Watercolor Mixing Based on Pigment Properties | Denise Soden | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watercolor Mixing Based on Pigment Properties

teacher avatar Denise Soden, Watercolor Artist & Content Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Materials


    • 3.

      What are Primary Colors?


    • 4.

      Identifying Warm and Cool Colors


    • 5.

      Mixing Secondary Colors


    • 6.

      Split Primary Color Wheels


    • 7.

      Complementary Colors & Mixing Blacks


    • 8.

      Unconventional Triads


    • 9.

      Decoding Watercolor Labels


    • 10.

      Granulating vs. Non-Granulating Colors


    • 11.

      Opaque vs. Transparent Colors


    • 12.

      Single Pigment vs Multi-Pigment Colors


    • 13.

      Class Project


    • 14.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class, we will tap into our inner watercolor geeks to better understand how pigment properties affect our ability to mix colors. The technical side of watercolors can seem intimidating at first. However, I'll teach you how the colors we select for our palettes can limit or expand our ability to mix additional colors.

In this class, we will explore:
• The difference between RBY & CMY primary triads
• How to identity warm and cool colors
• How to read pigment information on watercolor labels
• How individual pigment properties like granulation and transparency affect color mixing

This class is intended for beginners or anyone who would like to learn more about color theory and pigment properties as they apply to watercolor.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Denise Soden

Watercolor Artist & Content Creator


Denise Soden is a watercolor artist and online educational content creator. She's been captivated by both animals and art since before she can remember. In 2015, she left her career, passion, and lifestyle as a zoo educator to tend to her personal health. However, around the same time she found watercolors and has since fallen completely head over heals for them. Connecting her artistic roots with her passion for wildlife and education, she is now a full time artist and educational watercolor content creator.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hello everyone and welcome to my first skill share class. My name is Denise Snowden. I'm a former Zoo educator, watercolor enthusiast, and YouTube content creator. In my first of hopefully many skill share classes, we're going to be talking about watercolor mixing based on a pigment properties. If you guys have seen my YouTube channel before, you will know that I am a massive of watercolor nerd and I love to learn everything that I can about watercolor pigment properties, and how they relate to the paintings that we create. In today's class called watercolor mixing based on pigment properties, we're going to be tapping into our inner watercolor geeks to understand how pigment properties can affect our ability to mix colors. Although the technical side of watercolors can seem a bit intimidating at first, it might be a new concept for many of you guys. I'm going to go ahead and try and make things as easy as possible as we break down these concepts into bite-size pieces. In this class, we are going to explore the differences between using red, blue, and yellow as primary colors versus cyan, magenta and yellow. How to identify warm and cool shades within primary colors. How to read pigment information on watercolor tube labels. How individual pigment properties like granulation and transparency can affect your color mixing. How multiple pigments with any single paint can also affect your color mixing. This class is intended for anyone who wants to learn more about watercolor pigment properties, color theory, and color mixing as they relate to watercolor. In addition to being valuable information on its own, the material presented in this class will also be a foundation for my next skill share class, which we'll focus on creating, a limited watercolor palettes based on our pigment knowledge. Without further ado, let's go ahead and jump on into our first lesson on primary colors. 2. Class Materials: Whoa, slow down there and Denise, before we jump on into our class, let's first talk about what materials we will need. Obviously, one of the most important things for this class are going to be watercolor paints. To get the most out of this class, you are going to need at least six colors, a warm and cool version of each of our primary colors. Which we're going to discuss at length in the next segment of this class. I will be using lemon yellow, new gamboge, pyrrol red, quinacridone magenta, ultramarine, and phthalo turquoise. The brands that I'm using today are a mixture of Daniel Smith and Winsor Newton, but you don't have to have these specific colors or brands in your collection to take this class. You can modify the colors based on what you have available to you. If you are brand new to watercolors and when likes him recommendations, I'll leave a link in the class description below for some of my favorite supplies to start with. Next step, you're going to need watercolor paper. This is really important because watercolor paper differs from other types of paper and then it's able to hold more water. There are two main types of watercolor paper, cotton, watercolor paper or cellulose. Cotton is easier to work with, but it is more expensive. Cellulose or would pull paper is more economical, but it will be more frustrating over time. For this particular class it doesn't really matter all that much because we're not going to be using a lot of layers, but just have that in mind moving forward. I would recommend doing this class with whatever paper you plan on using most often in your watercolor adventures. You'll want a dedicated brush, four-year watercolor painting as mediums like acrylic or oil paints can damage the bristles of your brush over time. Brushes that are made for acrylics and oils have to be stiffer to accommodate that medium. For watercolor brushes, you're going to want softer, synthetic or natural hair fibers there will be easier to paint with in this different brushes. In general, I recommend starting with a size eight round brush. For beginners, this type of brush is very versatile and you can do just about anything with it. You'll also need two containers for water. I say two instead of one because it's important when you're painting or when you're doing these exercises to be able to see your colors clearly, by having one container to rinse out your heavily pigmented brushes and in a second container to give a final rents or pull freshwater from. You'll keep your mixing it nice and clear. You'll want to have either paper towels or my preference is a reusable rag to wipe your brushes on, plus a pencil and eraser. Once again, if you need any help with the supplies for this class, I do have that special lists set up on my Amazon Influencer page with a link in the description below, you can go ahead and find those easily. 3. What are Primary Colors?: What are the primary colors? In school, at least here in the United States we're all taught that red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors. But what if I told you that's not entirely true? To start things off, I want to clarify that in this class we're going to be talking about subtractive color mixing as it applies to art. This is different from additive color mixing, which applies to things like our vision and the way that our screens project light. There's more information that you can find online about these complex visual subjects. But I'm going to try and give you a really brief overview in this video. For those of you who might be curious about it. Our eyes have cone or photo receptor cells on our retinas. Humans can detect red, green, and blue with these cones because that's the type of receptors that we have. Those three colors of light have to combine to make all other colors that we see in our brains. I think the simplest way to understand this is to imagine being in a dark room. If you were to add red, green, and blue beams of light onto a wall overlapping each other, you'd be able to see a range of other colors as well as white light in the center when all three are combined, are added equally. On the contrary, if we start with a white wall or a white sheet of paper and introduce inks, dyes or paints to the surface. Some of those colors wavelengths in the visual spectrum will be absorbed or subtracted by a vision, and we will see the remaining color as a result. If all three wavelengths are absorbed, we are left with the absence of white or black. If we circle back around to our class in color theory as it pertains to art, the definition of a primary color is that they are used to mix all the other colors and that they themselves cannot be mixed. The problem with red and blue is that they actually can be mixed. It's true that you can mix red and yellow together as we all know to make orange. But red itself can actually be made from yellow and another color, magenta. In another pairing, blue and yellow do make green of course, but the primary blue that we typically think of when we think of the color blue is actually a mixture of another color called cyan with a touch of magenta added to it. The answer was actually sitting right under our noses the whole time because we've heard about this triad before in printing. It's the CMY triad or cyan, magenta and yellow. Let's go ahead and take a look at these two groupings of colors and a full color wheel next to one another. Notice how on our more familiar red, blue, and yellow color wheel. Our purple isn't exactly vibrant and the range of yellows and oranges is actually really stretched out over a large section of our color wheel. However, on the cyan, magenta and yellow color wheel, the colors are all more balanced with a wider range of violets and brighter greens represented among those colors. In this class, we're going to get some hands-on experience with these different groupings of colors. I want you to be able to walk away from this class knowing why certain colors react the way that they do in certain mixes. In order to do that, we're going to need to know what doesn't work just as much as we need to know what does work. Just so we can avoid some confusion during this class, instead of using the term primary colors, I'll try to remember to use the words Primary Triads. By that I mean three colors that work together roughly as a cyan or blue, a magenta, or a red, and a yellow together to create all the other colors that we'd like to be mixing. 4. Identifying Warm and Cool Colors: Switching gears a little bit, let's talk about some other labels that you might have heard it being applied to colors even earlier on in this very class, and that is warm and cool. While it might not seem like it at first, these labels actually play a large role in color mixing. Let's go ahead and dive a little deeper. Let's start broad. If I ask you to look at this color wheel and divide it exactly in half with one side representing warm colors and the other side representing cool colors, where would that line be? For me, that line falls so that yellow through violet are warm colors, and that yellow green through the deep bluish-violet are cool. However, it is important to note that color is based on perception. Your line might be slightly different like this or even this, and that's okay. Getting a bit more specific, let's take a look at individual colors. We just learned in that last lesson that what we generally perceive as being red actually has some yellow in it, and it might be referred to not only as a red, but in fact a warm red. But what about the reds that lean towards magenta and have no yellow insight? While these reds or magentas that lean towards the blue, can also be referred to as cool reds. Now I want you to practice and try to identify these two yellows. Which one is warm and which one is cool? What's your reasoning? The color on the left is the cool yellow because it leans closer to green on the color wheel. The yellow on the right could almost be considered a light orange in fact, which means it's closer to red and a warmer color. Last step in the primary colors, we finally have to identify the blues, and this is where things get a little bit tricky as our perception of how we see colors will play a big role. First, instead of identifying warm and cool, let's just state facts about where these colors lie on the color wheel. The blue here on the right is closer to cyan or green on the color wheel. Let's go ahead and stick it there for a moment. The blue on the left is closer to violent or magenta, true? True. My perception is that the blue leading towards cyan or green is cool, while the one leaning towards violet or magenta is warm. I think I'd be accurate in saying that the majority of people would agree with that statement. However, there is a substantial percentage of people whose perception of warm and cool blues is actually flip-flopped. The basis of this argument, I believe lies on the visual spectrum. On the visual spectrum, violet is furthest to one end, so the argument there is that violet is the coolest color and therefore all blues leaning towards violet are cool blues. However, I think the issue with this argument is that we're not looking at a linear spectrum in art, we're looking at a color wheel and that wraps around full circle. The violet in a color wheel connects to magenta, which is a warm color. Therefore, the blues can go either way depending on how you choose to see them. Ultimately, neither of these perceptions are necessarily wrong as long as we can agree that one color is closer to green and the other one is closer to violet. However, I can say that in the next couple of lessons of this class, we are going to be talking a little bit more about these labels and I'll be able to clarify my reasoning a little bit better when we come to this split primary wheel section. 5. Mixing Secondary Colors: I think it's about time that we finally get to some color mixing in this water color mixing glass. Let's first start off by talking about secondary colors, which we all probably learned about also in grade school. Secondary colors are colors that are mixed from relatively equal portions of the colors that you've chosen for your primary triad. In our formally known primary color wheel of using red, blue, and yellow, the secondary colors are orange, purple, and green. However, with the cyan, magenta and yellow color wheel coming into our views as well as other possibilities that are out there, we should start being willing to loosen our perspective on what secondary colors are. In the case of the cyan, magenta and yellow color wheel, the secondary are actually closer to red, green, and blue, which for anyone keeping track are actually the three colors that our eyes can see using the additive color mixing that we learned about earlier in this class. But enough with all those technical talk, I think that our brains need a break right about now. At this point in the class, I'd like us all to use the information that we've learned so far and just play around with our colors for some hands-on practice. For this mini class project, I'd like you to create three little color wheels showing various triads of their secondary colors. To do this, we first need to take a look at your personal watercolor palette. We need to start by slapping some labels somewhere on your colors. Depending on whichever color system works best for you and your mind, I want you to either choose working with cyan, magenta, yellow, and then blue, red and the same yellow. Or you can switch to talking about either your warm and cool versions of each of the primary colors. We can use the same five colors and then add in a warm yellow to differentiate the two sets. As I mentioned when we were talking about materials, these can be any colors that you have on hand. I don't want you to have to go out and buy new colors specifically for this class unless you really want to. But for those of you who have larger watercolor collections and want to specifically know what colors I am using in each of these sets, I'll go ahead and list them here so that you can go ahead and see them. Once you've picked out your five or six colors that you're going to be using it for this activity, we're ready to go ahead and start the project. The first step is to draw three circles, preferably at least three to four inches in diameter, and all on the same sheet of paper. I like to use a roll of masking tape or anything else around that you have in your studio, but you can freehand them as well. Step 2 is to divide each of your three circles into six relatively equal segments. Next, you want to make sure that you go ahead and plan out each of your three circles and go ahead and write the primary colors that you're going to be using by each segment that they're going to be painted in. It's way too easy to forget where you are if you've skipped this step. Step 4 is to fill in the primary colors on one of your color wheels. Make sure you're skipping spaces in between each one so that you have room for the secondary's. Finally for step 5, already to mix our secondary colors. There's a couple of things that I want to give you notes about in this section. The first is to make sure you start off with your lighter colors, so your yellow and your red. Because by doing your lighter colors first, they won't get muddied up by the blue paint that you're later going to add to your water. Secondly, as I've mentioned before, instead of getting equal portions of each paint mixed together, I would really recommend that you try and make your secondary color look like it belongs right in between the two colors that you are mixing. Yellow is almost always going to be overpowered by middle or dark reds and blues. So you're going to need more yellow in your mixtures to kind of balance things out. After you're done with orange, go ahead and move onto your green and violet sections before moving onto your next color wheel. Once you're done with one color wheel, it you'll go ahead and repeat all these steps for your next two and make sure that you are having fun with it. The final step is to upload this to your class project. While this isn't our final class project, it's a wonderful stepping stone. I would love to see what you were able to come up with. I'd like you to be able to ask questions of me if you have any, and I'd love for you all to share with each other so we can see just how many different options that are for secondary colors out there. 6. Split Primary Color Wheels: Now that you've finished your first mini-project, what discoveries did you make? Did you learn anything about color relationships? Did some of the colors turnout bright or were they murky and dull? Once you've taken some time to reflect on your color wheels, I think we're finally ready to start bringing things full circle. Get it? Circle, color wheel. Okay. Let's go ahead and take a look at how warm and cool colors factor into color mixing. In short, colors that are closer to each other on the color wheel will always mix to make brighter, more intense colors when they are mixed together. Colors that are further away have less in common with each other, which we will go ahead and give a name to later, but for right now, all we need to know is that those colors are going to mix less vibrant and duller colors. Luckily, there's still a way for us to have our cake and eat it too, with a fun little tool called a split primary color wheel. In this version of a color wheel, we will use all six versions of our warm and cool primary colors to keep like colors closer together and the goal of the split primary palette is to make the most vibrant versions of each secondary color as possible. Of course, we won't always want the brightest colors possible, but this wheel will show us how to get them, so it's important that we learn it. I won't ask you to do another mini-projects so close to the last one, but if you'd like to follow along, you are more than welcome to do so and add it to your class project. I'm going to start off by using that roll of masking tape once again, and this time I'm going to outline both the outer circle and the inner circle to make a ring. Once I have my ring drawn, I'll divide it into three relatively equal sections and then we're going to begin at the top of the color wheel. I like to start with my warm yellow and the color I'm going to be mixing it with is the color that is closest in our six colors that we looked at before, which is our warm red. Together the warm yellow and the warm red are going to make a bright, fiery orange. For as great as a warm red is at making bright oranges, it's just as lousy for making bright, beautiful purples. Instead of using our warm red, we're going to use our cool red or magenta and we're going to pair it with the blue that is closest to violet. In our final segment, we're going to mixing green. We're going to take our cool yellow that is closer to green, place that at the top and we're going to paint most of the segment of this section of the color wheel with the light yellow because it's a very weak mixing color. The pthalo turquoise on the other hand, that I'm using kind of in place as a cyan is very intense and we won't need very much of it to get that really vibrant green. So here's our final split primary color wheel that shows the most vibrant versions of each of the secondary colors. But of course those aren't the only mixtures that we can get from these six colors, so let's go ahead and take another look. I'm going to be using some circles and texts so that this follows a little bit easier. I hope for you guys at home watching. First step is the warm yellow and we're going to mix it with the other red that we didn't already mix it with, which is the cool ratan. Staying with the oranges, we're going to take the warm red and mix it with the other yellow that we haven't already mixed this red with, which is the cool yellow. Moving on to our violets, we are going to use the cool red and the other blue, which for now I'm going to call cool. Then I'm going to take our warm blue and mix it with the other red that we haven't mixed it with already and that is the warm red. Finally, we're going to finish up with the greens by mixing our cool blue with the other yellow, which is the warm yellow, and the cool yellow with the other warm blue. Here we have our split primary color wheel with these added colors that are less vibrant, but still versions of secondary colors that you can get with these six colors. But wait, there's more because we still haven't mixed three combinations, and those are the ones that are nearly opposite from each other on the color wheel. The first one here is going to be the warm yellow with the almost opposite warm blue. Then we have the cool yellow with the almost opposite cool red, and finally, the warm red with the almost opposite cool blue. These are colors that are almost across from each other on the color wheel, which as we have talked about before, are going to be less vibrant and saturated than their counterparts. All right. You remember that conversation we were having about warm and cool blues? Well, I am finally ready to kind of explain myself with my stance. On the top here we have pthalo turquoise mixed with a cool yellow first and then a warm yellow and on the bottom we have French ultramarine mixed with the same two yellows. Starting at the top, this green is nice and bright and vibrant and right in the middle of what we would expect a green to be. Then as we move down the line, they start to get warmer and warmer and the last one is very mossy or could even be considered muddy. Now if the top two greens are cooler, and the bottom two are warmer and I did try to think about the bottom two as cool. I was like, what am I missing? Is there anything I could misconstrue here that these would be cooler greens, but I just don't think there's an argument for it. If that's the case that pthalo blue that I call cool makes cooler greens and ultra marine, which I call warm makes warmer greens, then that makes sense to me. If you're trying to figure out whether or not a blue is warm or cool, I would just start to say, when in doubt, mix it out and see what kind of greens you get. 7. Complementary Colors & Mixing Blacks: Mixing all three primary colors together regardless of which color wheel we're using will make some version of black. However, we're using paint and not pretty beams of light like we talked about earlier in this class, so the balance between the colors can be really delicate and it may take a lot of practice before getting it right. Constantly finding the balance between three paint colors every time you need a dark color can be frustrating, though. Are there any shortcuts? Why? Yes. Yes, there are. The term complimentary colors may sound like it would be a nice descriptor for two colors that look nice next to each other and complement each other in a harmonious way. However, in color theory, it's actually kind of the opposite. Complimentary colors are colors that sit across from each other on the color wheel. When mixed together, they neutralize each other. But when placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast possible. Why do compliments neutralize each other? Well, let's use an example of magenta and green. Magenta is just magenta, it's a primary color. But green, of course, is made up from yellow and cyan or yellow and blue. Therefore, if we mix magenta and green together, all three primary colors will be present. We could also use blue and orange as another example. Blue or cyan have all of the cool components needed for a black, while orange is made up from red and yellow. Of course, all three are still present. If we can keep this in mind, rather than mixing all three primary colors together constantly to mix black, we can find these little shortcuts here and there throughout our palate that'll help speed things along. Now, knowing that compliments neutralize each other, if we look back on our split primary wheel that we just did, it should start to make sense why we had one particular mixture show up. When we mixed our really warm red that leaned towards orange and therefore had yellow in it, and the cool blue that leaned towards green, together those two colors made a nearly black color because all three primaries were present. 8. Unconventional Triads: Once we better understand color theory, we can start to explore other primary triads such as earthy tones like in indanthroned blue, Venetian red, and quinacridone gold to make really unique unconventional mixes. While these aren't going to give you bright greens, purples, and oranges, they can give you some other really lovely tones and might be a stylistic choice as you move further into your watercolor journey. 9. Decoding Watercolor Labels: I don't know about you, but I am ready to switch our gears a little bit. Another promised feature of this class would be to take a look at watercolor pigment properties, and that all starts with learning how to read watercolor labels. The first important thing to note here is that not all watercolors are going to have pigment information on them. In fact, most student and craft grade watercolors won't provide this information at all. Some popular brands that you won't find pigment information on include things like Prang, Prima Marketing, and other generic sets that you'll find at your local craft store. This doesn't mean that you can't still have a great time with them. It just means that a lot of the following information in this segment of this class won't really apply to your set. However, I do still recommend that you stick around in case in the future you're interested in upgrading your set, you'll have a little bit of a leg up on knowing how to read this information. The rest of the segment will be geared towards deciphering these watercolor labels on either higher end student brands of paint like [inaudible] , and professional artist quality paints. I do have a little bit of bad news, in that, this information isn't standardized between everyone, so each brand is going to look a little bit different. The first thing that you're likely to notice is the common name of the watercolor, and that's what we just generally refer to colors as. This one here in this example is quinacridone gold. This is a Daniel Smith paint, and if we roll over the tube to the other side, we'll see a series number. That series number doesn't have anything to do with the identification of the paint, but it does identify how much that paint costs. Different pigments cost different amounts of money to manufacturer and then process into paints. Your series 1's are going to be your cheapest colors while your series 5's are going to be your most expensive ones. If we roll the tube over onto its other side, we're going to find another important piece of information, and that is the pigment identification number. This is a standardized number, and it will be the same across every brand of watercolors based on the pigment that's in that paint. While manufacturers may change the common names of paints, you can always check the pigment number to see if you're getting a similar color to ones that you've already had in your collection. This pigment number reads PO49. That PO stands for pigment orange, and then its ID number is 49. Other codes that you will see are PY for pigment yellow, PR for pigment red, PV for violet, B for blue, G for green, BR for brown, BK for black, and, W for white. You can generally search for pigment numbers on Google, and there will be a couple of websites that come up with really great pigment information. Another grading that you will find on your artist's tubes of watercolor paint is a light fastness rating. Now, we're not going to talk about this too much in this class because we're going to save it for our next one on palette construction, but basically, the light fastness rating has to do with how resilient it is to the sun. These ratings are going to vary from brand to brand, but you'll find two main systems in place. One is a rating of Roman numerals from 1-4 that you'll see here on the Daniel Smith tube, and one is the best and four is the most fugitive, meaning that it will change color in the sunlight very readily. The other system that you'll see on some other brands of paint like this Schmincke tube are a star rating, and their ratings are actually completely opposite, so five stars here is a great rating for light-fastness, it's the highest one. If it were to have one star, that would mean it would be most fugitive. There are also three more ratings that you're not always going to find on the tubes themselves, but most brands of watercolor paint do have a brochure, and you can find those online. The first one is staining, and this, again, doesn't affect color mixing, so we're going to save it for our next class here on Skillshare. The other two that we will talk about in the next two segments are granulation and transparency. 10. Granulating vs. Non-Granulating Colors: The first property that we're going to talk about is granulation. There are two main components to a watercolor paint, the pigment itself and the binder. In watercolors, the binder is a solution of gum arabic, that the pigment is dissolved into and suspended in. Paints that have very fine pigment particles, distribute evenly throughout the binder for a very smooth, non-granulating appearance. However, some pigment particles are just naturally denser and heavier than others. These particles have a tendency to separate from their binder when you add water to the paint and when you spread it over the surface of your paper. The particles can also settle into the grooves of your paper, especially if you're using a cold or rough pressed of watercolor paper texture. In both my own experience and my observation of the people who are in my community, I have come to find that a vast majority of new watercolorists have a tendency to avoid or just flat out dislike granulating watercolors. Speaking from personal experience, I just did not get the appeal of them at all and I wanted all of my colors to be completely flawlessly smooth. As I have grown to know, learn, and study more about watercolor paints, I've discovered the beauty in granulation and it's something that I've really fallen in love with, especially for the natural subjects that I tend to paint in wildlife. As far as watercolor mixing goes, it's important to understand that a key component about granulation is that if you mix a granulating color with a non-granulating color, more often than not, the two colors are going to end up separating as they dry. That's because the heavier granulating pigment is going to settle into the grooves of the paper while the non-granulating pigment has a more even distribution. This will create a two tone defect in a lot of cases and whether or not you want that effect is entirely up to you. The combination that you've been watching in the latter half of this video is Cobalt Teal, and Pyrrole Red. These are the two colors that come to mind most when I think about this effect in mixing paints at home, they have such a strong tendency to separate from each other that you can even see it on the palette before it even hits the paper. 11. Opaque vs. Transparent Colors: The second property we're going to talk about is opacity or transparency. By natures, watercolors are a transparent medium. That's the draw. These paints can layer beautifully on top of each other while still being able to see the colors and textures below them. However, as we talked about with the granulation that not all pigment particles are the same. Some are crisp and transparent, while others like cadmium or earth tones, might have denser pigment particles and therefore have a tendency to be more opaque, which means you can't see through them as well. However, do note that while these opaque colors can be really strong and overpowering in their mass tones, that same pigment can be diluted just like any other watercolor for a nearly transparent effect. You just have to be more careful with them. You can test your specific watercolor collection by drawing a black line with a permanent marker or even using black India ink. Once that line has dried, you can paint over it with your watercolors. The watercolors that are opaque will leave deposits on top of that line while the transparent colors you will hardly be able to tell. This property is important in color mixing because transparent colors are more predictable and harder to muddy up. Opaque colors will often mix differently with different pigments and can appear very heavy or overbearing over a lot of other colors. Once you're more comfortable with these properties, more opaque colors can be really useful in your paintings to cover up maybe mistakes on lower levels of your painting or even have beautiful effects on their own. But when you're just starting off with watercolors, keeping a more transparent watercolor palette will make your watercolor mixing journey a little bit easier. 12. Single Pigment vs Multi-Pigment Colors: If you've been around the watercolor community for long, chances are you've probably heard a debate somewhere about multi pigment versus single pigment watercolor paints. I wanted to go ahead and take a moment in this class to clear the air about this hot topic and, of course, connect it to why it matters in terms of color mixing. I do prefer to have single pigment options available to me. This is in large due to the fact that I have researched the ins and outs out of dozens of specific pigments. I know how they behave in mixes. I'm familiar about their light, fastness, granulation, and transparency qualities. Because of all of that, I can make educated guesses about why I like one specific pigment number over another. However, that doesn't inherently make any of these single pigment paints better than any other paint, just because it happens to have one pigment in it instead of two. Multi pigment paints are fine if they one, work for you as is, or two if you understand both pigments that go into that paint and can understand how they're going to react together. Let me give you a for instance. If you have a yellow paint that is made from two yellow pigments that look pretty much the same as each other and they just happened to be in one paint, that paint is still going to react like a yellow. You're going to be able to mix it like a yellow. For the most part, unless there's some light fastness issue, there shouldn't be any cause for concern. But what happens when you have a tube of paint that has two or more pigments in it that come from different color families? Well, then things start to get a little bit complicated. We're going to start to have to think about how that paint is going to behave in mixes. Will it behave like the hue or the color that we can visually see with our eyes or is it going to behave more like one of the pigments that's inside of it that maybe we wouldn't have thought about? I'm going to give you a really specific example here. There is a color from a brand of paint, a brand of paint that I generally really like, and that is Michigan gold. But the earth tones leaves something to be desired. They're Burnt Sienna, for instance, which is usually a single pigment color, is actually made from three pigments. The color itself is a beautiful brown, but it's made from pigments from three different color families. It's made from Pigment Brown 25, Pigment Red 112, and Pigment Yellow 150. That's not two, but now three families of colors all competing in the mix. We're not really sure which one is going to come out on top. One of Burnt Sienna's most famous, if not the most favorite pairing, is when it's mixed with Ultramarine to create a lovely, beautiful soft gray. What's going to happen when I take this Frankenstein paint for Mission Gold and try to mix that color. To make matters worse, the blue that actually came in this set is an Ultramarine that isn't a single pigment. It's not just made from the typical PB 29 and also has a pigment violet color added to it. What should be a two pigment blend has skyrocketed up to five pigments and everyone is just really conflicted with each other. Say that you're using these two colors and you're following an online tutorial, and they tell you to use Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna, but you don't know about checking pigment numbers, and you mix these colors together, and then you think you're doing something wrong because you're getting this crazy mix as a result. Good news is, it's not your fault. Bad news is, we have to be a little bit more careful in checking our pigment labels. In short, it's best to be aware of what's inside your paints so that if something goes wrong, you can start to understand why. If you already have multi pigment color paints in your collection and they work for you, that's great. You don't have to stop using them. 13. Class Project: Its class project time, using those many projects that we did throughout the sculpture class and keeping opacity and granulation in mind, I want you to go ahead and think about your favorite primary colors. I want you to pick your three favorite primary colors, whatever that means to you over the course of exploring colors in this class, and expand that into a 12-section color wheel. In this project you'll get to explore not only secondary colors, but also your tertiary colors and see how these pigments really interact with each other. Hello everyone, it is so good to finally talk to you in real time. I hope you've been enjoying this Skillshare class, we are finally getting it started on our class project, but since you haven't seen me construct a 12-section color wheel yet. I thought it would be good to go ahead and walk you through those first steps if you've never made one before. I'm going to go ahead and show you the setup of our color wheel and the first stages of it, and then we'll check back at the end to see how yours came out to. Since you guys have seen me use so many of the traditional colors up until this point, I thought we'd go ahead and switch things up. For my class project, I'm going to be doing an earth tone primary triad. These colors look similar on the tube, but another case for making sure you swatch out all your paint is the quite different, this is a bit of a yellow tone, and this is more of a reddish brown tone. So I have them squeezed out into this little palette that I've been using it for the filming of this video so far. I even dug out my compass, which will make things a little bit easier. You can still trace your masking tape if you want, or if you want to make a bigger circumference on your circle you can go ahead and find either a different shape to trace or get out a [inaudible] compass. That's going to be too big, I think this should fill up most of my page. I'm going to go ahead and see if I remember how to use a compass. So there we go, we have our nice big circle and I'm going to go ahead and get out a ruler if I want to make things look nice and pretty of course. You can just go with the flow and make it a little looser if you don't want to be as precise. My circle is a little over 6.5 inches, so a little over three and a quarter is going to be our center point, and just make sure that I have that triangulated here. Not triangulated, that's a different shape. Then we're going to start to divide our circle up into pieces. You're going to draw roughly in half, again you can do this more precisely if you want to. I'm going to eyeball it, just knowing where the center of my circle is. Hopefully we get fairly close to what we're looking for. Once you have your four quadrants, each of these are going to be divided up into three pieces. Four times three is 12, so we'll end up with 12 sections in our piece. If you'd like to do this by estimating along this outer line as you've seen me doing the class before, where those two sections might evenly divide the edge. These ones are a little bit more guesswork in terms of how I usually do things, unless you want to get really, really specific. Once I have those approximations done, I'll go ahead and connect one side to the other and making sure that I'm somewhere near this other point. I anchor at one side, whichever side I think might be closer, and then I go through the center of the circle and end up on the other side wherever that may be. I repeat this process again on the second piece, and then I just check to see if they are roughly equal in size. You repeat this for the other two sections, and then if you'd like to make your lines lighter, you can use a gum eraser to pick up some of that pigment but this is entirely optional. Alternatively, you could also have done all of this in a permanent marker or go over it. Now on a permanent marker, so that you can have some really nice dark dividing lines, or you can do something in-between, doesn't have to be a masterpiece. If I am wanting to make this look really nice and polished by the time I'm done with it, I do try and make sure that my yellow sections are the lightest because they're going to show through if you're using a transparent color. Then as I mentioned in a previous lesson, that we want to go ahead and label the segments so that we don't get confused while we're working. So I'm going to go ahead and put down that, my yellow color is going to be in this section. Then I'm going to count over 1,2,3,4 sections, and this is where my red is going to go. In between those two is where the secondary color is going to be, we've talked about those before. So this is going to be an orangish color if we're just putting a label on it, and then these next segments here are going to be our tertiary colors. That's when you mix the primary with a secondary colors, so this would be a yellow, orange. Of course my color wheel is going to be a little bit different since I'm using those earth tones, but we would just repeat this process. For the next one, this is going to be the red orange. We count over another four segments from our red, and that's where the blue is going to go. We're going to have our violet in between those two colors, and we're going to have our green in between the blue and the yellow. So once you go ahead and fill in all those values, it'll be a lot more simple to follow along and you can also erase them if you would like to at the end of it, so that you don't have these labels on your nice pretty chart that you finished. Then it's finally time to start our painting. My first color is quinacridone gold, this is by Daniel Smith. I'm going to go ahead and fill that right into my yellow section. Now when it is in full strength, it looks brownish in color, but when we tend to dot you're going to see a nice golden yellow and it's absolutely beautiful on an earth tone set. Now a couple of tips here that don't really have to do with color mixing, but in terms of painting out your paints here. If you want to go for a really flowy look between your colors. You can paint one section next to the other and let them flow into each other, and that is because your whitewash here is going to bleed into the next whitewash. If you want there to be nice crisp lines in between each section, you're going to make sure that dries before you go next to it. So I'm going to go ahead and skip around here so that we can go ahead and get a nice crisp look, since I've showed you some of the more fluid ones in the rest of this video. There are also different ways you can paint the inside of your triangles. You can do it here where I have a graded wash, where it's darker on the outside and fades to a lighter color in the middle, or you can do them solid, whichever one you like best. So to make things easier on yourself at home, you're going to make sure you turn your paper in whichever direction, and it will allow you to most easily paint this triangle shape. If you're left-handed, obviously it would be a little bit different in the way I'm holding mine. But basically you should never be uncomfortable while you are painting. The red tone that I'm using in this primary triad is called a permanent brown from Daniel Smith, or mission gold also has one called red-brown. It is a red brown coloration, and it's a really pretty deep earth tone. To get this graded wash, what I'm doing is I'm putting down a lot of pigment at the top of that triangle, the widest end. Then as I get down towards the tip, I'm adding more and more water and cleaning off my brush as necessary so that I get a nice faded gradient. There are a lot of classes here on Skillshare or over on YouTube that show you how to do a graded wash. That is all I'm doing here. Honestly, at this point, if I wasn't filming for myself, I would probably go ahead and do these sections in between these two colors. But just so that it makes more sense for you guys at home, I'm going to go ahead and fill in my blue section now. The reason why I wouldn't typically do this on my own is because my blue that I'm using is really really dark, and if I'm going to go back into mixing yellows, it's going to be harder to rinse off of my brush. If you're at home and you want to make things easier on yourself, you can go ahead and just do your lighter colors first, and then work into your darker tones. But that's just a little insight into why I prefer to use my lighter colors first. The blue that I'm using today is anthro cannon blue from in gram, it's the same pigment as Indian thrown blue, but in grams version is more vibrant and a little bit more true to a blue here versus a grayish color. I did mess up a little bit here, but that's okay because what's going to happen is blue violet is going to be a very dark color and we're not going to be able to see that little flub anyway, once our final triad is painted. I'm going to go ahead and let this dry and I'll come back to you and we're ready to work on our orange section. When it comes to making your secondary colors, you can do it in one of two ways. You can either go ahead and make your mixtures as a 50-50 in so that you get a better handle of how much of one color you need than another. But some colors and watercolor especially are very overpowering. I know for a fact that this blue and this red are going to be a lot stronger and I'll need less of them mixed with this yellow color, the quinacridone gold. How I'm going to do it is instead of going 50-50, I'm going to try and get a visual middle ground between these two. I wanted to look almost as perfectly as close as I can to be in a right between these two colors. You can see I only used a tiny bit of red there to do that. It's still leaning a bit more towards the brown. I might even take a little bit more quinacridone gold. This looks like a pretty close mixture to me anyway, of what might go in the middle here. You can always adjust this if you lay this down and then decide that still has too much red in it, I can go ahead and pull some more quinacridone gold and we can adjust as needed. Just to make sure that when you're doing a wash and watercolor, no matter what the subject is, that you work as quickly as you can so that you don't get any large backgrounds, which is what happens when water starts to move into a dry area of your paper. You can see that the orange tone here that we are getting is a very, very deep rusty orange. I really like that. I prefer rusty oranges over bright oranges in general in my paintings. This is a triad that I really love working with. If you do want to finish off one section of your color way before the other, you are going to have to make sure they dry in between. I use a heat tool or you can use a hairdryer on a cool setting to go ahead and dry that section so you can paint next to it without backgrounds forming. When we move into our next section, I'm going to do the lighter color first, like I mentioned earlier. I'm going to mix even more quinacridone gold into this mixture. Then I'm going to go ahead and paint out this segment. Well, watercolors do lighten as they dry, and it can be difficult when you're mixing on our palate and might not look completely true to the colors that it will be when it's dry. But just make sure you're mixing on a white surface and it'll make your life a lot easier. For this last section for the red orange, I'm going to go ahead and make sure that there is a predominant red tone in this mixture with just a hint of that glowing gold underneath. At this point we're done with this segment of the color wheel. I'm going to go ahead and repeat those steps for the next two. 14. Final Thoughts: After you've made your color wheel, I want you to go one step further and I want you to go ahead and take the time to reflect on the colors that you were able to mix. Were all the colors exactly to your liking or do you feel like there was a color range that could have been stronger? Maybe you liked your greens, but your oranges were not quite where you wanted them to be. If swapping out one of those colors would affect the other colors and your color wheel in a negative way, maybe we can instead think about adding more colors to this base palette, either in the form of convenience colors or split primaries that would help you achieve the full range that you're looking for. If you want to learn more about adding more colors to this base that have primaries that you've already chosen for yourself, be sure to follow my Skillshare page so that you are notified when my next class comes out, so you can build the perfect customized palette based on your painting needs. Before you go, don't forget to share your color wheels in the class projects section at this class, whether it turned out perfectly or you feel like you still need some guidance on your color selections. We'd all be happy to help give feedback in that section of the class. I hope that you enjoyed this Skillshare class and then I'll see you around for the next one. Until then, happy painting.