Free $2 Tutorial – Color Mixing Grids

Color Mixing Grids

Color Mixing Grids

Believe it or not, I’ve had several people ask me questions about how to do stuff. Being self taught AND not being an art teacher puts me in the situation where people ask me how to do stuff and all I can tell ’em is how it works for me. So I thought I would try to work in a little lesson during the pre show sing along. This time, a lady on the street asked me to talk about color mixing.

You can watch this week’s lesson on the YouTube here:

The Lesson:

Whenever you get a set of paints, inks, colors, pastels, whatever makes marks, you should make one of these color charts where you see exactly how each color lays over the other colors. You should also do it if you are going to work with multiple materials. For instance, if you are going to combine watercolor, ink, and pastel, you’ll want to know how those products interact.

First, the grid. It’s really exactly as simple as it sounds. Draw a grid with the same number of columns as the different materials you’re comparing. Make the same amount of rows. Label the columns and rows after the color/material you are comparing. Then simple fill that column and row with that material. For instance, if you were doing crayola watercolors, you would have a column labeled “Yellow” and a row labeled “Yellow”. Fill both with yellow. When that dries, the row and columns next should say “Orange”. When you fill THOSE columns and rows, you will see that the Orange row overlaps one grid of the Yellow. The same is true for the column. In these two grids can see how the crayola watercolor yellow interacts with the orange. Finish filling out the rows and columns with their perspective materials and you can see how they all interact with each other. When it dries, you will also have a handy color guide for color matching when you are painting. Simply match the greens in a photo with the greens on your grid and you will see how to mix the colors to get the closest green to the photo.

Why Should You Do This:

Quite simply, different companies use different pigments and binders to get to the same hue. That means “Red” in the Crayola set may look like the “Red” in the KOI pan, maybe they even look similar when you paint with them, but they may interact VASTLY differently with the other colors and each other. In the samples below, painted streaks of various blacks and reds onto wet paper. You can see some of the “Red” was actually a crimson, cooler (more blue) than the warmer (more yellow) Cadmium Reds. But those are the “Red” paints that were provided with those sets. The blacks were warmer and cooler also. You can also see how some blended into the wet paper and some simply sat atop the paper. These are the things you want to know before you grab the Windsor & Newtons and go to use them with the Crayolas.

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