Abbreviations and bibliography concerning the pigments used in watercolor

Publié le par Désiré Herman

Abbreviations and Bibliography

Guideline to Analyse my Color Swatches

It took me nearly 2 years to paint more than 1000 different swatches of watercolor paints made by a lot of different brands. Most are professional grade or "extra-fine" watercolor paints, but I also included some student grade or "Fine" watercolors.

I decided to paint these to help professional and amateur watercolorists to have a preview of the behavior of different brands, pigments, and formulations.

I'm not a scientist, nor a great master, so my opinion is just personal and I do prefer that my readers make their own.

I just want to let you know that I'm not sponsored by any brand and that, on behave of some test dots, I had to buy all these paints by myself. So I think that I can say that I'm not influenced.


Explanation on setup: how i paint swatches
Explanation of setup: how I paint swatches

Name of Color used by Manufacturer: I use here the name given by the manufacturer to its hue

Lightfastness: These are the indications given by the manufacturer. According to the brands, there are qualifications ranging from 3 to 5 stars for excellent resistance to light.

Manufacturer's Brands: Here I use abbreviations mentioned below:

AR: Arteza

B : Blockx

DR : Daler Rowney


DS : Daniel Smith

DV : Da Vinci

H : Holbein

I  : Isaro

JA: Jackson’s

K : Kuretake 

MG : M. Graham

MMG : Mijello Mission Gold

MB : MaimeriBlu

OH : Old Holland

PM : Dr. Ph. Martin


S : Schmincke followed by T = tube followed by G ou P = Pan

SE : Sennelier followed by T = tube followed by G ou P = Pan

SP : Saint Petersburg White Nights

SHW: ShinHan Professional Watercolours Extra-Fine

SHP : ShinHan Professional Watercolours Fine

R : Rembrandt by Talens

VG : Van Gogh by Talens

W : Winsor & Newton followed by T = tube followed by G ou P = Pan

WN : Winsor & Newton followed by T = tube followed by G ou P = Pan

Manufacturer's reference: Here is referenced the number given by the manufacturer identifying this hue.

Regarding the pigment used; it is internationally abbreviated name. To better understand, a quick summary. The first letter P is the abbreviation for pigment. The letter (or letters) indicates the color,  the abbreviation used are English. Y means yellow, R means red, B means blue, O means orange, V means purple, G means green, Br means brown, Bk means black and W means white. Follow the number to identify the pigment.

Opacity : 

Symbols Opacity : Transparent - Semi-Transparent - Semi-Opaque - Opaque
Symbols Opacity : Transparent - Semi-Transparent - Semi-Opaque - Opaque

 Force Teintante :

Symbols for staining : Staining - Non or Light Staining - Heavily Staining
Symbols for staining: Staining - Non or Light Staining - Heavily Staining


Granulation :

Symbols for Granulation : Granulate - Non Granulating - N/A omitted by manufacturer
Symbols for Granulation: Granulate - Non-Granulating - N/A omitted by the manufacturer



First rounded rectangle with black bar: Here I use a fresh paint bucket or tube, just slightly diluted. I paint above a black line (Water resistant, traced with a black marker), which allows observing the opacity of the paint

Second rounded rectangle: Here I use in the wet a gradient wash in order to better see the tones in the dilution. On the left, I apply a painting out of the tube and dilute gradually with water. This also gives an indication of the coloring power of the paint.

Third rounded rectangle: Here I paint the rectangle with different strength of dilution and after drying for 12 hours, I open the whites (repented) with a rather hard synthetic brush. We can see the tinting strength of the paint.

Fourth rounded rectangle: Here I wet the site very hard and I put a little paint in the middle and let it do its "thing". This allows seeing the ability of the painting to spread. As the paper does not always buckle the same way, there is more towards the right or left, but the observation is the same if the painting shows a denser heart, it is that does not dissolve completely and is less able to broadcast. The information is that found on manufacturers' color charts. You can see that it is not always correct. Especially at the level of transparency/opacity, there is an opportunity to review this position.

All the samples were painted on Fabriano Academia paper, a 100% cellulose paper of 240g glued outside and in the heart. This gives you a homogeneous overview. Note that if you use a paint on another paper, be it 100% cotton, mixed or cellulose, there will certainly be differences, either in hue or characteristics.


Currently in preparation. The article will be updated soon.