Thursday, January 15, 2009

Make Your Own Color Chart for Watercolor Paints

The illustration above shows a basic color chart for my core palette colors or what I call the Essential 7. This is a great way to find out what combinations you can mix from these seven paint colors.

To create your own color mixing chart:
  • Use a pencil to draw eight rows and columns as shown above.
  • To show how transparent or opaque each pigment is, make a black line using a permanent marker before you apply the colors. When you paint over the black line if the color disappears it is transparent, if you can see the pigment sitting on top of the black line then it has opaque qualities.
  • Each ROW is about the color/hue in that row and what the other colors in the palette do when mixed with the dominant row color.
  • Each COLUMN contains the same colors placed in the same order as in the rows.
  • Mix less of the column color and more of the row color for the best results.
  • Leave a little white space on either side of the pencil lines (between the color squares) to visually separate the colors.
  • NOTE: Each color will be mixed with itself during this process.
  • This chart shows the secondary and tertiary color combinations that are possible by mixing only two tube colors.
  • It's possible to create many more neutral hues by combining three or more tube colors in the basic split primary palette.
  • When the chart was totally dry I erased the pencil lines.

Of course you can make as many rows and columns as you want but I've found that when I want to add new colors to my core palette all I really need to do is add a new row and show how they interact with my 7 core palette colors. If they work with these 7 then I have a color that I can use successfully. If the color isn't compatible with my core palette then I need to be more careful and selective as to how I choose to use that particular paint.


ve3coj said...

Hi Susie

I found your chart very helpful. I picked my colours and completed the chart. I then realized that one duplicates the mix twice! I then drew a diagonal line from the top left to the bottom right. Then I cut on the line leaving the bottom half. Just had to print the colours of the top row on the diagonal.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jeff,

Just read your comment - yes, the same 2 colours are mixed twice on the chart. BUT you're supposed to mix more of the colour in the rows, running down the page, than in the columns across the page. So, the balance of each is different.

For example, in the first row, DS Hansa Yellow mixes with NG (New Gamboge), but more of the Hansa Yellow is used. In the next row, the DS New Gamboge is mixed with the HY column, but this time, the dominant colour is the DS New Gamboge. That is why there are shade differences when the same 2 colours are used on the grid.

Think I'm right! Hope you get to read this. I am just starting out in watercolours!