Royal Talens opaque watercolours gouache tin review

I recently got these Talens opaque watercolours, also labelled as gouache. They’re a student range – the kind used in schools. I was curious – are they like the Caran D’ache gouache tins or more like the sets of cheap watercolours I have?

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I don’t yet have the Caran D’ache gouache set, so I set about comparing with my other cheap watercolour sets, as well as my Winsor & Newton designer gouache.

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At just under 10 euros, they are a little more expensive than what I paid for my Koh-i-Noor and Artist’s loft style paint sets. I really like the tin though – we all know I love tins!

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Interestingly, you can pop out the paint cakes. They actually sell replacements (there are more than 12 colours available).  I love the concept – much better than a cheap irreplaceable plastic set. Here, we have replaceable and removable pans AND a metal tin.

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The paints dry up quite fast and look quite granulated in the mixing well. No big deal though – many paints look like this when dry and these did re-wet nicely.

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The colours are nice and bright and seemed to go down really smoothly. It’s only when they dry that they start to look a bit chalky. This is the same effect I got with my other, aforementioned cheap paint sets.

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Don’t expect too much from mixing colours. I have the 12 set (plus white tube) and I could only really achieve dull shades of mixes such as green and purple.

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I found the white problematic. It was pretty gloopy and hard to mix into a smooth, milky consistency. Add too much water and it’s not opaque enough…

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On brown paper, the colour is even less opaque. They almost look pastel-like, don’t you think? The white on the far right is Winsor & Newton designer’s gouache – much more opaque!

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A green mix and yellow (top two of the three lowest swatches) also show vibrance and opacity. It’s worth mentioning that I re-wetted them on a palette that had dried colours on it – so I wasn’t using them straight from the tube.

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Let’s compare with the Koh-i-Noor and Artist’s Loft style sets. I say style because I got the Koh-i-Noor one in Tiger, unbranded, but it is essentially the same set, and I got the other one in Hobbycraft here in the UK – but it is the same as Artist’s Loft!

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The addition of other media works equally well. I think it depends on how thickly you have laid it down though. When I used the Koh-i-Noor style set to paint a mushroom pattern in the summer,  the addition of gel pens and colour pencil took some of the chalky paint up!

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Out of the three, the Artist’s Loft green went down the smoothest and most opaque. Take that with a pinch of salt, though – different colours from different sets probably behave very differently, so we shouldn’t assume that the whole of that set is better.

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My verdict?

Pros –

  • Great tin and removable/replaceable pans
  • Bright, fun colours
  • Comparable quality to similar sets

Cons –

  • Dries less vibrant and a bit chalky-looking
  • Not opaque enough to be classed as “gouache” – acts more like watercolours
  • Mixes are a bit dull
  • White hard to mix and very gloopy

 

See me using the Talens gouache pan set in this week’s YouTube video…

 

 

 

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