Meet Pigmenta, a quirky new boutique art supply platform for all you artists out there. The label recently unveiled a range of inexpensive, easy to use watercolours that are way different than what you might find at your regular art supply store—a range of metallic watercolours that should be in every artist’s must-buy list.
Further, the credit for creating these eye-catching hues go to Bangalore-based illustrator Pia Meenakshi, who crafted them because finding good art supplies in India was a struggle for her, and expensive too. This qualm spurred her to take the phrase ‘Do It Yourself’ to greater heights, and Pigmenta was born.
“No one had a watercolour gold that could be rewetted and used once dry. So I researched and over the last few years, perfected a recipe for this paint and started giving samples to my illustrator friends to try,” reflects Meenakshi. “Their feedback was positive and I could really see how much they enjoyed using it. They basically planted the seed in my head that I should make it available to others too,” she adds. Watercolours, however, are just the start. The medium plans to showcase beautiful, aesthetically pleasing materials, (like sketchbooks, painting accessories) and more in a couple of months, and they will be available at affordable price points too.
Interestingly, Meenakshi wanted to debut the brand with a range of metallics with the emphasis being on gold(s) since gold is her favourite embellishing colour and it was a search for this colour that led her to this whole brand.
We catch up with this multi-talented artist in a quick chat, who gives us more insight on how Pigmenta Art Supplies was born.
Tell us a little about the Pigmenta Art Supplies—the inception behind the watercolours and why did you start them? Could you illustrate your answers with interesting back stories, please? How long were you planning this for?
So, Pigmenta is the name of the brand which was born many years ago. My initial plan for it was to set up a boutique art supply store in our studio (Studio Gumani) under that name.
I started making watercolours because I’m a sucker for art materials and I was unhappy paying so much for them and struggling to find good materials in India. A lot of the nicer products like watercolour gold paints and more are sold abroad and the shipping rates are ridiculous. The common gold paint available here was the pigment plus binder variety, which is used to paint metals and other surfaces, but no one had a watercolour gold that could be rewetted and used once dry. So I researched, and over the last few years, perfected a recipe for this paint and started giving samples to my illustrator friends to try.
Their feedback was positive and I could really see how much they enjoyed using it. They basically planted the seed in my head that I should make it available to others too. So I would say the brand was planned years ago but the products took two years to perfect.
The USP of the line?
It’s affordable and convenient to use. It’s also not common to come across metallic colours like this by the traditional watercolour brands. My aim is to tear away from the basic sets of colours and to present hues and finishes that are fun to play with and also not expensive.
The challenges you faced while working on the products?
I would definitely say that getting the right materials took a lot of time—from finding the right pigments to the pans that the paints are filled in.
Your favourite shade in the collection so far?
I really love the colour Motherlode. Age of Empires nerd would get the reference (laughs). I also really like the iridescent colours (Phantom Pink and Specter Blue) which I would highly recommend artists’ to try out since they are something that is really strange and interesting! (winks)
Could you tell us a little about the birth of a shade—the whole watercolour making process—trials and errors, the idea, picking the right colour, crafting the shade, and the time taken?
For me, making the ideal binder for the paints took its own time to develop. It was lots of formulas and calculations to get the right ratio of the ingredients. The pigments themselves also work in their own way. On their own they need a certain amount of technique to make the paints, even mixed with each other, they behave differently, so it took me a long time to generally concoct this range. I have books and books of notes and swatches and it took me ages to look at each finished colour and think up a name that would be different and fun.
I wanted to debut the brand with a range of metallics with the emphasis being on gold(s) since gold is my favourite embellishing colour and since it was a search for gold that led me to this whole brand.
A dream watercolour shade that you would like to create through this segment?
This may sound crazy but I want to make a hologram colour. Like your 90s alien obsession hologram craze. You know? I tried making it once but the pigment wasn’t ideal, but I am still trying, researching and looking for ways to make this colour happen!
I’m also looking forward to launching two more collections: one being fluorescents (who has ever seen fluorescent watercolours?) and another is a more muted, earth tone collection, which would be perfect for all the naturalists out there.
Other interesting shades you are working on at the moment?
I’m trying to perfect a recipe for flat opaque colours interspersed with metallic shimmer/glitter. Right now, I have a deadly midnight blue with gold specks which I’m sure everyone is going to love. It reminds me of Persian art where blue meets gold.
Another colour in the works is a beautiful wine/plum with gold highlights which again is reminiscent of royalty and luxurious excess (smiles).
Plans for the future?
I want to start offering other products under the brand name. I think my next venture would be artist’s sketchbooks and then maybe painting accessories like unique palettes and much more.
My plan for this brand is to house all the materials you would want as an artist but actual beautiful, aesthetically pleasing and functional products which aren’t expensive.
Order yours colours here.
The studio keeps developing long-term and limited edition colours, so make sure you follow Pigmenta’s Instagram account to be up to date with new releases.