"In the evening with the deer in the winter forest" - with HORADAM® AQUARELL granulating watercolours - by Frank Koebsch

For many years, the pigmentation of watercolour paints has been concerned with ensuring that the colours allow an even application of paint. For some time now, granulating colours have also been available. Granulating watercolours do not have an even colour application after drying on the paper. During the drying process, the pigments settle and begin to agglomerate. This results in grainy, crackled surfaces that are structured in a variety of ways. These colours are very suitable for depicting sand, gravel, stones, rocks, snow, ice, fur structures, diffuse light conditions and much more.

The artist Frank Koebsch likes to play with the effect of granulating colours. He was able to photograph a couple of deer at a clearing in the early evening and would now like to show how he captured the winter evening atmosphere quite simply with HORADAM® AQUARELL watercolours.

You will need:

  • HORADAM® AQUARELL watercolours: gold brown (654), sepia brown (663), English Venetian red (649), Payne´s grey bluish (787), olive green yellowish (525), cobalt blue deep (488), Mars black (791), mahogany brown (672) 
  • Watercolour paper: Leonardo 600 g/m² matt from Hahnemühle
  • Watercolour brushes: 30s Cosmotop series 5080, 18s MAESTRO flat series 1301, 7s MAESTRO round series 19 from da Vinci 
  • a fine pencil
  • Template

Step 1
Before I start to paint, I first make a light preliminary drawing of the deer in the foreground of the painting.


Step 2
Now I start to apply the colour in the background. For this I use Paynes grey bluish (787) with the granulating colour cobalt blue dark (488).


Step 3
I now add iron oxide black (791) and mahogany brown (672) randomly to the still wet background. This creates clearly visible granulating structures and wonderful gradients that give the painting depth and expression.


Step 4
With a wet brush I draw structures for trees and branches into the still wet background. With this technique, colour pigments can be removed from the paper again and these areas remain lighter.

There are following classifications of colours:


Step 5
As soon as the background has dried, I work the trees more intensively in negative technique with glazes of granulating colours. Negative painting means that light areas are left out when painting, leading around a still imaginary object. This is visible in the trees. Here, too, I let the colours run wet in wet.


Step 6
In the foreground I paint deer and meadows without granulating colours. I create the structures of the snow in the grass by painting with a dry brush. The resulting colour applications, which are intensified by the rough surface of the paper, are also known as the granulating technique.


The result:
And this is what the now finished watercolour painting "Evening with the deer in the winter forest" looks like.


Further examples:
I have played with the granulating colours of Schmincke HORADAM® AQUARELL watercolours in various paintings and would like to show you some more results. In the watercolour "Sámi with her reindeer in the Norwegian winter" I used cobalt blue dark (488), iron oxide black (791) and raw umber (667) in combination with other HORADAM® AQUARELL watercolours.


By carefully using granulating colours in the area of the clothes and the reindeer, I tried to create the impression of felt, coarse fabrics and fur. At the same time, I played with the granulating colours in the sky to convey something of the diffuse light mood of the Norwegian winter day. In this watercolour painting I painted the granulating colours as thin glazes.


In the watercolour painting "Dandelions (spring roses) hidden in the snow" you can see the effect of the granulating colours even without a magnifying glass. When painting the snow, I was able to depict the crystalline structure and the flowerpot was given an open-pored surface. In the area of the snow and the flowerpot I worked the granulating paint wet in wet into the painting and mixed it.
It is worthwhile to play with granulating watercolours in one's paintings. These colours with their discreet but also dominant effect are an enrichment. Feel free to try it out for yourself.


In addition to the new super-granulating HORADAM® AQUARELL watercolours, there are numerous granulating colours in the 140 HORADAM® range. These are the following: potters pink (370), manganese violet (474), cobalt violet hue (473), ultramarine violet (495), cobalt blue deep (488), French ultramarine (493), cobalt azure (483), cobalt cerulean (499), cobalt green turquoise (510), viridian (513), chromium oxide green brilliant (511), cobalt green pure (535), cobalt green dark (533), raw umber (667), maroon brown (651), mahogany brown (672), Indian red (645), Mars brown (658), green umber (665), hematite black (789), Mars black (791)


An overview of the granulating colours can be found in our brochure. All granulating colours are marked with a "G".  Have a look into the brochure >