leaf painting on a shikishi board with the words "Feel the wind in your hair" and a floral gansai painting on Hosho paper next to 8 gansai colors in a box and a Wa Fude brush

Gansai & Shikishi Board Kit

The Gansai & Shikishi Board Kit (WC-KIT) is the perfect introductory set to start painting with Japanese gansai.

Gansai are traditional Japanese watercolor paints made with finely ground pigments so that they will yield bright, vivid colors on even the most absorbent washi paper.

The 8 gansai colors in this kit were hand selected by Yasutomo to give you endless mixing capabilities. Two metallics (a pearl and a gold) are included for beautiful metallic highlights.

This contains the essentials for exploring traditional Japanese watercolor on washi paper and makes a perfect gift for the artist or beginner.

Kit contents: 

  • 8 Gansai watercolors
  • Wa Fude Brush #2
  • Shikishi Board 5” x 7”
  • 10 sheets of Hosho practice paper

You will need a jar of clean water, a piece of felt or smooth paper towel to place underneath the practice paper, rag, mixing palette or tray, and paper towel.

How to Use the Gansai & Shikishi Board Kit

Step 1

Rinse the brush tip to remove starch and any loose hairs. 

brush tip being rinsed under running water

Step 2

Swatch the 8 gansai colors and practice brush strokes with the Wa Fude brush on the smooth side of the Hosho practice paper. 

Step 3

Try mixing and blending gansai watercolors together to make new colors on the practice paper. For example, mix yellow and magenta together to make red; magenta and blue to make purple; yellow and blue to make green.  

Use indigo to deepen any color. 

Use gold and silver to make highlights. 

Step 4

Colors straight from the pan are very concentrated. Thin with water to achieve lighter colors. 

pink gansai watercolor in a round porcelain saucer thinned out with water and being mixed with a brush

Step 5

Try loading the brush with a light color and dipping the tip into a darker color for a unique brush stroke. This is a great technique for making flower petals.


brush being dipped directly into red gansai paint with a porcelain dish with thinned color to the side
paintbrush being used to make petal marks on Hosho paper with a gansai paint and porcelain dish with paint to the side

Step 6

Use the Hosho sheets to try different colors and subject matter such as florals, birds, landscapes, etc.

colorful gansai flowers painting next to a gansai set and three porcelain dishes with paint in them and a brush laid over the saucers

Step 7

Paint the shikishi directly with the gansai watercolors. You can also paint on a loose sheet and mount it to the board using a starch-based adhesive such as Nori Paste.

gansai floral painting on a shikishi board with Wa fude brush to the side

Step 8

To mount your painting, spray the back of the sheet (the rough side) lightly with water and wait a minute to let the fibers expand. Then apply a light coat of Nori Paste. Apply the sheet to the board, gently smooth out any bubbles, and let dry under heavy books or a press.

reverse side of a floral painting on Hosho paper beside a shikishi board, gansai set, Nori Paste jar and brush

Step 9

When you are finished painting, rinse out your brush and shape the hair to a point with a paper towel. Dry horizontal or hang by the loop.

Wa fude brush being dried on a paper towel

More videos

Ready for more? Keep learning about working with gansai in these videos below.


Visit the Yasutomo YouTube channel for more tutorials, demos, and product reviews!

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