Monday, March 15, 2021

My Latest Obsession: Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors

A different method of painting...

I'm no artist, but the one thing my dad taught me at the age of 2... before piano, and before reading and writing... was drawing. And he was quite an avid painter in his younger years so I grew up with an obsessive love for art and aesthetics in general.

So I've been spending more time painting on paper than on my face recently. And one of my favorite things to do is swatching paints, sheering them, and blending them. Watching the colors swirl and dance and bleed across the paper, learning to let go, not overblend, and allow the pigments show their own character is so therapeutic. Not unlike makeup.

Anyway my latest babies are 2 Japanese Kuretaki Gansai Tambi palettes, one the basic range in 36 shades (about S$48 on Lazada, which is close to $10 cheaper than at Art Friend locally), and a special non-standard edition of 12 colors ($24 from Art Friend) which I picked up in-store because I noticed none of the shades were an overlap with the main sets. These seem to be very "Spring-like" colors but I can't find any English label with a name I can discern.


A quick Google will return tons of information and videos showing how Gansai Tambi colors differ from standard western watercolors, and how best to use them. They have a more vivid tone in many cases, and higher opacity, but they aren't matte like Gouache. 

My favorite thing besides the vibrancy and high contrast (you can get the colors very intense very easily, and you need the tiniest amount if you want a light wash of color), is the shade range. They have all the interesting in-between greens and reds and blues that you'd usually need to blend several colors to get in standard paint sets. Ivy green, an incredible malachite aqua, prussian blue, bean red, etc. 

It's just EASIER for beginners to find distinctive tones for nature-painting and fantasy art, without fussing with a ton of blending. 

Have you played with any of these and which are your favorite palettes or colors?


  1. I never knew that Gansai Tambi colors differ from standard western watercolors, it is such an amazing and information. Thanks for sharing this beautiful information, really appreciate the efforts....Duvim Chat

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