review

Matteo Grilli Watercolor

3D713EEB-1A6D-459D-97C8-12A822AF294F.jpeg

Matteo Grilli

Maker Matteo
Location Brisbane, Australia
Website Matteo Grilli Wildlife Art: Handmade Watercolour Paints
Etsy? Wildlife Watercolour Art Handmade Watercolour by MatteoGrilliArt
Average Price per Pan $10.52
Specialization Simply high quality watercolors for the professional watercolor artist
Number of Colors 10
Opacity? transparent colors are very transparent, and opaque colors are appropriately opaque
Special or Exclusive Colors An Indian Yellow with PY153
Pigment Information? Yes
Ingredients Schmincke pigment, Gum Arabic, Honey and Essential Oil of Clove
Vegan? No

Note from the Maker

I have been painting with watercolours for 23 years and I have been making watercolour paints for the last four years. Every batch of paint is hand-mixed on the glass slab for no less than one hour non-stop. These handmade watercolour paints feel very smooth on the brush and on the paper. All paints are very lightfast.

Swatches

Overview

A talented professional artist himself, Matteo makes these paints for his own use and eventually decided to share them with others.

In a sense they are very simple. Only 10 colors. Single pigment. Nothing fancy.

But there is something to be said for a line that simply focuses on quality and utility. You can see in the way these paints shine in his own paintings come out where his focus is. The end result. Beautiful paintings.

You can see how careful he is in the creation of his watercolors in videos he has produced and blog posts explaining the topic.

Pros

  • Extremely well made paints
  • Color payoff is great even from dot cards
  • Includes all colors necessary for nearly all paintings in the range
  • Perfect for the painter who simply wants their paints to do their job well

Cons

  • Packaging is not fancy or cute
  • Line does not include a very wide range, and is very orthodox

Who is it for?

These pains are best suited to the painter who simply wants to get their job done with very high-quality paint. There are no glitter paints. There are no multi pigment colors. Just a few single pigment colors.

Mateo is an artist himself, and you can see that in the colors that he has made here. These are colors for a working artist. You didn’t have to worry about the pigments that he has chosen fading on you or ever worry about low pigment load. They are reliable and dependable. And of course, beautiful!

Links

Reviews

Art Supply Review: Old Holland Watercolors

Scanbot Sep 18, 2017 9.17 PM44.jpg

Old Holland is kind of a strange brand. There are not a lot of reviews of it because of its expensive price in many parts of the world. I’m lucky enough that my local art store has a full collection of this brand at fairly reasonable prices.

Handprint.com doesn’t think very much of this brand because of its lightfastness issues and its odd labeling practices. That’s totally understandable. I don’t think I would ever recommend this brand to a beginner.

The pigments are definitely pure. They claimed that they include twice as much pigment as other brands, and that might be true. However, the binder for these paints is what makes it different from all other paints, and calm cause problems for a new or experienced watercolor artist. The binder has been described as gummy and sticky. And the paints lift extremely easily.

Not normally something that you’d associate with a high-grade artist quality watercolor brand.

Despite all of that, I love these paints!

Background

Many artists don’t like Old Holland watercolors. They say that they are too gummy , too thick, and too difficult to rewet. And all of these things are true to a certain extent. The colors do not stay still on the page, and lift extremely easily. All of these things can easily be considered negative points.

But there is one thing that I think is important to realize about these watercolors. They are really gansai.

Pseudo-Gansai

Okay, or at least they are basically gansai or very similar to gansai.

At my local art store, I picked up this pamphlet talking about Old Holland watercolors that comes directly from the company. Here is what it says.

Old Holland Classic watercolour
These watercolours combine the best qualities of the original colours as used by the Chinese masters. All 168 colours are lightfast. The old fashioned Chinese binder accepts more pigment. This binder is based on distilled water, bleeched cristal arable gums, pure glycerine 99.9% with various mixtures of different natural sugar syrups,special selected honey, rabbit skin glue, rosin varnish (made from roots), seaweed extract, mhyr, etc. The colours tend to be considerably stronger than normal artist’s watercolours, while retaining the transparency required to produce the most delicate hues. Due to the higher level of pigmentation the intensity and brilliance is superior, while less quantity of paint is required to make the artwork.

Pamphlet

Okay, so what does that sound like? If you have read my blog post about Gansai, this will all sound very familiar.

And it makes sense. The Dutch were one of the few countries that were able to trade with the Chinese and the Japanese in the 17th century. You have probably heard of the Dutch East India Company, haven’t you?

Gansai is a Japanese art medium, but many of Japanese traditional arts have their roots Chinese culture. I don’t know what the Chinese word for gansai is, but I’m pretty sure that is what is going on here with these Old Holland watercolors.

So the characteristics fit. They lift easily, they are extremely vibrant, and extremely pigmented. The only thing that seems to be different is that the colors also mix with absolutely no problems.

Also, it is important to note that this binder is the main reason why old Holland colors have a bit of a lightfastness problem in some formulations. Some of the binder combinations that Old Holland uses yellow over time.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness varying lightfastness, I would not trust the lightfastness rating given by Old Holland
Where Is It Made? Holland
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) No pigment number or other information on the tube, also the label does not match the color inside at all
Tube size 6 mL
Price US$6 - US$22

Colors Reviewed

  • GOLDEN BAROK RED – PO 65
  • SCHEVENINGEN YELLOW LIGHT – PY 174
  • ULTRAMARINE BLUE DEEP – PB 29

Swatches

These colors are all extremely vibrant. They are surprisingly transparent, and every single one of them is extremely lifting. I have never seen colors that lifted as easily as this. You could put a drop of water on the paint and it would completely come off the page.

This can actually be really frustrating when you’re painting because you can basically erase the entire thing depending on what paper you are using.

This Ultramarine Blue Deep is my favorite ultramarine. The granulation is absolutely gorgeous and unlike the granulation I have seen in any other brand. I will definitely be buying more of this.

Scheveningen Yellow Light is now my favorite warm yellow. It’s transparent, and just glows.

Mixing

The colors mixed together extremely well. They harmonize and have a lot of movement when used wet in wet. The painting that I did using these colors has a sort of gentle harmony to it.

Re-wetting

This is where these colors fall down. Because of the binder, it’s extremely difficult to rewet these pains in comparison to other artistry paints. You have to add water to them before the pigment will come off of the pan.

Glazing and Layering

I don’t use these paints when I am planning to do a lot of layers. Or at least I don’t use them on the bottom layers, particularly because of that issue with listing. These colors don’t stay down very well. They always want to come off the page if there is any sort of agitation on top.

So I normally only use these paints if I am going to be doing a painting that doesn’t require a lot of layers, or if I want to use them on top of already painted layers.

They glaze well, and are very vibrant.

Vibrancy

Extremely vibrant, obviously full of pigment. Beautiful. There are variations of tone within each color.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Extremely High Pigment Load No pigment information on the tube
The Most Beautiful Granulation Difficult to Rewet
Very Vibrant Lifts easily
Unique Pigments Extremely Expensive
Questionable Lightfastness
Strange Names
The line is full of overly complicated convenience mixes

Who is it for?

Obviously not a reasonable person.

Not for anyone who is a stickler about single pigment paints or lightfastness.

I will probably continue buying these pains, but I will attempt to be aware of the limitations of the paint and careful about the lightfastness.

This brand is definitely a “luxury” brand if you think about the price and the lack of functionality. This isn’t really a brand that you go to for consistency or predictable quality. This is a brand that you go to because there’s just something about it that you love, despite all of the negative aspects.

So this is for somebody who has already tried artist grade watercolors, and is already very comfortable with them, and wants to be a little silly with their paints.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★
  • Quality: ★★★
  • Overall: ★★

Official Website

Availability

In Europe

Other Discussions

Art Supply Review : Mitsubishi KH20 Pencil Sharpener

This is my new favorite pencil sharpener. It’s easy. Quick. Light. Quiet. Efficient.

What else could you want?

I got this pencil sharpener specifically because I was tired of being frightened to sharpen my Caran d’Ache Museum watercolor pencils. I also thought it was probably time to upgrade since I was doing more work with graphite.

This was definitely an awesome upgrade.

Facts Where Does it Stand?
Name Mitsubishi KH 20 Handheld Pencil Sharpener
Color Black, red, blue
Type Handcrank desktop sharpener with autostop, rubber grips, blunt and long point modes
Point Type Blunt and Long point
Size 13 x 8.5 x 8 cm
Body Material Plastic
Blade Material Metal
Made In China
Price

It’s pretty surprising that this pencil sharpener is made in China, that’s not exactly what you would expect from Mitsubishi. Despite that, there’s no reason to assume that there is any kind of deficiency in quality. The sharpener is sturdy and works very smoothly.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Stabilizes pencil while sharpening Too large to travel with
Autostop Can shorten pencils a great deal
Can sharpen (slightly) larger pencils Not metal, so maybe not super sturdy?
Both long and blunt tips Sometimes sharpens a bit off center
Huge waste receptacle, with viewing hole Does not include desk clamp, must be purchased separately
Fairly quiet
Includes a hole for a desk clamp
Easy disassembly for repairs or troubleshooting
Rubberized base for stability
Rubberized clamps do not damage pencils

Who is it for?

This sharpener is ideal for anybody who just wants to get a good tip every time with no fuss. They are sharpeners that give a sharper point, but not much sharper. If you don’t want to spend time fussing around with those, this is perfect. You could go through an entire collection of pencils in a few minutes and have consistent results.

Since the cutting mechanism is not entirely made out of metal, I wonder just how long the blades will remain sharp. I’m not sure if there is a replacement available.

The blunt tip is an interesting added feature. It’s probably not interesting for most pencil users, but for artists who use colored pencils, it can be helpful to have a broader tip sometimes.

I have seen it recommended that after sharpening several colored pencils, it’s a good idea to sharpen a graphite pencil to make sure that the blades are not excessively dulled.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★
  • Quality: ★★★★
  • Overall: ★★★★

I don’t think anybody could go wrong with this sharpener. It’s a good price, good quality, and it doesn’t mar your expensive pencils!

Official Website

Availability

In USA

In Europe

Other Discussions

Rotring Tikky Graphic Technical Pen | Inktober Art Supply Review

Rotring’s Radiograph and Isograph are probably the most well-known technical pens and that they had been in the market for a very long time. But how does their cheaper, non-reusable version stand up?

Facts Where Does it Stand?
Name Rotring Tikky Graphic
Color Black
Tip Size .1, .2.,.3, .4, .5, .6, .7, .8
Tip Material Metallic fibre-tip
Reusable? No
Type of ink Pigmented
Archival? Uncertain
Made In China
Price $3.50

I didn’t have any problem using these pens. The alliance that I got from them were not quite as crisp as I would prefer, even on very thick Bristol paper. Because of that, I probably wouldn’t be using them very often for delicate work.

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Drying Speed .1 mm dries in two seconds, .3 mm dries in three seconds, .5 mm dries in eight seconds
Pooling The bigger sizes will pool if left in one spot
Feathering Feathers on Bristol paper
Bleeding/Showthrough none
Appearance over Pencil normal
Waterproof yes
Copic/ Alcohol Marker proof yes
Eraserproof yes

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Line is dark black and pretty solid Bleeds on Bristol paper
Ink flows very quickly and smoothly Makes a thicker line than some other pens for the same size of tip
Ink reservoir window lets you know when the pen is running out Ink can smudge even when you think that it is dry
Copic, water, and eraser proof Bigger sizes pool ink at the end of lines

Who is it for?

Anyone who really wants a technical pen that can keep up with their fast movements. Since the ink flows very quickly, there is no stopping or sputtering of the line. This is great for anyone who doesn’t want to slow down.

However, depending on the way you like to draw, the ink might actually be too much. It bleeds a bit, and the lines are a bit thicker than normal. If you want superduper fine delicate lines, this is probably not the pen.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★
  • Quality: ★★★
  • Overall: ★★★

Official Website

Availability

In USA

In Europe

Other Discussions

Art Supply Review: M Graham Artist's Gouache

When I ran out of some colors in my Winsor and Newton gouache set I decided to try some different brands. At the top of my list was M Graham gouache. I am really happy that I decided to try these since they have definitely lived up to the artist grade gouache claims that I have heard about.

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Lightfastness 31 out of 35 colors in the line have an LF I rating of Excellent, and 4 out of 82 colors in the line have an LF II rating of Very Good. All of the colors in the line have a very high permanence rating.
Where Is It Made? USA
Identification (Color Labeling and Accuracy) The tubes have color swatches on the front that are fairly accurate. They also have the name in English, French, and German. The tubes also include the series number, like fastness rating, pigment number along with the pigment name, vehicle, and ASTM D – 4236 confirmation.
Tube size 15 mL (.5 ounces)
Price Around $5-$8 per tube

Colors Reviewed

  • Quinacridone rose – lightfastness I, PV 19
  • Hansa yellow (primary) – lightfastness II, PY3
  • Pthalocyanine blue (primary) – lightfastness I, PB 15:3
  • Raw Sienna – lightfastness I, PBr7
  • Burnt Sienna – lightfastness I, PBr7
  • Lamp Black – lightfastness I, PBk6

Swatches

There is so much pigment in these paints. It’s just totally vibrant. It’s also very clear that they do not add a new pacifiers to the payments because classically transparent pigments like Quinacridone rose and Phthalocyanine blue are not opaque unless they are applied extraordinarily thickly. That’s fine with me because you can always add white to make your pigment more opaque if you want to.

The opaque paints like raw sienna, burnt sienna, and lamp black are completely and totally opaque.

All of the colors water down very nicely and they are not chalky at all. They have a velvety matte finish that is just wonderful to look at.

Mixing

There is absolutely no problem mixing these colors. The all mixed very cleanly. Actually, there is so much pigment in some of the colors that you may need to water them down to get the shade that you desire.

Re-wetting

M Graham gouache re-wets very easily. There is no problem and the colors are not diluted. You do not need to scrub of your brush, and you can get very opaque colors with little difficulty. This is totally different from the Winsor and Newton gouache.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Lightfast Colors Not easily available outside of the United States of America
Re-wets very well Product line is not as large as some other brands, although that is probably because they focus on lightfast pigments and single pigment colors
Artist grade gouache Not all paints are completely opaque without adding white
Does not contain chalk or pacifiers
All the colors dilute extremely well
Great price

Who is it for?

Anyone and everyone who is interested in learning to paint with gouache! The colors mix beautifully. It takes a lot of the frustration that I felt with the Winsor and Newton gouache out of the painting process.

The M Graham paints are even slightly cheaper than the Windsor and Newton paints, so it seems like there are no downsides.

The Last Word

  • Price: ★★★★★
  • Quality: ★★★★★
  • Overall: ★★★★★

I love these paints. They’re the best gouache that I have ever used. I would recommend them to anyone.

The only potential downside is that it is a little more difficult to acquire these paints over here in Europe. There are only two places that I know of where they can be bought in Europe, and that’s at a more expensive price than available in the United States.

Outside of that, I don’t see any reason why anyone would be upset with these paints unless they really do not want to modify the opacity of their own paints with white.

Just Go Buy Them Already!

Availability

In Europe

Other Discussions

Art Supply Review: Winsor and Newton Watercolor Marker

I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I bought this!

Something between a watercolor marker and a Copic marker? An alternative to the Tombow dual brush? Something to allow me to do watercolor lettering without lugging around paints and water?

Well, this pen is none of those. And that's not necessarily a bad thing!

Stats

Quality Where Does it Stand?
Ergonomics/Feel It’s a bit thicker than normal pens, so that can be a bit uncomfortable.
Tip Type Felt
Firmness Medium
Ability to Flex Medium
Tip Size Broad
Sharpness Medium
Ink flow Wet
Pigmentation Dark
Self Cleaning Unknown
Bleed No bleed
Watersolubility Watersoluable / Not Waterproof
Copic/Alcohol Marker Proof Yes
Smell No smell
Lightfastness Very Lightfast
Acidity Unknown
Toxicity Non-toxic
Color Availability 36 colors

Pros

  • Holy cow! This thing is pigmented. Just like the Faber Castell Pitt pens, these watercolor markers are actually formulated with pigments. However, instead of Indian ink, these markers use the same pigments that are used in watercolor paints. I really didn't expect the color to be so intensely pigmented, but they are wonderfully deep and rich. It is a very very wet pen.

  • In terms of handling, I would say that this is somewhat like the Tombow dual brush pen but a bit stiffer. It gives wonderfully thick downstrokes.

  • This is actually meant to be a watercolor marker, and the intense pigments definitely would result in beautiful hues for painting or sketching as well as calligraphy or hand lettering.

  • The colors blend out very easily with a bit of water.

  • You might not care about this if you're not into watercolors, but the fact that each brush is labeled just like a tube of water color would be makes it really easy for me to understand what is going on inside of the brush.

  • The color label is very accurate, so you don't have to second-guess what color will be coming out on the paper.

Cons

  • The nib is nice and flexible, but only to a certain point. It seems to stop somewhere halfway up the brush, which is kind of weird.

  • The tip of the brush is not very sharp, so upstrokes are not as thin as I would like.

  • Something about the brush seems a little squishy or unstable, so it's a bit harder to control than the Tombow dual brush pen.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Actually, this was very close to having five stars. I mean, high lightfastness, non-toxic, no odor, what’s there not to like?

However, I have a bit of difficulty managing this pen in comparison to the Tombow dual brush pen, so it gets knocked down one star.

Still, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a highly pigmented, lightfast brush pen.

Other Reviews Of This Pen

Where to Get It

Official Website

Water Colour Markers | Winsor & Newton

Elsewhere