Color Mixer on Dick Blick

My Pentel Pencil Color Chart
     As an instructor of beginning acrylic paint artists who are new to art, new to painting, new to acrylics, new to whatever, color theory and paint properties are a part of my introductory topics which my students will build for a lifetime.
     EVERYONE I talk with is absolutely positive that red, yellow, and blue will mix to make every color imaginable.     
     The dilemma of new artists and maybe even experienced artists is which blue, red or yellow will mix to approximately what they are imagining or observing?
     Interestingly the human eye can perceive about 7 million colors ( -Color and Vision) so if you don't get the mixing spot-on, it could/would be noticed.
     The science of mixing colors is a complex one at first, but joyfully there are many helpful strategies for artists to be successful. As I move through this class we will look at more of them. For now, it is important for you to know
  • All blues are not created equally, in fact, their mixtures are usually proprietary.
  • Hues of the same name across brands are not mixed exactly the same.
  • The pigments used in each tube of paint are listed on the tube label which will be explained in class.
  • If a hue has the name primary (hue name), this does not mean it is a scientific primary color such as the similar hue in a rainbow. It may still be a mix of some degree.
  • You may mix any blue with any red or any yellow to obtain a multitude of lovely colors, but
  • If you mixe a different blue, red and/or yellow, you will obtain a multitude of very different lovely colors.
  • Additionally, some hues are created with pigments (natural or synthetic) that repel and/or react with other pigments in other hues in unexpected ways
How to approach the conundrums of color mixing acrylic paints?
  • Experiment, artists have been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years.
    • Be sure to keep a well-noted color journal for reference
  • Check out some color mixing books, tutorials, artists shares
  • Use an online color mixer
    • Will help you get a feel for how mediums of one kind/one brand interact with each other
    • Be sure to make a real-life noted sample in your sketchbook because digital displays are not exactly the same. 
    • One Example:
On a connected (to the Internet) device, go to Golden Fluid Acrylic Color Mixer.
  • In the box on the left at the bottom, you can choose a hue category (red, yellow, green, etc.) Click on your choice.
  • Now you will see tiny rectangle icons above with names of Golden Fluid Acrylics in that choice category such as Yellows: Hansa Yellow, Primary Yellow, etc.
  • Click on the one you want to try first.
  • Look on the right side of the box and click on the circle next to your choice, then click on the + to add "one serving" or the - to deduct "one serving" Your colors will be mixed based on the portion ratios you designate
  • Do the same process with the next color to see how these two hues mix.
  • I recommend enlarging your screen. 
  • You can add more colors (up to 4) or delete any or all of them.
  • I would not print unless you have a very high-quality printer
  • Be sure to change which hue goes on first (order) because the color will look different depending on which overlaps (layers/glazes) over the other(s)
  • You could mix these colors in your sketchbook with real Golden Fluid Acrylic paints to compare the results.
  • Be sure to always note your paint names and ratio proportions in your sketchbook and also which hue went on top (layer/glaze) the other(s)
  • This tool would give you a beginning feel for the ways this medium mixes.
Let me know how you used this and if you thought it should be shared with others. In the meantime, search DickBlick's website to see if they have color mixing tools for all their paint products. Let us know what you find.

Ginger Cook has a great YouTube video about color mixing. I am not endorsing her choice of hues because I want to do some testing myself, but her choices are pretty common. I will come back with a post about what hues I recommend for a beginning artist's supply list.
Until then, watch her video at

I would love to hear from you. Check the "I Like" to at least let me know you are a real person viewing this blog. (You might need to enlarge your screen to see the link). 

Until later, Kathy