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Do you know what granulating and super-granulating watercolours are?

Have you ever noticed some of your watercolour paints looking a bit pale or grainy? In this blog Schmincke themselves are going to explain to you what granulating and supergranulating watercolours are. You’ll be able to find out which colours are granulating, how to mix your own granulating watercolours and learn what granulating spray can do to your watercolour paints.


Granulating and supergranulating watercolours are gaining more and more importance in watercolour painting. The surface effect of these special shades is slightly different from that of normal-flowing watercolours. You might think that the colours look pale, but this is exactly the effect desired for certain techniques.


In the Schmincke standard HORADAM watercolour assortment of 140 finest watercolours, 22 colours are granulating. In addition, Schmincke developed 5 series of each 5 colours which are supergranulating. In the following, you will find detailed information on what is granulation of watercolours, the difference between granulating and supergranulating colours as well as information tips for application.

So, what is behind the term granulating?

Granulation is the property of pigments to agglomerate on the paper. This has two different causes:

  1. heavy pigment particles, such as cobalt or manganese, settle in the paper indentations.
  2. light pigment particles settle together due to attraction. In general, many traditional pigments (cobalt, earth pigments, etc.) tend to granulate more than modern inorganic pigments.


This also explains why they are in the Schmincke HORADAM® watercolour assortment, comparatively many granulating colours in e.g. blue or brown colours and no or hardly any granulating colours e.g. in yellow and red shades.

22 colours of HORADAM® watercolour are granulating and marked with a G in the colour chart, including popular colours such as Potters Pink (370), Manganese Violet (474), French Ultramarine (493), Cobalt Azure (483), Cobalt Turquoise (509), Cobalt Green dark (533), Raw Umber (667), Hematite Black (789).

Effect amplification: How do you mix yourself supergranulating colours?

To enhance the granulating effect and achieve unusual colour shifts, simply mix two, or more granulating colours. We recommend you so tests beforehand as some colours are more dominant (opaque colours, such as Cobalt turquoise), others have a weaker effect (translucent colours, such as Potters Pink). Depending on the mixing ratio and colouristic similarity/diversity, the colour change effect also varies.


Try the following combinations from the HORADAM® watercolour range:

Potters Pink (370) + Cobalt Green dark (533)


French ultramarine (493) + Cobalt turquoise (509)


Cobalt Azure (483) + and Potters Pink (370) - You will be amazed!

AQUA granulation spray (50737)

If you want to use non-granulating watercolours in a granulating way, we recommend the AQUA granulation spray (50737) from the Schmincke AQUA mediums series:

The AQUA granulation spray ensures that the pigments in the treated area agglomerate in a punctual "granulating" manner instead of running evenly as usual. With already granulating colours the effect is intensified. Spray with the fine atomizer nozzle directly into the wet watercolour. Due to the fine atomizer, even the smallest areas of the painting can be treated. If you want to keep parts of the artwork untreated, simply cover the area before applying the spray. The AQUA granulation spray is available in a 15 ml atomizer.

HORADAM® AQUARELL – 25 Supergranulating colours

The new special edition HORADAM® AQUARELL "Supergranulating Colours" contains a total of 25 colours in 15ml tubes, divided into 5 colours each in the series "Deep Sea", "Glacier", "Galaxy", "Forest" and "Tundra". With these unusual watercolour paints, Schmincke is expanding the possibilities of granulating watercolour painting to include unusual colours with a supergranulating appearance.

What is supergranulating effect?

The combination of at least 2 granulating HORADAM® pigments intensifies the granulating effect, in which pigments mass together in places on the paper, to form "super granulation".

The new colours are formulated with pigments from different colour ranges so that the granulation effect results in additional colour changings. For example, the colour "Deep Sea Indigo" (14952) is a combination of violet and green pigments, while "Glacier Brown" (14965) contains a brown and a green pigment. "Tundra Violet" (14 983) is a combination of brown and blue pigment, while "Forest Grey" (14 945) contains a black, a brown and a green pigment.  This novel, natural structure formation of the colours varies depending on the substrate and the amount of water used. The rougher the paper, the stronger the granulation effect.


All 25 HORADAM® AQUARELL special colours have exclusively 4 and 5 stars lightfastness and contain only pigments already known from HORADAM® AQUARELL. The opacity of the colours is predominantly semi-opaque/semi-transparent.

All supergranulating colours are available individually in 15 ml tubes as well as in 5 theme sets with 5 shades each in 5 ml tubes. 

All paintings by Anna Zadorozhnaya

Watercolour paper: Which is the right one for granulation?

This novel, natural structure formation of the colours varies depending on the substrate and the amount of water used. The rule is: The rougher and more structured the paper, the greater the granulating effect (e.g. Torchon). More absorbent papers require a little more water. Unsuitable are satined, hot-pressed papers.