Granulating watercolours

Granulating 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.


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, it can be said that many traditional pigments (cobalt, earth pigments, etc.) tend to granulate more than modern inorganic pigments. This also explains why there are in our 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® AQUARELL are granulating and marked with a "G" in the colour chart:


Effect amplification:

How do you mix supergranulating colours?

To enhance the granulating effect and achieve unusual colour shifts, simply mix two (or more) granulating colours. We recommend pre-tests, because 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) or Cobalt azure (483) +Potters Pink (370). - You will be amazed!


Watercolour paper:

Which is the right one for granulation?

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.


AQUA granulation spray (50737)

If you want to use non-granulating watercolours in a granulating way, we recommend the AQUA granulation spray from our 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 betreated, areas to be left out should be covered.
The AQUA granulation spray is available in a 15 ml atomizer.

More information about AQUA granulation spray