Schmincke Super Granulation Watercolours – Desert and Shire

Words by Anna Zadorozhnaya

The German brand Schmincke, which produces paints and mediums, has introduced two new nature inspired sets to their Super-Granulation watercolor range: Desert and Shire.

You can read about each of the existing sets here:

Glacier, Galaxy and Deep Sea

Tundra and Forest


The distinctive feature of the entire line of Schmincke Horadam super-granulating paints, including the new series, is the principle of pigment selection. Only pigments that have a natural tendency to granulate are used and specially selected for these paints. Some of the paints can beautifully fall apart into two pigments that complement each other, such as Tundra Violet or Desert Green. All paints in the series are highly lightfast (4**** and 5****) and are predominantly semi-opaque/semi-transparent.

In January 2022, the line has been expanded once again, with 10 more colors available for those who love granulation and unusual effects in watercolour. These colours, included in a series called Desert and Shire, finally cover all possible needs of the watercolor paint in all color groups and categories of super-granulating paints. Three very beautiful and different yellow colors have been added to the new series, incredible gray-brown shades have appeared, there is a gorgeous red and distinctive orange, and the range of green shades has been hugely expanded.

Let’s take a closer look at the new colours…


What does one imagine when thinks of the desert? Of course, yellow-sand and brown shades tinged with the green of the oasis. And that is exactly the colors you see in the Desert series.

Desert Yellow

PY159, PBr7 – Desert Yellow can be described as “mustardy”: it is a cool color with a distinct greenish undertone. And it is a perfect color to paint sunlight: it is very transparent and really glows on paper.

Desert Orange

PY159, PBr33 – A faint, dusty orange, that has a brown undertone. This color is more reddish than his colleague – Tundra Orange.

Desert Brown

PY150, PR108, PBk11 – This brown is the perfect color for representing sand: it spreads out into a yellowish brown with particles of black, and that is the basic color of the desert.

Desert Green

PR108, PG26 – An insanely noble colour, pure magic: it’s a cool green with a cool red pigment in the same paint, and the combination looks incredibly winning together. It is a very intense, dense and the only opaque color in the series. And Desert Green is not only a very, very beautiful color on its own, but it also creates a magical effect in mixes.

Desert Gray

PY159, PBk11 – A warm gray, with pellets of yellow and black pigments visible in the layer. A very versatile dark color for representing natural objects, because the gray in the Forest series, where the brown pigment is prominent, here the color mixture is more neutral on its own.


A summertime meadow, a variety of green tones, deliciously good air and clear water: the Shire series is ideal for an idyllic landscape.

Share Yellow

PY159 PV62 – A very cool yellow, more of a greenish colour. Perfect for painting sunlit foliage, grass clippings, or the sun behind the trees, it’s translucent and has a very unusual and unique hue.

Shire Olive

PY159 PB35 – A light, neutral green that really shows that “blue plus yellow gives green”: the layer of paint shows yellow and blue particles, but when you look at the colour, it is unambiguously green with no warm or cold preference in spectrum.

Shire Green

PY159 PG18 – A bright and transparent green that is quite cool. The paint splits into two pigments, yellow and green, with yellow being more visible than green. When you look at the colour, you get the full impression of leaf veins due to the super-granulation!

Shire Blue

PY159, PB29, PG26 – All of the super-granulating series have blue colors except Desert – and Shire is most similar to the Forest series color of the same name: it’s a very cool blue-green that you could almost call “malachite.” Blue dominates visually, but you can also see particles of yellow and green.

Shire Gray

PY159, PB74, PBk11 – A very beautiful gray color with visible bluish particles. Its color temperature tends to be more of a “cool” colour. Like its predecessor in the Desert series, this gray is versatile, allowing you to paint both shadows and darker parts of landscapes, while the granulation will help create additional interest in the washes.

To briefly summarise: given the newly introduced Schmincke Horadam super-granulating watercolor series, the line includes 35 colors divided into thematic series with nature names. The new series significantly expanded the range of shades, adding beautiful and very interesting colors that create a beautiful texture on the paper that draws the viewer’s eye.

In addition to the new series introduced and the new colours, another premiere is announced in January. It concerns the form-factor: from now on the super-granulating series is available not only in tubes (separately and in sets) but also in half-pans!

Thus, lovers of watercolor have more choice and convenience – 8 series, 35 colours, large 15 ml tubes and small 5 ml tubes in sets, or half-pans. And this gives even more possibilities to create true masterpieces!

Please note: Due to difficulties sourcing pigments with colors in the Volcano range, Schmincke has made the decision to discontinue the Volcano colors for the foreseeable future.

About Anna Zadorozhnaya

Anna Zadorozhnaya is a Russian watercolor artist, currently based in Hannover, Germany. Anna has an MA in Art from Oxford Brookes University, is a da Vinci and Schmincke ambassador and works as a tutor both offline and online. The main subject of her paintings are snowy mountains in pure watercolor technique. She shares her watercolor paintings on her popular Instagram page @draw_better.

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