Kuretake Gansai Tambi by Zig Watercolor Review and Lightfast Testing 1 Year Fugitive Results
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).
At one year the fading proved extreme, roughly LFIII to LFIV in about half of the colors in this set. The red, orange, pink and purple colors are the most fugitive. I was actually quite surprised that the indian red (normally a stable PR101 red iron oxide pigment in most brands) was actually made of a fugitive red-brown mixture, and that the maroon which resembled a stable perylene was also made using an even less lightfast red pigment. Gold darkened which is unusual for a mica based metallic, sun exposure resulted in a deep value hue shift similar to the bluish-gold. It's not all bad news though, some of the colors that were fugitive in older sets are now made with more lightfast pigments. The most notably improved color being number 57 turquoise. About 21 of the 48 colors appear to be lightfast LFI, which could be used in art to sell. Sadly this brand is unreliable about sticking to the same ingredients over time. They may decide to change things up again in future sets, this test was done on a set made in 2019. With no pigment ingredients listed you may not be able to tell which will fade in your set without your own testing.
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. For reference, the majority of my 260+ Daniel Smith watercolors have been in the window for 2 years with no fading. It appears that Kuretake Gansai is best used for illustration projects meant to be scanned for print reproduction. It's also acceptable for painting practice, color theory, sketchbooks, card making and other indoor craft projects. I would not sell artwork made with these paints (especially without a note on how to care for fugitive colors). I expect any art hung on a wall in a well-lit room/with nearby windows 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!
You can find the 36 color set here: