December 8, 2023


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Tiny Jar Pigments, M'sian handmade artisanal watercolour paints

Tiny Jar Pigments, M’sian handmade artisanal watercolour paints

[Parts of this story were taken from a video interview we did with the founder in December 2021.]

Van is a watercolour hoarder, and she does not feel poor about it. In reality, she’s proud of it.

Following all, it’s a routine that permits her to maintain and acquire her smaller business, Small Jar Pigments

A calendar year ago, she experienced about 200 different sorts of pigments, probably far more, she mused. Some were being offered in sets, which designed it difficult to really continue to keep depend.

With all the investment in her pigment collection, it is pure to assume that artwork is the Penangite’s total-time position. 

Turns out, however, she’s essentially working in the health care area, and her facet hustle creating unique watercolours at Tiny Jar Pigments was anything she only bought into through the pandemic.

She finds loads of fulfillment in her complete-time career, but acknowledged that it is really nerve-racking and demanding. 

Therefore, a 10 years in the past, she turned to artwork as an escape just after a prolonged working day of do the job, and has never ever appeared again considering the fact that.

She started with collecting watercolours, right up until one day when she realised that she could truly make her individual. 

Right now, she runs Little Jar Pigments from residence as a a single-female demonstrate, generating handcrafted artisanal watercolours from scratch.

Earning paints from pigments

Van’s focus with Small Jar Pigments is producing remarkably pigmented granulating watercolour paints. Briefly, watercolours can be granulating or non-granulating paints.

Granulating paints are manufactured of denser pigments, which will be deposited on a paper’s grooves instead of settling evenly on a painted surface. This generates a far more textured glance, usually described as speckly or mottled.

Image Credit history: Small Jar Pigments

In accordance to Van, these paints are wonderful for landscape paintings or exclusive effects. 

When one may well consider that making paints appears to be pretty straightforward—blend some pigment with a particular binding liquid and tadah! you have paint—it’s the endurance that a single should practise during which makes it tough.

Based on the form of pigment and humidity, Van shared that it can choose three to four months to develop a one color.

The system involves introducing dry pigments on a glass palette, including gum arabic (a binder that improves color vibrancy and extends the drying time of a paint), then folding and mulling it (dispersing pigments into a portray medium AKA the gum arabic).

It is admittedly basic, but it can acquire a though to mull the paint into the wished-for sleek regularity, and even following that, you are still not accomplished. Up coming arrives the drying time.

Watercolour paints have to be air-dried after they are poured into a pan. Van recalled the a person time she experimented with to rush the course of action by putting all her pans into her oven, which led to anything melting.

Impression Credit rating: Little Jar Pigments

She’s never carried out that yet again, opting to air-dry them in an air-conditioned place rather. On her absolutely free times, she would make as numerous paints and colors as she can, then check out and in good shape them into a collection.

And this is wherever the actually hard component comes in: naming her creations. If she runs out of creative juices even though, she turns to her close friends for strategies.

Based on her Shopee keep, she’s built 16 or so collections so much, with every single a person offered in restricted portions.

Curated collections compared to commercialised colors

Nevertheless even now uncommon to see in Malaysia, Little Jar Pigments is not the only handcrafted artisanal watercolour maker close to, with names like Aidafiqs Handmade, meitallics by inezcalligraphy, and Jubilant Hues active, to identify a couple.

It’s hard to review their rates on a 1:1 ratio because of to the pigments, binders, and packaging used, but Little Jar Pigment’s creations can variety from RM15 to RM250, whilst the other folks are as follows:

  • Aidafiqs Handmade: RM15 to RM277
  • meitallics by inezcalligraphy: RM36 to RM188
  • Jubilant Shades: RM69 to RM239.

Primarily based on our individual exploration, these handcrafted watercolour paints are likely to be a little pricier as opposed to common, commercialised makes such as Daniel Smith and Holbein.

What would seem to draw artists to these scaled-down community manufacturers is their special colours and collections, as well as the deficiency of stabilisers and fillers (as some models proudly condition).

Picture Credit history: Little Jar Pigments

For context, fillers help makes reduce down on the price of pigments by letting them to use fewer, though stabilisers give the paints a additional uniform consistency. Having said that, these two components may perhaps make paints seem less pigmented.

Potentially the limited version nature of some products like Tiny Jar Pigment’s collections increase to its draw way too (no pun meant).

A dream occur correct

Most recently, Van introduced a assortment termed “Tales of the Gods”, a wooden pan assortment impressed by Greek mythology.

It’s now the only assortment that is still in stock on her Shopee store, though it is available in restricted portions too.

Although it seems as even though everyday living does get in her way of making watercolours at periods (leading to shorter breaks), she cannot keep herself away from Tiny Jar Pigments for long.

She shared, “Tiny Jar Pigments is like my desire occur accurate, and it’s nevertheless unravelling proper ahead of my eyes. I really don’t know exactly where it will consider me, I’m just hoping that it will choose me to locations where by I can obtain a lot more exceptional pigments.”

A simple nonetheless satisfying purpose, 1 may possibly say.


This interview was accomplished as portion of our previous Vulcan Write-up movie sequence, Pandemic-Born.

You can look at Van’s online video job interview listed here: out?v=kPseMDJZkbM

  • Find out additional about Very small Jar Pigments listed here.
  • Go through about far more Malaysian startups in this article.

Showcased Image Credit: Small Jar Pigments