Thursday, June 26, 2008

Colour - pigments and related colours

From top left clockwise
natural ultramarine; synthetic ultramine; raw sienna, burnt sienna

All Images from Wikimedia

I want a table which tells me all about different colours - and relates pigment to colour names to chemical names and then explains what all that means. But can I find one on the internet? Well I've looked and no I can't! I can find lots of freely available material and some excellent and very informative links - but its all in chunks and I can't find a table which can be looked at offline.

So I'm going to try and produce one. My table will set out the following:
  1. Pigment Groups - natural organic, synthetic organic, and inorganic -
  2. Colour / pigment name (allocated to type of pigment group) - and then for each of these
  3. Chemical Name
  4. Comments abut its use in art
  5. Links to relevant information - which can be opened when viewed online.
It's going to be too big for a blog post to show it properly - mainly because (as I've already discovered!) it needs to be in a landscape format.

So I'm going to produce it as a pdf file and then post it as a FREE Making A Mark Guide in the colour section of my Making A Mark website.

Please feel free to suggest useful websites which can be referenced in the document below!

Check back later today to get a link to it - or, at the very least, an update on how it is progressing! I've got it underway and it's going fine but it's BIG and may take a while............


  1. Hello Katherine

    You might find the Winsor and Newton Composition and Permanence tables useful:

    Best Wishes
    Coral Guest.

  2. Thanks very much Coral - I came across these tables recently but had forgotten to bookmark them so I really appreciate getting them back again! :)

    For people who don't know about Coral and her absolutely stunning watercolours see my post here Treasures of Botanical Art - a recommended read and her website. Both highly recommended for botanical artists.

  3. This site has photos, commentary and some scientific information:

    This forum post has a listing of pigment codes:

  4. Thanks Scott

    Actually, if you look at yesterday's post you'll see that I'm already referencing the excellent material produced by Julie Sparks ( - as part of her amazing research into illuminated books.

    That's a good list of pigment codes with names. I've already got all that information in books - but it's always useful to find it on the internet too.

    I'm going to be dealing with the naming,classifying and coding in a separate post. When I've got that bit sorted I'll be updating the table I'm doing with codes - so thanks it's a useful internet reference.

  5. Update on the progress to date....

    I've completed all the earth colours and made inroads on the rest - but I'm jumping around a bit and can already see this is going to take a little bit longer than I was expecting. The problem has two parts
    - I have got lots of information!
    - which needs to be summarised and kept simple!

    However I'm always keen to find out about more information which is accessible via links to websites on the internet.

  6. Hi,

    The genuine ultramarine blue which comes from the lapiz lazuli stone(containing lazurite) is one of the msot expensive ones, but also one of the most beautiful.
    There's a house in Italy, which name I can't remember, that sells that (among other traditional ones such as the cinnabar red).
    It's price in the refined version is...well I won't even tell you people because you may fall off your chairs . :-)

    Take care,


  7. Hi Katherine - The best website I have found to date, with heaps of info about pigments, etc., is, geared toward watercolors, but the pigment information is universal.
    Cheers from Anna


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