Schmincke Gouache Review Compare Horadam Professional Lightfast to Designer Student Fugitive Paint
Schmincke makes lovely gouache with a high pigment load and a matte (not glossy) finish. These work like opaque watercolor paints that easily re-wet from dry. This allows for different blending techniques and the ability to use them from a dry state in a travel pan palette (unlike waterproof acrylic paints or matte, acryla-gouache such as those offered by Holbein, Turner and Liquitex). There are slightly different ingredients in their gouache than their transparent "Horadam" (professional) watercolor line, such as dextrin in the binder that allows it to dry less glossy than gum-arabic would in watercolors. The "Designer" line contains more white and chalk opacity additives.
Unlike some cheaper brands of gouache, the pigments used in these gouache paints have a nice flow in water and a watercolor-like salt texture reaction when diluted. Some brands will use coarse pigment powders to help make their paints more opaque, but this does not appear to be the case here. The result is that Schmincke's fine particle gouache can also be used in a way that looks very similar to their transparent watercolors. That can be quite nice when putting down the most liquid initial layers of your painting, blocking in strong valued sections of transparent color as an underpainting.
The main difference between their Horadam and Designers lines of gouache is pigment ingredients. Horadam has a focus on single pigment lightfast ingredients. The Designers line is slightly more affordable and has a greater number of fugitive colors as well as multi-pigment mixtures. Not all of the colors are fugitive, but in general less expensive ingredients are used and many colors are mixtures often including extra PW6 and other white/chalk fillers. There are times where the Designers gouache is very fugitive (LFIV) such as in Red-Orange PO13 or Vermillions PR4. There are also times when the Designer gouache line uses multiple cheaper pigments to make an alternative color to the comparable Horadam color. The Purple Magenta in Horadam's gouache is PR122, but the Designer's gouache Magenta is a mixture of PR112 and PV19. While this primary cool red is mostly lightfast in masstone, PR112 can fade when diluted.
If you are looking to sell your traditional artwork or otherwise display your originals on the wall where they may receive light from a nearby window, I highly recommend the lightfast Horadam range. These do not significantly outperform cheaper gouache in general appearance or functionality, but they make up for the price in long term stability. If you plan to scan your art for prints/product design/website work etc. you may find this extra expense unnecessary.
Schmincke Horadam Gouache swatch cards:
Schmincke DESIGNERS Gouache swatch cards:
If you'd like to see how each color compares to the same pigment from another brand, check out the pigment database.
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