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How to make a mix of colors in watercolor?

I have received several times the question, “How do you mix colors with watercolors?

To answer this question, I propose today a video demo and a summary of the tips used. Do not hesitate if it is not clear to ask me questions in the comments!

Why make a mix of colors in watercolor?

With the multitude of existing colors, we can think that there is no need to mix them. However, I use almost only combined colors and not pure. I think it brings more complexity and richness to the composition.

Moreover, the range of possibilities is so full! Finally, with a chosen set of small buckets, for example, four colors, we can create a color chart that will have more cohesion, so it’s a good thing to practice mixing colors with watercolors. You can even use the best watercolor pencils for your watercolor painting.

Tips for making a color mix with watercolor

The necessary equipment:

  • An aluminum or preferably white ceramic pallet

  • Colors (I prefer the buckets), the brand I use: Sommelier

  • A brush: I use a Raphael range of 803 sizes 2/0

  • A reasonably large jar filled to three quarters

  • A cloth

  • Paper: I use here the back of a sheet to test my colors (always good to keep under the elbow)

Prepare mixtures

  • It is still useful to have a test sheet when you make a realization. I am using back watercolor leaves for this purpose.

  • A jar a little big can rinse the brush. Preferably, choose a clear jar to see the bush.

  • Choose a white color palette to mix. See my palette.

Gait

  • I moisten my brush and I pass it on one of the buckets. I put my color on the palette and I’m looking for a second color. I put it on the palette and mix.

  • I observe the rendering directly on the palette and I test on my sheet to see if the color corresponds to what I’m looking for.

  • I do not hesitate to help me a reference to have the color under the eyes and compare with my mixture.

  • If the rendering is too dark: add water

  • If the rendering is too light: add pigments

Questions

  1. How to make black? How to make white?

I do not advise you to buy black or white in watercolor.

Here’s why: white is water. No need to buy, it will give an opaque white that is not watercolor.

Black, I advise you to make it with your dark/opaque colors (example: sepia, indigo blue, madder red, etc.). It will be more subtle and more harmonious with the rest of your palette; it will jump less to the eyes.

  1. Should you clean your palette after each mix?

Unlike oil or acrylic, it is very easy to reuse a dry mix with watercolor. Just add a little water. So, I do not hesitate to reuse my colors.

To make it easier, I advise you to give zones to your palette. Example on the right the hot colors, on the left the cold ones. Otherwise, you may end up with brown, not very beautiful.

If you want to clean the palette, take a brush a little big and pass on the pallet. You can then wipe with your cloth after several brush strokes.

  1. Should we rinse each time his brush between the steps of a mixture?

No, not necessarily. However, if you put blue on yellow and then you want to make an orange, rinse your brush, pass on the bucket to remove the blue and rinse.

  1. Should we mix in large quantities?

I do not mix in substantial quantities. I prefer to combine several times. With a little training, it is easy to dose the pigments to find the colors.

If you have made a mixture in large quantities and your brush is too wet, just lightly wipe with a cloth or by pressing the brush at the edge of your jar.

Conclusion

Learning to make your mixes allows you to get new shades. You will also have more facilities to work from a reference image. This skill will open you a new field of possibilities very appreciable.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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