Schmincke Horadam Dot Cards!

I just can’t get enough dot cards! Last time, I explored Daniel Smith’s, and now I’m onto the German company Schmincke, named for its 1881 founder Hermann Schmincke. Horadam is the name of their artist grade watercolor line, named for another of their founders, the chemist Josef Horadam.

The Dot Card in question, complete. They got it all done in 2 pages!

General Brand Impressions: Schmincke has a smaller catalogue than Daniel Smith (140 colors vs 238), but still quite extensive, and nothing feels like it’s missing. (I think DS just has 100 useless colors, tbh.) All of the hits are here, as well as some interesting mixes. I found the line overall quite internally consistent, with most colors being highly pigmented and non-granulating. There were very few duds. On the other hand, as a beginner, I found them comparatively difficult to swatch out because they are easily to over-dilute, creating harsh paint lines. Basically they’re huge drama queens about too much water. I think if I were better at water control, this might be my favorite line, but Daniel Smith is friendlier for a person of, ah, inconsistent quality.

Allergy note: All Schmincke’s paints contain isothiazolinones (presumably in the binder), which some people are allergic to.

Pull up a chair while I swatch out every color!

Colors By Category

Yellows & Oranges

Schmincke yellow to orange color swatches

It’s hard to innovate much with yellows and this looks to me a lot like DS’s offerings, though the names are different. If you match the pigments, though, they look really similar.

One yellow that SH has that DS doesn’t is PY154, Pure Yellow. I have this yellow, and I love it. It’s very transparent but at the same time, bold, which is unusual for a neutral yellow that’s neither green nor orange. It mixes well, though it is subject to issues with water control (or, you could say that I am).

Interestingly, Schmincke’s Quinacridone Gold Hue is PY150 + PR101 instead of DS’s PY150 + PO48. In DS terms, it’s a mix of Nickel Azo Yellow and Transparent Red Oxide instead of Nickel Azo Yellow and Quin Burnt Orange. This is interesting because while I really enjoy TRO, and I do like this color, I found it rather low pigment and hard and EXTREMELY finicky about water lines. I’ll stick with DS’s Quin Gold.

As far as oranges go, I’m interested in the same ones I was interested in on the DS side: PY65, PY110, PO71. I don’t see a real reason to prefer either brand, except possibly to lean in the direction of DS for reasons of water control.

Shopping List: Pure Yellow (PY154) if I didn’t already have it. Potentially Chromium Yellow Hue (PY65) Deep or Yellow Orange (PY110), but not both since they look almost identical. Possibly Transparent Orange (PO71).


Schmincke Horadam red color swatches

Lots of red options here. I put the warm reds on the left page and cool reds/magentas on the right, roughly. Most of these have DS equivalents; for example, Vermilion (PR255) is the same pigment as DS Pyrrol Scarlet, and Ruby Red (PV19) is the same pigment and looks a lot like DS Quin Rose. Note that names are not necessarily an indication of the same color, as SH Bordeaux (PR187) is neither the same pigment nor looks anything like DS Bordeaux (PV32).

Of the SH warm reds, the ones that I like best are:

  • Geranium Red (PR242), a semi-transparent orangey red with great depth of color. DS does not have this color. I would say this looks a lot like Pyrrol Scarlet though more transparent.
  • Vermilion Light (PR188), a fresh transparent somewhere between coral and orange-red. DS has a PR188, Organic Vermilion, but I think Vermilion Light is prettier.
  • Quin Red Light (PR207), a transparent coral that is most reminscent of DS’s Quin Coral (PR209). I think DS Quin Coral still takes the cake for corals because of its sheer depth of color.

Over on the cool reds, I am unsurprisingly drawn to the more pinky/magenta-y ones.

  • Brilliant Opera Rose (PR122 fluorescent), which I jammed in at the top, is obviously one that always jumps out. It’s just so bright, and I don’t really care that it’s fugitive. I like this version better than DS’s because it’s less granulating, although I might have to do a survey of every brand’s Opera Pink before I make up my mind.
  • Ruby Red (PV19) is the DS Quin Rose equivalent, but I think DS Quin Rose gets darker and is easier to work with.
  • Magenta (PV42) is what SH calls its “color theory magenta.” Intriguing. It looks a lot like Quin Rose also, though; maybe slightly purpler. Given the similarity, I’m not sure I have room for it on my palette. Could be interesting to do a head-to-head, though.
  • Purple Magenta (PR122) is one of the first paints I got, actually, and it might be my favorite PR122. It’s the same pigment as Opera Rose but not fluorescent or fugitive (Schmincke gives it 3 out of 4 stars for lightfastness). It’s similar to magenta but a bit purpler and very bold and vibrant. Technically it probably is also somewhat redundant with Quin Rose, but despite that I find I use it a lot. It’s optimal for mixing up purples, and for dropping between orange and blue in a sunset.

While I don’t usually pay much attention to neutral reds, for people who want more of a classic red than a magenta for their cool red slot, you could do a lot worse than Ruby Red Deep (PR264) which has an impressive range of values.

Shopping List: Purple Magenta if I didn’t already have it. Maybe Geranium Red, Vermilion Light, and/or Magenta, although they might be reduplicative with slots I’ve already successfully filled with DS Quin Rose and DS Quin Coral. Possibly Brilliant Opera Rose pending a head-to-head of different companies’ Opera Pink equivalents.

Purples & Warm Blues

Schmincke purple and warm blue swatches

A few of these maybe should have been reorganized. Quin Magenta (PR202) is pretty similar to Purple Magenta; the PV19 Quin Violet isn’t too different from that; and the last color, Brilliant Purple (a fugitive fluorescent PR122 a lot like Opera Pink) clearly belongs on the previous page. Meanwhile over on the blues, the last color is the fugitive fluorescent Brilliant Blue Violet, which looks to me like a purple more than a blue. Schmincke listed the fugitive fluorescents last on the card so I had to just sort of jam them in where I could.

Anyway. The purples that impress me with their depth are Perylene Violet (PV29), but this is a bit dull and opaque for me; and Quin Purple (PV55), a nice neutral purple. Both are equivalents of Daniel Smith colors by the same names. I’m most interested to look into Quin Purple in both companies and see which I like better – or at least, get a random one, since they look pretty similar.

Over on the blues, I love how many non-granulating warm blue options there are! In addition to the usual granulating French Ultramarine (PB29), Schmincke offers a non-granulating PB29 Ultramarine (Ultramarine Finest), which I’ve never seen before. WANT.

There are two formulations of PB60 (which I have in DS as Indanthrone Blue); Delft Blue and the slightly darker/more muted/more transparent Dark Blue, which appears to be more of a direct Indanthrone equivalent. I still think DS’s Indanthrone gets darker and moodier.

My Shopping List: Ultramarine Finest, absolutely; possibly Quin Purple or possibly the DS version; might get Dark Blue if I didn’t already have/prefer DS Indanthrone.

Cool Blues & Greens

Schmincke cool blue and green swatches

Several old friends are here. Helio Cerulean (PB15:3) is the equivalent of DS Phthalo Blue Green Shade; Helio Turquoise (PB16) is the equivalent of DS Phthalo Turquoise Blue (although I may like this one a bit better – very deep color!)

As with the warm blues, I love how many non-granulating shades there are (and even those that granulate don’t granulate as much). I’m particularly in love with Schmincke’s Cobalt Turquoise (PG50), equivalent of Daniel Smith Cobalt Teal Blue (bottom of the blue page), which while still earning the “G” for granulation is far less broadly granulating and much more vibrant than DS’s version. While I love aqua/turquoise as a color, I had about given up on DS Cobalt Teal Blue because it’s so weak and I find the broad granulation difficult to mix, but this is really renewing my interest in PG50!

Over on the green side, Cobalt Green Turquoise (PB36) is nice, though perhaps too granulating for me. (Interestingly, DS’s PB36 offering is Cerulean Blue Chromium, a much more blue shade.) Viridian (PG18) is its usual weak self, and Phthalo Green (PG7) is as gorgeous as a PG7 ever was.

Hooker’s Green is a relatively cool mix of PB15:3, PG7 and PY42 (in Daniel Smith terms, Phthalo Turquoise plus Yellow Ochre) and I like it better than the DS mix of Quin Gold, light yellow, and Phthalo Green Yellow Shade. Either way, though, I don’t think I’ll be getting it since I can mix up something close with colors I already have.

My Shopping List: Cobalt Turquoise absolutely; Helio Turquoise (or its DS equivalent though I may prefer this one); would get Phthalo Green if I didn’t already have DS Phthalo Green Blue Shade.

Warm Greens & Yellow Ochres

Schmincke warm green & yellow ochre/raw sienna color family swatches

Many of the warm greens are mixes with PG7 (Phthalo Green) from the cool greens family. A variety of yellows are added to create their Sap Green, Permanent Green, and May Green; Permanent Olive is created with the addition of PO62 (Chromium Orange Hue). I won’t buy any of these, but it does confirm that PG7 is a great mixer!

Single pigment offerings are Helio Green (PG36), the equivalent of DS Phthalo Green Yellow Shade; and Chromium Green Oxide (PG17), which DS offers in the same name. Interestingly, they don’t have PY129 Rich Green Gold equivalent; Transparent Green Gold is mix of yellow ochre and Pure Yellow.

Over on the yellow ochre side, again we are looking at a lot of mixes as well as your typical range of PY42/43 yellow ochres and PBr7 raw siennas. The ones that jump out at me are the bottom of the left column Titanium Gold Ochre (PBr24), very vibrant for a yellow ochre although I’m not really interested in opaques; and Transparent Sienna (PR101), third from the bottom on the right, a nice deep red-brown burnt sienna equivalent with a huge range. And… yep… that’s the equivalent of DS Transparent Red Oxide, which I’ve got!

Shopping List: Might get Transparent Sienna if I didn’t already have DS Transparent Red Oxide.

Browns, Grays, & Blacks

Schmincke brown, gray, and black swatches

I’m pleased that SH has fewer boring earth shades to get through than did DS although they still have quite a few options. And… I liked a bunch of them!!! They are on the whole less granulating and more vibrant than DS’s options – a lot more promising!

Also, I giggled because the German name for Madder Brown is Krappbraun.

Of the browns, my favorites are:

  • Transparent Brown (PBr41), third down on the page. Although it calls itself brown this is quite red-orangey and looks to me like a very pretty Burnt Sienna. It has a wide range of values, was pleasant to swatch out. It looks a bit like DS Permanent Brown (PBr25), but I think it’s nicer, and as far as I know it has no direct DS equivalent. One to Watch! My other possibly Burnt Sienna option is DS Transparent Red Oxide (PR101), which gave me some issues in mixing, so I’ll have to see if this mixes better.
  • Transparent Umber (another PR101), directly under it. A nice straight ahead brown with a wide range of values. This looks like the equivalent of DS Transparent Brown Oxide, which I also liked.

The darker browns (Sepia, etc.) are also nice but generally seem to be mixes with lighter browns and black, which makes me think I could make my own.

There are a lot of gray and black options. Most really “gray” grays are mixes of complementary colors. While they’re possible to mix up at home, getting a truly medium gray is hard and frequently needed, so I’m not opposed to checking these out further.

  • Neutral Tint is a slightly warmer gray that’s a mix of Purple Magenta, Dark Blue, and a black.
  • Neutral Gray looks more neutral-colored to me (though perhaps has a cooler bias in mixes) and is a mix of Vermilion, Dark Blue, and Chromium Orange Hue (a medium orange).
  • Schmincke Payne’s Grey is non-granulating (or maybe only slightly) and is a mix of black, PB29 (could be their nongranulating Ultramarine Finest), and our old friend PR101 of Transparent Red Oxide fame! DS’s equivalent is highly granulating, so this interests me more, though I think I’d prefer the above mixes more. I think neutral grays are more versatile than blue-grays because you can mix them warm or cool.

I really like SH’s Perylene Green just from swatching it out, although it’s hard to say if it’s really any different from DS’s.

I tend not to be really interested in black since I think transparent grays are nicer in the midtones and get just as black in mass, but I like that SH’s Lamp and Ivory blacks are not granulating, which makes them more likely purchases for me than the granulating DS equivalents.

Shopping List: Transparent Brown is high on my interest list. Transparent Umber if I didn’t already have DS Transparent Brown Oxide. Need to look into the neutral grays more. Wouldn’t mind doing a head-to-head of Perylene Greens.

Overall Takeaways

I enjoyed getting to know Schmincke’s product line. I think their overall catalogue is more coherent than Daniel Smith’s, though overall DS feels more beginner friendly as well as easier for me to find in local stores, so it will continue to be my basic source for most colors all things being equal. Still, there are a few Schmincke colors I am Highly Interested in, including non-granulating options and unique shades.

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