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Friday, July 22, 2011

Gouache, again...

We posted recently about the new Caran d'Ache gouache paints, after Ruth asked what I thought of them and how they compared to other brands...

I hadn't tried them, but of course after reading about them, I HAD to...I didn't have exactly the same colors, so tried to use comparable for my tests, above.

At top is Caran d'Ache, next down is Pelikan, which I used to use a lot when I wanted portability, and at bottom a combination of various brands of artist-grade gouaches from M. Graham, Holbein, and Horadam, mostly, with a few old Winsor & Newton.

My old Pelikan didn't fare that well, in comparison to the Caran--even pre-wet, as I did all of them, it didn't lift and mix as readily, and the pigment is more transparent.  (That's a Cadmium-ish yellow in upper right on the Pelikan page.

This was a plein air gouache painting from a few years back...

...and this appeared in Country Living magazine...state flowers!
I was using my old Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache on both of these above...I think they worked beautifully!

Of course weight is still an issue with me, as well as permanence and pigment density.  The Caran box is quite a bit heavier than any of my home made gouache palettes, as well as being considerably larger.  it weighs 13.5 ounces, my newer W&N converstion weighs 5, and the tiny box you see here weighs 2.5 ounces.

The new Caran d'Ache box is on the bottom...it'll probably stay home in the studio!

Meanwhile, Ruth wrote to Caran d'Ache for information...and kindly shared it with us!  It seems the new colors are not as lightfast as I prefer, so I'll mostly stick with my home made gouache sets for professional work and keep the big new toy for journaling!

Here is their helpful post:

Indeed in the past the boxes for this product were in plastic, now they are in metal. You can have these boxes in set of 8 or 15 colors. These sets are mostly used in schools in Switzerland and abroad. It is part of our Studio/Fancolor/Hobby line. This product contains a highly dense pigmentary concentration, in comparison to other products of this kind on the market.
Even though the product is of our Studio and Fancolor line, it is used by many professionals in all kind of artwork.

However the light fastness is not as high as the one of products from our artist line.


Here is also our web page for this product.
We hope this answers your question and thank you for your interest in our products.
With our Best Regards,

Daniela Costé
Caran d'Ache SA
Responsable Service clientèle
19, chemin du Foron
1226 Thônex-Genève
Tél. +41 22 869 01 15

Thank you, Ruth, for sharing with us!


  1. HOLY COW!!!! I remmber seeing that wreath of flowers in CL magazine a few years back and loving it...and probably saving it. And here I am on your blog now! LOL! Who knew???

  2. LOL, Ellen! It WAS colorful, wasn't it!

  3. I had the same problem with the Daran D'ache set, being to big and bulky. Here is what I did to it and fixed my problem: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61147934@N02/sets/72157627258009262/
    PS:Great blog (and book), keep up the good work!

  4. That's brilliant! I even have an empty tin...hmmmmm....

    And thank you!

  5. Thank you very much for the effort you put into this, Kate. And Miss Cranbourne's input was great. Ruth

  6. You're welcome, Ruth...that's what we're here for. And thank you so much for sharing the letter from Caran d'Ache!

  7. Time well spent… I enjoyed reading and viewing your artistic journals on gouache. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Thank you, Sandra--I can't seem to resist researching materials and supplies! Roz Stendahl uses gouache a LOT, you might check out rozworks.com to see many of her journal entries.

  9. I'm confused: if I use these caran d'ache paints for a painting, how do I keep it from fading if it's not lightfast?

  10. The bottom line is that you don't. There's UV-resistant glass you can use, which helps, but things that aren't lightfast WILL fade, with time and exposure. If you just want to play, or use them in your journal, it's not a big problem. For a painting you plan to hang, I wouldn't count on this brand.

  11. Hmm, that sounds rather poor quality - & not what I expected when I ordered a caran d'ache gouache pan set. I'll see if I can cancel it.

  12. It's nice for play, but some sites seemed to suggest it was more for children, that's why I included all the information.


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