We have a new range of paints at Jackson’s!
ShinHan Pass is designed to be used thickly as a gouache or diluted with a lot of water as a watercolour. Because it can be diluted so much and still be colourful this paint goes a long way. It comes out of the tube creamy and ready to use as gouache, thick and opaque but smooth and spreadable, even with a dry brush. Picking up just a bit of colour with a wet brush adds a small amount of water and so gives you a thin gouache or a thick watercolour, that flows very smoothly. Further dilution gives you watercolour, by using a very wet brush with a speck of colour you will have a transparent and lighter colour.
Shin Han Pass takes its name from a subway or metro pass. Like a travel pass that allows access to unlimited modes of transportation, ShinHan Pass allows both transparent and opaque techniques to be realised from a single tube. The low amount of gum arabic and glycerin in this paint makes brush strokes more free and colours appear more saturated. The artist quality colours are lightfast.
ShinHan Pass Design Hybrid Colours are so highly pigmented that you need to get used to using a smaller amount of paint. The strength shocked some of our testers who had trouble using less than they normally would and found it difficult to adjust.
My speculation is that ShinHan Pass has achieved a paint that can be opaque when thick and truly transparent when watered down because they have not added chalk to create the opacity but rather have just added a huge amount of pigment to the paint. This would also explain why it is so strong.
To get to know the paints and to see if they do what they claim I tried the paints in some sketches. I also wanted to see what they are like compared to the same make, ShinHan, but in their watercolour and to see how they compare to other makes of gouache and watercolour so I did some comparison tests. I found that both Pass and the gouache are very opaque when painted thickly, but the two makes of watercolours come close. The Pass made a nice transparent light colour better than the gouache brand. The lifting of colour was similar in all of them. See full results later in the article.
I love the texture of the paint, especially in the middle dilution zone, using lots of water and a medium amount of paint. It flows beautifully and a brush load seems to last forever. I like the plastic tubes that don’t crush as you squeeze them or have that pressure inside that causes metal tubes to ‘over-squirt’, where you try to get the paint back in the tube but it ends up all inside the cap. The only drawback I found is a staining that occurs if you use it thick like gouache and then wet it to draw it out like watercolour – the original line might remain. One other thing to consider is that the colour range is good at 48 colours but is not huge so you will need to use your colour mixing skills. The low amount of binder means it is not particularly suited for glazing as the first layers will be disturbed by the next layer, though this is less pronounced when the first layers are thin.
Making this unfinished painting of nasturtium leaves in the garden at The Maker’s Yard in Walthamstow was the first time I tried the ShinHan Pass paints. I didn’t know what to expect and found I thoroughly enjoyed painting, there was no frustration and no difficulties. The paint was transparent when it was watery and the opacity of it when it was thick let me paint on top of parts I wanted to add more colour to. It just seemed natural to use it this way. I added and subtracted and thinned without worrying about what I was doing and it all went smoothly. My only problem was that I had to stop painting to talk to some people and was never able to return to that painting.
I did a quick sketch yesterday – I grabbed an apple from the table and did a sketch with the ShinHan Pass. The shadow in this sketch is a good example of how it works well as watercolour.
I wanted to know how the ShinHan Pass compared to the ShinHan Watercolour. I also wanted to know how it compared to another Gouache, I chose Winsor & Newton because then I could also compare the Winsor & Newton Gouache to the Winsor & Newton Watercolour, so I could compare the two comparisons.
I had 6 colours from the ShinHan Pass range: Burnt Umber, Sap Green, Cerulean Blue Hue, Permanent Yellow, Permanent Red and Permanent Violet. So I chose the same or nearest colours in ShinHan Watercolour, Winsor & Newton Gouache and Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour.
I made up charts on Not-texture watercolour paper with a black marker line to help see opacity. I painted patches of colour to see:
- what it looked like brushed right from the tube
- what it looked like thinned with a lot of water
- a wash where I wet the paper and then brushed paint at the top and tilted the paper to let it run.
- how well colour lifts. I dabbed a folded paper towel edge in the centre of a medium thick painted patch.
Please note that yellows are hard to photograph and are not accurate in saturation.
You can see that both gouaches are very opaque when painted thickly, but the watercolours come close.
It was hard to get a nice transparent light colour in the Winsor Gouache but the Pass hybrid did it well.
I’m not sure that the tilted wash tells us very much.
The lifting was similar in all of them, perhaps the least in the Winsor Gouache. The Pass Cerulean Blue Hue appears to be staining and it was the least lift-able colour in the Pass set.
Comparison of Paint Extension
I compared the same four paints to see how far the colour would extend. I put a small bit of paint on the paper and brushed it out with a dry brush, then another with a small amount of water and a third with a great deal of water.
You can see that a small amount of the ShinHan Pass paint extends out to a great wash.
Other Artists’ Reviews
We sent a set of 6 colours to some artists to get their take on the new paints.
As a mixed media artist my base material is acrylic paint. I like its immediacy, texture and versatility. My favourite work is done in response to land and sea when I can get out of Bristol. The capturing of a moment. I love to experiment with materials and on occasion use watercolours and some old gouache that sits in a drawer most of the time, so waited with excitement for my ShinHan Pass paint to arrive.
Possibly because I don’t use watercolours on a regular basis, and being a kind of impatient get it down quick painter, I was surprised by the selection of colours: permanent red, permanent yellow, violet, burnt umber, cerulean and sap green. I found myself slowly mixing small squares of colour, a couple of new colours a day, and remembering old colour mixing knowledge, looking at the different transparencies and colours from vibrant to subtle. The colour selection made sense and produced rich and varied mixes. As a watercolour paint, ShinHan Pass dilutes well, the tinting strength is good and it seems very economical. As a gouache, the colours have complete opacity when undiluted, giving marks and brush strokes while also strong enough to use with printing blocks. Applied very thickly, as I would acrylic, it cracks on drying. This can be useful at times and not at others, but the pigments are strong enough to mix well with acrylic mediums – I mixed it with both iridescent and fine grain medium to good effect. The paint has a creamy consistency and works well on card and canvas as well as on watercolour paper. I also tried using it on a base of white emulsion, as well as plaster, meaning that I could scrape back into the paint and use the watercolour properties to layer the colours and the gouache properties for stronger colour.
I will definitely continue to use ShinHan Pass paint, certainly I am very happy with the colour intensity and its versatility and will particularly use it when travelling by train with a need to keep things minimal – with some acrylic medium and a few extras…I like to mix my materials. I will also use it on days when I need to operate at a slower pace which personally I will find very useful and a new way of working.
As a watercolour they are very different to the paints I am used to, Winsor & Newton. I found that the colours/pigments were very much stronger than ‘normal’ watercolour and the transparency not as good. The pigments of the ShinHan Pass tended to ‘stain’ the paper and were very difficult to work with in the usual way I work with watercolour.
In my opinion, ShinHan Pass paints are much better as a gouache than a watercolour.
The flower painting I provided an image of frustrated me! I just couldn’t get the lightness and delicacy of colour of the flowers that would have been easy with normal watercolour.
The consistency of ShinHan Pass paint is similar to watercolour out of the tube, perhaps a bit more loose and liquid than Winsor & Newton, therefore tends to come out of the tube in a bit of spurt. But it is smooth and spreads well.
Overall I have to say I did not particularly like ShinHan Pass for the kind of paintings that I like to paint – it doesn’t suit my style or my preferred subjects. However, other artists who like to work with very strong and bright colours will probably like it much more than I do.
When I received these paints to review I was intrigued. A hybrid paint? A paint that can perform as watercolour, gouache, even acrylic? How can this be so? I was also a little apprehensive as I’m certainly no watercolour artist. I paint in heavy body acrylic and rely on a butter consistency to create texture. Watercolours and gouaches are only kept in the travel easel for outdoor sketching so I was well outside any painterly comfort zone.
The consistency of the paint is slightly viscous and very gouache like. I first attempted a few wash sketches to see how it would perform as a watercolour. A little paint goes a long way but once diluted, transparent washes build up very cleanly. I tested with a set of six colours and each one was intense and true. Mixing colours was slightly tricky and again, you have to remember to dilute very well to stay in watercolour mode.
As a gouache, the paints worked very well as they are highly opaque when undiluted. In fact they’re so opaque that it’s easy to slip into the acrylic zone without realizing it, so a little dilution was necessary to keep a ‘flat’ surface. I was impressed with the texture, surprising in a paint so fluid.
These paints are a very useful hybrid – a great, multifaceted addition to any tool kit and definitely useful for ‘en plein air’ painting as you can adapt them as the mood takes you. (Remember to take a lot of water not just for dilution but the high pigment content means extra brush washing)! I also think the versatility of these paints would perform very well for mixed media artists as they would work well in their various dilutions with collage.
Perhaps not a replacement for the paints we all know and love, but definitely one to keep nearby for when you need a very accomplished jack of all trades.
– This paint works well as a watercolour – the paint is high quality and the pigment granulates as you would expect with high quality watercolour, the paint becoming extremely transparent and easy to spread when diluted with water. The only issue was in “lifting out” the paint – it was very strong and dyed the paper to such an extent it was harder than straight watercolour to “lift out”.
– This paint also works well as gouache – colours were beautifully vibrant and dried to a matt finish, I was able to paint light colours over previously darker areas.
– The paint works equally well diluted as a watercolour or with little water as a strong gouache. The only disadvantage was I couldn’t lift the paint out when I worked areas with a brush and blotted them – it was hard to get back to any white paper – just a slight fading happened. So when I wanted to soften dried edges it was more difficult than with a traditional watercolour.
– If you like using watercolour and gouache together in an artwork this paint is ideal because the same colour can be used throughout the painting in different strengths. The disadvantage is that once dry, it is more difficult to manipulate and soften sharp edges.
– I am very impressed with the quality of this paint and will definitely use it in the future – it flows beautifully and enables watery washes or strong matt flat areas with the same paint so it is extremely versatile. The colour is glowing and the artists quality pigment means a little goes a long way, there is no cheap filler, it looks very pure.
– The colours are intense and vibrant (see point 7) – the only drawback is the names on the tubes which do not explain which pigment is in them. However colour index pigment numbers are given so these can be looked up. For instance “Cerulean blue” turned out to behave more like a phthalo blue and “permanent red” was discovered to be a Naphthol red.
– The paint flows beautifully with a smooth consistency whether watered down or used quite like gouache – there is no glycerine type feel as with some high quality watercolors. It dries with a slightly matt look.
Click on the underlined link to go to the current offer on the ShinHan Pass Design Hybrid Colours on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website.
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