Art journal, Design Team, Mixed Media Tutorial, watercolour

Journal Page using Kuretake Gem Watercolors

Hello Lulu Art friends, Kate here on the blog today playing with the new Kuretake Gansai Tambi Gem color set of watercolors.  Have you seen the stunning new set, they are super pretty and metallic looking and today I’m going to have a play and see how they perform.  I like to play and test out new products before creating anything with them, so for my project for Lulu Art this month I’m going to test out the Gem colors and see what they can do.

This is the new Gem color set – I have to say I was a bit surprised when I began to use them as several colors are quite pale unless you leave water in the pan to create a syrup consistency.  After using them though, I did like this as it allows you to achieve quite a variety of looks with the same paints.  Watch out for the Gem Red color though  – compared to the others it’s SUPER strong in color!


Now I’m going to complete my testing all on the one small art journal page – watercolour paper is best, mixed media paper or card a close second.

You can watch as I play and then finish the page in the video below.

Wet on Wet

First I applied water to the card and spritzed each pan with water to activate the color.  Without waiting more than a minute I dipped my brush into each color and applied a little of each to the wet journal page.

The colors were lovely and light (except for the red) and as they dried created wonderful patterns and granulation effects – I wasn’t expecting that and I loved it!

Gelli Plates

Next, I wanted to see how the colors layer so I added some syrupy consistency Gem colors (this took about 30 mins for the paint to absorb the water) to small Gelli plates (not the recommended product for this) and used the plates to stamp the watercolor onto my page.  This gave some interesting transparent layered effects and looked gorgeous, but didn’t really test how opaque these could look.

Wet on Dry

So I let the base colors dry and left the watercolor pans to become super thick, super syrupy consistency and then loaded up a mop brush with color.  Being painting over the previous colors and tap on extra color with the brush as needed.  I found that if used like this, all of the Gem colors were about 80-90% opaque and nicely covered what was below.

Time to decorate

Now to turn my road test into a page, I chose to add some acrylic paint over the dry – but unsealed watercolors, using both Night and Turquoise from Dina Wakley.  I loved how the acrylics reactivated some of the watercolor creating unique blends and secondary colors – super pretty!

I also added marks and designs with a variety of pens, black, white and gold which really finished off the page for me.

A Tim Holtz word card and it’s finished.

Super pretty, super sparkly and very informative!  I now know a bit more about the colors and how they perform and I feel ready to go make something – maybe some cards using these same techniques and colors???


Thank you for reading and I hope this shows you how these new colours might look when you use them oxxo  Go grab yours from Lulu Art today!