Review: Schmincke Aqua Granulation Spray

A trip to Straits Art led me to buy more stuff that I needed again.

This time, a small 15ml bottle of Schmincke Aqua Granulation Spray caught my attention.

I remember watching several Youtube videos demonstrating the spray and the granulation effects look pretty cool. Let's see if it can look similar to natural granulation from paint.

For my tests, I've painted colour swatches on the Canson XL and Daler Rowney Aquafine watercolour paper. These are student grade quality paper and good enough for painting swatches and such test. The Canson XL is smoother and fine grain while the Daler Rowney has a more textured coldpress surface.

The colours I used are Lemon Yellow, Quinacridone Red and Phthalo Blue. This was on Canson paper.

The effect depends a lot of the type of paint and colour used. Granulation is kinda difficult to see with yellow paint. That circular pattern with Quin Red is the result of spraying too close. Phthalo Blue has really beautiful textures which don't really look like granulation at all, but beautiful nonetheless.

With the second set of swatches, I used granulating colours French Ultramarine, Sap Green and Burnt Sienna. This was on Canson paper.

First thing I noticed is granulation and texture is more obvious on the Daler Rowney coldpress paper. Second thing is, just like watercolour, the granulation spray can produce really random effects. It also depends on how hard you spray, the distance you spray and how wet the wash is.

If you half press the spray, the droplets will be bigger and the patterns created will be bigger.

If you spray too close, you're gonna get a circular pattern or the huge area of white.

If the wash is too wet when you spray, the water may run back into the area to cover the spray. And if the wash is drying, you may not see any effect.

More practice is definitely needed with the spray. There are some colours that work well with the spray and some don't, so you'll need to find out which colours are most suitable.

You need to work fast when using the spray because when the wash is drying, it's difficult to get granulation. The spray actually pushes wash aside and dries itself up quickly. Maybe that's why there's a flammable label on the side of the bottle. I'm guessing that this is some alcohol based spray.

The best thing about the granulation spray is the textures it can create. Without the spray, I won't know how to recreate those textures. The spray is probably good for subject matter that has lots of textures, like earth, sand, rust, or anything that's granular.


Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials (US) | Jackson's Art (UK)



I am going to reiterate what

I am going to reiterate what several people have already said over on YouTube, it looks like the spray is essentially a salt water effect which can be easily recreated by applying table salt to wet watercolor or spritzing your piece with water and applying table salt. Once the piece is dry, dust off the salt particles. Its considerably less expensive. The Granulation Spray might just be salt added to hot water so that its been made into diluted saline which you could do yourself as well. Really, I feel like Schmicke is just charging a lot more money for something watercolorists have been doing for years.

A salt solution would not

A salt solution would not work like this. Salt granules suck up surrounding water, leaving lighter blotches. A solution would not do this. The Aqua spray is actually almost entirely ethanol. I figured this out by looking for the MSDS sheet for it. Pure ethanol is hard to find (trust me, I tried a few days ago!), but learned that Everclear alcohol is essentially the same thing. I picked up a small bottle at the liquor store for $6. I started playing with it tonight. My sprayer is too fine a mist, but you could see the effect.

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