Friday 14 July 2017

Product Review Series - Watercolours | Gansai Tambi Watercolor

Hi everyone, thank you for stopping by. I hope you are having a great day.

For today's review I have the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors 12 colour palette and Starry Colors 6 colour palette. I was fortunate enough to pick these up at my local art store, and was super excited to try them out for the first time.


  • Vibrant Colours
  • Individual Pots
  • Water Reactive
  • Blends Easily
  • A little goes a long long way

Both palettes come in cardboard boxes, and though the Starry Colors (seen on the right) have the names written above the colours and on the bottom of the pots, the regular colours do not. There is only a numbering system. After that, it is anyone's guess as to what colour they might be. Sounds silly? Well, sometimes it isn't that obvious.

I opted to purchase the 12 colour palette as it was considerably less expensive than the other ones that were available and I felt it would give me a good indication as to whether or not I would like to use them. To be honest, I'm regretting my choice to be conservative here.

For testing, I stamped out the large sunflower from Lawn Fawn's "Our Friendship Grows" stamp set with CTMH's Archival Black ink on to 140lb cold press watercolour paper.

I found that the best way to "activate" these paints was to spray a bit of water on to the surface of the little tray and let it sit for about 30 seconds. 

I was then able to easily move the colour around either to pick it up directly with my brush or to transfer it to my palette sheet for mixing.

The pigment is so incredibly concentrated in these little pots and only the tiniest amount was able to go a very long way. For the three petals on the right of the flower, I used the bright yellow and a little of the light brown to muddy it up. After mixing I found I was able to fill in all three of these petals without having to "reload" my brush.  The petal at the bottom of the flower was filled in with the "Red Gold" from the Starry Colours. The amount of shimmer here - even the camera was able to pick it up - is incredible. 

The "White Gold" on the far right of the Starry Colors tray is transparent enough that you can use it over top of your project to add shimmer and shine without losing a significant amount of the original colour. So YAY!!

For this mini piece - I prepped the watercolour paper with my powder tool and stamped this floral image from Clearly Besotted's "Friends Forever" stamps set using VersaMark ink and heat embossed it with detail white embossing powder.

I enjoy using heat embossing with watercolours because it creates little walls that keeps the colour pooled together.

For the leaves I used the lighter green with a little bit of brown to move away from the brightness and towards more of a forest or mossy green shade.

I started the flowers conservatively, as I worked my way down the blossoms, I wanted to see how well the colours blended. 

I began by wetting the petal with clean water and dropping the colour in. Blue near the centre and then adding a bit of the red. I noticed as the colours came together it was like watching frost form on a window, they kind of grew together to create this lovely shade of purple.

For the final flower (bottom right) I did the same thing, then added a bit of yellow when the other colours were nearly dry. Please note: I expected to get a muddy brown colour. Because that's typically what happens when you mix yellow with purple. To my surprise and utter delight this did not happen. I allowed the petals to dry completely on their own and did nothing to move the colours around. I simply let the water do its thing.

Final Breakdown:
  • Quality vs. Price is quite good - if you are a serious dabbler or really love to use watercolours
  • Individual Pots
  • Excellent reaction to water
  • Dries quickly - both in the pots and on the papers
  • A little goes a long, long way
  • Starry Colors are transparent enough to go over other mediums to add shine
  • Re-activates after it is dry when water is applied
  • High Price point - if you are someone who doesn't use or have experience with watercolours, might not be the best place to start
  • So far been unable to find open-stock pots. Unless you're looking online, your art store may not carry these individually. Mine doesn't. 
  • Not very travel friendly - cardboard box + loose pots may equal accidents
  • No colour names for the pots
Given the opportunity, I would definitely purchase a larger palette - not because I don't like mixing, ('cause I sure do!) but because I like all the pretty colours. This 12 colour palette would be an asset in anyone's colouring arsenal, and I expect I'll be reaching for it often.

I hope you enjoyed today's review. If you have any additional information about the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolours or the Starry Colors, I would love to hear it. Please leave a message in the comments section below. If you haven't all ready, please follow me over on the right sidebar so you don't miss any future reviews or project posts.

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