Schmincke Horadam Watercolor Review Color Chart Lightfast Testing + New Granulating Special Edition 2020
Schmincke Horadam is a professional quality watercolor paint from Germany. They have a huge fan base as one of the leading manufacturers of both watercolor and acrylic paints, metallic powders and mediums. All of the products I've tried by Schmincke have had a very high quality, but also a pretty hefty price tag. Part of this is location, as these paints are quite expensive after importing when compared to other brands here in the USA. When you can find a sale though, they are absolutely lovely paints.
Their watercolor paint is not vegan, it contains ox gall usually obtained from the gallbladder of cows. This is not super common with modern watercolors (some brands like Winsor & Newton and Roman Szmal also do this). It contains cholesterol which is mainly used to increase flow. Even with this additive, I find these paints to be very well behaved, sometimes surprisingly staying where you put them. They are highly pigmented, re-wet easily from tube or pan, and come in a huge range of 140+ colors.
They offer several unique colors, my personal favorite being the heavily granulating Mahogany Brown Pbr33. They have a lovely deep version of Potter's Pink PR233, which I could only find from three other major brands worldwide including Daniel Smith (a more granulating, but harder to re-wet version), Winsor & Newton (who offers a slightly different shade) and MaimeriBlue (which I do not recommend due to poor quality control).
------------ I am currently working on a complete full range brand overview, with all 140+ colors from their catalog swatched, lightfast tested with a breakdown of the most unique colors. Until then, here are several limited-edition release spotlight videos. If a limited release is no longer available, most of the colors should still be obtainable individually or by mixing them yourself (the special edition granulating colors were all convenience mixtures, and I show how to mix them in the video). -----------
You can check to see which colors are currently available to purchase at Jackson's website here.
New colors for 2020 include 15 special edition granulating colors. These are convenience mixtures of pigments prone to color separation and granulation texture. There was some general confusion online about the term "Super Granulating" (as marketed on websites like Jackson's art supplies) from the German description "supergranulierende" which Schmincke explained as meaning "normally granulating colors take on a new appearance when 2 or more are used at once". For example, in glacier green "super" is their way of saying you can see teal and pink, instead of normally only getting one color at once. Some expected this to mean abnormally strong granulation, but it's really normal granulation adding color separation.
Jackson's should have clearly elaborated upon what Schmincke meant in English in a way that didn't set unrealistic expectations. To be fair, these ARE mixtures of Schmincke's most granulating pigments, exactly as if you had mixed them yourself. None of the paint tubes say "super" anywhere, and all of the swatch representations online appear to be accurate.
As anyone who has played with Daniel Smith paints knows, these do not quite compare to the granulation or color separation of some of their colors. I do not believe these are similar enough to be compared to Daniel Smith's rare mineral paints (completely different ingredients available no where else) or their color separating mixtures that contain non-granulating colors (which have strong masstones due to using phthalo blue in cascade green, or the pv19 violet in royal purple). These are different enough to be like comparing apples to oranges in this situation. Instead, appreciate these for what they are - mixtures of mostly opaque cobalts and earth browns. PG50 Cobalt Turquoise, PBr33 Mahogany Brown and PR233 Potters Pink being the real stars of this show. I do wish they hadn't made so many similar blue mixes with ultramarine pb29 though, because these were the most bland, least color separating ones of the bunch:
In limited or special edition sets, they often include alternate mica based metallic colors that are not part of their permanent catalog.
------ Current swatch card progress for their 140+ color catalog below. -----
See details on how these paints perform, including pigment ingredients, wet on wet wash, salt reaction, lifting, opacity, staining, lightfast ratings, masstone to diluted etc. on the following swatch cards:
Where to buy?
If you'd like to see the swatch cards organized by color, to compare them to other brands check out the pigment database. I have separated each brand's paints to show them side by side with other examples of the same pigment.