Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Best Guides to Colour Mixing

I've published a new website - The Best Guides to Colour Mixing.

Most artists at some point or another test out the different colours they can make with their paint or pastels or coloured pencils or whatever medium they're using.

Lots of us try developing charts - and many a happy hour can be spent filling in boxes with different mixes of colours.

An exercise in mixing neutrals from 12 complementary colours using coloured pencils
(from Stephen Quiller's book - Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory
Charts can be particularly useful as a reference - particularly if we've remembered to write down the colours and the proportions being used!  Lots even end up being pinned on studio walls - which is definitely the easiest way of remembering where you put your charts!

Thing is - you or I can make loads of charts - and still not be able to work out (or remember) how to make a particular colour!

The best answer is to just keep using paint until mixing becomes second nature and you don't need to think which colours you need to use.  This is, without fail, the best answer.

However I do subscribe to the view that sometimes you need your eyes opened to the range of colours which can be produced through mixing colours - either physically (on the pallet) or optically (on the paper or support).

A good way of finding out about colour mixes is to take a peek at some of the deecnt books about colour and some of the guides and references which are around.  These can be very informative as to just how many different shades you can create from a limited palette.  Not all are - but some are very good.

I found these chart books very useful when I was starting out for understanding a lot how two colours can make new colours I would never have guessed were possible.  I distinctly remember a phase where reading one of my chart books triggered me into testing out every combination of blues and browns to see what sort of coloured neutrals I could produce.

Even better were books by people like Jeanne Dobie and Stephen Quiller which really got me thinking a lot more about colour and about colour mixes which I might not have tried without having read their books.

This new site is essentially about looking at
  • different ways of mixing colours 
  • different books which help you understand more about mixing colour
  • different aids for learning more about mixing colours.
However it's brand new and I've got more work to do on it.

Let me know what you think.  Also, if you've written anything helpful about colour mixing do let me know and I'll see if it's suitable for adding in as a link within the tips and techniques for colour mixing section.

For more about Colour

For ease of access to all my blog posts from the Colour Project on this blog (in 2008) - and more about colour, colour theory and the best art books about colour please review my three other websites about colour.

Colour - Resources for Artists
Colour - Resources for Artists
What is colour? Do you know or do you want to learn more about colour and its use as an artist? This site provides links to information and advice about colour and how to understand and analyse it - and then use it as an artist.  

The Best Art Books - Colour
The Best Art Books - Colour
Read the best books for artists and painters about understanding colour, mixing colours and using colour in paintings. * Find out which are the leading art books about colour. * Read associated art book reviews. 

Colour Theory for Artists
Colour Theory for Artists
If you want to understand more about the science of colour, how it works and how people think (or thought) it works then this is the site for you. It covers: List of colours | Color Theory | Historical Theories of colour | Value - darkness and lightness of colour | Saturation or colorfulness etc.


  1. Great idea about information on mixing colors.
    I did a blog post on how to make your own color chart in 2008. It is the blog post that gets the most number of hits.
    Terry Krysak

  2. Great idea about color information.

    My most popular blog post was on how to make your own color chart.



  3. Thanks Terry - I'd already spotted that post and included it in my new website - see tips and techniques


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