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Viviva Colorsheets : Hands On Testing

May 10, 2017

Art materials entrepreneur Aditya Vadgaonkar reached out a few weeks ago, offering me a sample of his new crowdfunded product, Viviva Colorsheets.

Vadgaonkar is currently seeking production costs on, with pre-purchase tiers from $15 for a single booklet, up to $315 for a 25 pack. Enough to outfit a class full of art students.

As well, he’s offered readers of Citizen Sketcher a special tier, which gets you a pair of watercolor booklets for $25.

The product is a modern update to a concept pioneered by Peerless Watercolors in 1885.

They take the form of dry sheets of paper, impregnated with transparent watercolor pigment. You simply touch the paper with a wet brush to lift off color.

Viviva sheets have 16 colors, packaged in a folding booklet, with two colors per page, and a wax paper leaf between. This catches any damp spots as you flip pages.

It’s a convenient solution for anyone who wants to carry an ultralight selection of watercolors, with no fear of spillage.

Right off the bat I could see the value for museum sketching. Or in this case, the crowded Butterflies Fly Free exhibit at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

We went on the last day of the show, which was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with families and excited kids. The kind of situation where you need to be as compact as possible, as you’re going to get jostled.

This would be the perfect pairing for a water brush. One of those plastic jobbies where the water is carried inside the brush handle.  But I personally won’t use them. I truly dislike the nylon brush tips.

Someone should make a crowdfunding proposal for a water brush with a decent brush! That could be the next big thing.

In this case, I’m using a tape-and-magnet-bottle and a new pocket brush provided by Rosemary and Co. I’ll have more to say about those brushes later :)

So – what did I think about the Viviva pigments?

Color me impressed!

The paints lift easily off the paper and are surprisingly concentrated. You get intense, strong color with a single touch. The color is completely transparent, and blends well, one into the other.

I can’t speak right now about the archival rating of the pigments. The color is intense enough, that I have my doubts about that. But this really isn’t the point with this kind of product. It’s not for the museum, it’s for your sketchbook!

There are some downsides to the booklet format. The color sheets are glued into the paper backing, so there’s no way to rearrange the palette. With Peerless colors, the sheets are bound like leaves of a book, so you can cut out small pieces. Some people tape a strip of colored snippets to a card, and use it as a bookmark/palette.

And of course, there’s no possibility of lifting an impasto off the thin coating of color. If pan color is thinner than tubes, these are even further in that direction. So they’re better suited to sketching high key subjects like these bright insects. Or perhaps casual portraits, or a sunny day on vacation :)

As well, the dry sheets don’t always resemble the actual color – so you shouldn’t separate them from the printed color guide along the bottom of the booklet. But this is also a small quibble, as the booklet is cut so the tabbed color chart helps you jump right to the color sheet you need.

My final assessment:

If I was carrying paints back and forth on public transit every day, or going on a backpacking trip where every ounce matters, or a carry-on only flight – I’d certainly consider these convenient color booklets.

Find out more about Viviva Color Sheets on their Indiegogo page. There’s only 16 days left for them to reach their funding goal!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. lynne permalink
    May 10, 2017 3:42 PM

    thanks for your review, marc! i supported the campaign awhile ago, but hadn’t seen them used in a looser, more painterly fashion. you make them look great!

  2. Nancy Cunningham permalink
    May 10, 2017 7:02 PM

    Good luck to the developer, but one can do pretty much the same thing with watercolor pencils. Rub hard on small sheets of water color paper, making a spot of any size. Separate pages with waxed paper. Staple together or fold creatively and tuck into the back pages of your sketchbook. You can make a sample page too, since the squares or spots of color will be intense. You can write the names too if you wish.

    Nancy in Savannah

    • May 21, 2017 10:02 AM

      I’ve done what Nancy in Savannh suggests. It’s light, easy to handle and works perfectly. When a color gets low, I just add more pencil color. That and a water brush and you can paint anywhere.

  3. RAE ECKLUND permalink
    May 11, 2017 2:36 AM

    The butterfly samples are stunning. And thank your for such an honest assessment. They do look fun to try. Great concept for say … sketching on mass transit or aboard an airplane.
    Wishing the inventor much luck. Intriguing.

  4. daveyone1 permalink
    May 11, 2017 2:00 PM

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

  5. Laila permalink
    October 28, 2018 9:21 PM

    It’s says on their web site that she is impregnated on the paper this not. Archival but useful for sketching while our and about ready for studio work. I also create water colour pencil palette for outings etc. Thank you for review

  6. Laila permalink
    October 28, 2018 9:22 PM

    Sorry it should read that she is impregnated on the sheets typo

  7. Laila permalink
    October 28, 2018 9:23 PM

    Sorry for some reason the word d u e is being changed to she ahhh.

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