Shinhan Professional Watercolor Review + Lightfast Test PWC SWC PASS Hybrid Gouache and KOREAN COLOR paint types

ShinHan Art is a Korean paint company that manufactures many types of watercolor, gouache, poster paints and acrylics in tubes. I will be reviewing their gum arabic based watercolor (PWC AND SWC are the same product labeled for distribution in different countries), PASS hybrid-gouache paint, and the KOREAN COLOR which is a traditional paint made for rice and mulberry paper that uses gelatin and glue for the binder instead of gum arabic.

LIGHTFASTNESS WARNING: ShinHan loves to use pigments aimed at "designers" (book art/magazine/product/prints). They offer lots of bright vibrant/strong colors, neons, pastels etc. allowing you to paint with nearly any color you can imagine (including artificially bright ones, these are not limited to stable earth pigments). They offer unreliable pigments that most other brands avoid (PR3, PR9, PR12, PR23, PR48:1, PR83, PO13, PO16, PG8, PV3, NBr8, PB66, PY17, PY83 and neon dyes in their "bright" colors like BV11, BR12). That being said, they do make paints that are pleasant to use and very affordable. If you are using a lot of paint for personal projects, practice, sketchbooks or for art that will be scanned for prints, digital art etc. ShinHan may be a good fit for you. I can't recommend this brand for artists primarily hanging their traditional art or selling originals.


---- Image comparing different set types coming soon ---


I do not use their lesser grade paints in a blue box often labeled simply as shinhan professional, as those are a slightly lesser quality than their PWC line. I would just call them student grade, but ShinHan has made this very unclear. I also do not recommend their kid's bargain paints called ShaMi, because Miya and Pretty Excellent have such nice alternatives. 


Regarding ShinHan SWC or PWC (PWC is how this paint is labeled for distribution outside of Korea) these professional watercolor paints contain a high pigment load and perform well. Their major draw back is that they often include fugitive colors aimed at designers/print reproduction. Below is a color chart and lightfast test result from the 32 tube set. I'll also be doing detailed swatch cards with pigment and lightfast information as an expanded color chart further down the page.


Shin Han Art SWC Tubes Watercolor Swatch Lightfast Review


Shinhan watercolors "SWC" version review and lightfast test. Please note that they do have other qualities of paint, this one is the artist grade professional quality type. It's easy to get confused with their "Shinhan Professional logo labeled" blue box watercolors of a lesser quality. Each tube is 15ml, the standard large size for watercolors. They are made in South Korea and are the main competitor of Mission Gold brand.


They average just a few dollars per tube, compared to the average of $10 to $15 per tube of most brands of professional quality watercolors. The pigment load, water dispersion, lifting, packaging and overall quality was excellent.


Shin Han Art Professional SWC Watercolor Swatch Chart Lightfast Review


Verdict: 9 fugitive colors, 23 lightfast colors. Close in comparison to the amount of lightfast paints in the Mission Gold sets. However, I prefer Mission Gold for color intensity and pigment load. If you are able to find both Shinhan and Mission Gold sets available for similar prices, the Mission Gold paints can be diluted to last a touch longer than the Shinhan set would. Some reviews have commented that they prefer Shinhan's slightly more subtle color selection, however I would argue that all it takes is a little extra water to make your Mission Gold paints less vibrant in color. Mission Gold re-wets remarkably easily, therefore lending itself to deeper value masstones even when working with dried pans. Overall Mission Gold carries slightly more lightfast colors throughout their line, particularly in their "pure pigments" box sets. Those are different than their cheaper variety tube sets that contain cheaper pigments and a lot of multi-pigment convenience mixtures.


Lightfast Test of Shinhan professional artist watercolor set swatch



You can also find Shinhan PWC INDIVIDUAL TUBES on Jackson's website:



Swatch cards for PWC/SWC Professional grade ShinHan watercolors with a gum arabic binder:


PR108 Shin Han PWC SWC Cadmium Red Deep water color colour art pigment swatch card example light tutorial PB27 Shinhan Watercolor Prussian Blue Swatch Card PG8 Shinhan PWC SWC Watercolor Sap Green Art Pigment Database PG8 Shinhan PWC SWC Watercolor Hooker's Green Art Pigment Database PR101 ShinHan PWC SWC Pro Watercolor Red Light lightfast test swatch card art color pigment database water PBr25 Shinhan Pro PWC SWC Brown Red water color pigment swatch card image art granulate separate NBr8 ShinHan Pro SWC PWC Van Dyke Brown natural pigment art fugitive water color colour swatch card example lightfast 


--- TYPE 2: Korean Color (gansai type glue binder, not gum arabic) ---
ShinHan Korean Color Set A (24 color chart) swatch cards:

ShinHan korean color art watercolor paint animal glue gansai binder mulberry rice traditional paper

Gorgeous, highly pigmented, easily re-wet, vibrant colors. A pleasure to paint with. Unfortunately, as expected, 9 of 24 colors in this set are prone to fading. Most of which were appropriately rated as LF ** of **** stars, or roughly LFIII ASTM. Some colors fade worse in tints / diluted than in their masstone. Color names are at the top as well as the detailed swatch cards further down the page. I have noted the pigments in the problematic colors that had the worst fading in this 1 year long window lightfast test. If you're looking for a list of fugitive pigments to avoid (or check your collection for) I have a fugitive list page here.

Shinhan korean color gansai watercolor lightfast test fugitive fading paint

"Korean Color" is their paint made with water soluble glue binder, instead of tree-sap gum arabic. This is a traditional Korean formula. These are made like traditional gansai paints, typically using bone or hide glue (not a vegan friendly product). These paints are made to be used on mulberry or rice paper, but work fine on watercolor paper. I was nervous that the type of glue binder would make these paints hard to reactivate once dry in a pan, or harder to lift once on paper, but this is not the case. They were incredibly dry-pan friendly and you can see the staining is normal based on the type of pigments used on the cards below.


ShinHan KOREAN COLOR (glue binder) swatch cards:

PY3 Shinhan Korean Color A Yellow Light Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PY83 Shinhan Korean Color A Yellow Deep Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PBr24 Shinhan Korean Color A Yellow Ochre Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PO20 Shinhan Korean Color A Orange Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PR3 Shinhan Korean Color A Carmine 2 Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PR48:1 PR108 Shinhan Korean Color A Scarlet Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart  PR3 PR184 Shinhan Korean Color A Crimson 2 Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PR3 PR12 Shinhan Korean Color A Crimson 1 Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PV3 Shinhan Korean Color A Red Violet Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart  PV23 Shinhan Korean Color A Violet Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PB29 PB66 Shinhan Korean Color A Indigo Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PB29 Shinhan Korean Color A Ultramarine Blue Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PY3 PG7 PG19 PW18 Shinhan Korean Color A Opal Green Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PY3 PY37 PG7 Shinhan Korean Color A Green Light Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PB15:3 PY3 PG7 Shinhan Korean Color A Blue Green Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PY3 PBr7 Shinhan Korean Color A Greenish Yellow Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PG7 PG8 PY17 Shinhan Korean Color A Sap Green Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PG7 PG8 PY17 Shinhan Korean Color A Green Dark Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PY119 Shinhan Korean Color Watercolor Raw Sienna Pigment Database Color Chart  PR101 PO20 Shinhan Korean Color A Burnt Sienna Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart  PBr7 Shinhan Korean Color A Raw Umber Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PBr7 Shinhan Korean Color A Burnt Umber Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PBk9 Shinhan Korean Color A Black 1 Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart PW18 Shinhan Korean Color A White Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart


You can find the Korean colors set below. 


They also make ShinHan PASS, a hybrid of gouache and watercolor similar to Mission White Class by Mijello.

------------video review in progress------------


ShinHan PASS (designer gouache hybrid watercolors) swatch cards:

---coming soon---

I purchased all of my ShinHan paints on Amazon. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can also find them on Jackson's website, which also offers many colors individually.

If you would like to see how ShinHan paints compare to other brands, be sure to check out the pigment database page. You can view each swatch card next to another brand's same color.


Note: this page contains affiliate links. All product opinions are my own. I am committed to honest reviews showcasing both the pros and cons of each product. I have not received payment from any brand for a review. I earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Arteza, Scrapbook, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites.