Earth Watercolours

Pigments in this group owe their name to the fact that most of them are made (or were made historically) of clay and earth minerals. The most common designation for these pigments is “PBrXX“, meaning “Pigment Brown”, but there are some yellow and red pigments in this group too. The Xs in the designation are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances).

Naples Yellow usually ends up in this group, but I refuse to include it here, because it was a synthetic pigment originally (in fact, it’s one of the oldest synthetic pigments, as it dates back to 17th century; the real deal is no longer being made because it is toxic). I also don’t include sepia here, because it was historically made out of ink of some oceanic cephalopods (like squids or cuttlefish). Quinacridones are also absent, obviously.

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various earths that I have or had in my possession, imitations included. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints

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Red and Purple Watercolors

Red pigments usually have a “PRXX” designation, where “PR” means “Pigment Red”, and the Xs are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances). Purple colors can have “PR” or “PV” (“Pigment Violet”) designation.

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various reds that I have or had in my possession. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints

Yellow and Orange Watercolors

Yellow and orange pigments usually have a “PYXX” or “POXX” designation, where “PY” means “Pigment Yellow” and “Pigment Orange” respectively, and the Xs are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances).

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various yellows and oranges that I have or had in my possession. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints

Green Watercolors

Green pigments usually have a “PGXX” designation, where “PG” means “Pigment Green”, and the Xs are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances). For example, PG7 is copper phthalocyanine, a bright blueish-green substance usually called phtalo green.

The list of available green pigments isn’t excessively large. Many green paints are, in fact, so-called “convenience mixtures” – pre-mixed shades of green, the purpose of which is to free the artist from the tedious task of mixing his or her favorite green again and again every day. Interestingly enough, you will not find a green paint consisting of a yellow and a blue pigment. All green mixtures are based on green pigments, to achieve the highest chroma possible. This is also why having a green paint on your palette is so useful.

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various greens that I have or had in my possession. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints

Blue and Violet Watercolors

Blue pigments usually have a “PBXX” designation, where “PB” means “Pigment Blue”, and the Xs are digits which correspond to a certain chemical substance (or range of similar substances). For example, PB35 is cobalt and/or copper oxides, substances of a distinctive shade of blue called cerulean.

Below, you will find the swatches of all the various blues and violets that I have or had in my possession. Swatches have two areas, the upper one to demonstrate the range of tints (diluted paint), and the lower one to show the mass-tone (the paint taken straight from the tube without diluting or, in case of the pans, the thickest concentration I could get). On each swatch you will notice a black line – I made it to give the idea about the transparency of the paint.

Single Pigment Paints

Mixed Pigment Paints