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.
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.
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.
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.
"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:
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.
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ShinHan PASS (designer gouache hybrid watercolors) swatch cards:
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.pigment database page. You can view each swatch card next to another brand's same color.