.
They are a modern take on a Japanese traditional paint, that works just like watercolor, but actually uses a slightly different type of binder. This version is vegan, unlike the old animal-glue binder gansai. The only downside to these paints is that if you use them very thickly/without enough water you can get shiny spots after they dry on the paper due to a build up of the glossy binder. Overall, a bargain for the price and without a doubt a jaw-droppingly gorgeous presentation suitable for a gift to any artist.
If you would like to buy any of the supplies I used in this video, the affiliate links are below. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I've also included links to the waterproof inks, pens, brushes and papers I use in most of my video reviews. For watercolor, gouache or ink painting, I use small round brushes by Princeton. Heritage series is ideal for a sharp point, small details and snap. Their Neptune series is a synthetic imitation squirrel hair, which is a very soft brush with an amazing ability to hold a lot of water for washes.
I recommend 100% cotton Arches Cold Press watercolor paper. For the best price, I usually get it on Blick here.
Note to professional artists: AS WITH ANY FUGITIVE ART SUPPLY, YOU CAN USE THESE TO CREATE LOVELY ARTWORK, BUT I SUGGEST PLANNING TO SCAN THE ART FOR PRINTS / DIGITAL REPRODUCTION.This set is not very lightfast, with just about half of the colors fading over time. While the paints are definitely suitable for crafters and hobbyists, I would not recommend them for professional use (original art sold to be hung on a wall).
While this was a beautiful and affordable set, it did not come with any pigment information. I was hopeful that it would be overall more UV stable than this, because my first set (purchased over 5 years ago) didn't suffer from nearly this much fading. It was one of my favorite paints when I was a beginner, especially for card making, paper crafting and home decor projects. The large pans and affordable price let me feel free to practice and make mistakes. With that fond memory, I eagerly purchased the newly expanded color selection.
It appears that something has changed in their manufacturing over the years. My old set of 36 didn't have as much fading in the reds, but the new set has every single red, pink and purple show signs of fading within 6 months. Typically lightfast colors show no change in indirect window lighting for over 1 year (the majority of my Daniel Smith watercolors have been in the window for 2 years with no fading). This Kuretake Gansai set is best used for practice, color theory, sketchbooks, card making and other indoor craft projects. I would not sell artwork made with these paints, and I expect any art you hang on a wall in a well-lit room will fade over time.
THE INFORMATION BELOW IS REGARDING MY OLDER REVIEW FOR THE ORIGINAL 36 COLOR SET.
Unfortunately, things have changed in Kuretake's ingredients or manufacturing techniques in the past 5 years, but for reference here is my original lightfast test for the 36 color set.
These are beautiful and affordable paints for anyone from card makers to beginners and could definitely be used for color theory and sketchbook practice. I just wish we could persuade Kuretake to share their pigment ingredients and throw in some general lightfast ratings so we knew what to expect!