View Full Version : Indian yellow substitute

06-28-2013, 11:12 PM
When I first started exploring colors in watercolor about a year ago, I started off with cad lemon and naples yellow deep for my warm and cool yellows. But then I tried Indian yellow and I really liked it because it mixes lovely clean colors. My problem with it is that it stains and won't lift. So now I'm looking for a replacement color, and I'm not sure what would be my best choice?
New gamboge, cadmium yellow deep, yellow orche or some other yellow shade? As a relative newbie, I am very confused as to what would be the yellow I am searching for?:confused:
Anyone have any sugestions for me?

06-29-2013, 12:03 AM
I like New Gamboge, but it's in short supply now. I've been looking at azo yellow and benzi-something-yellow as possible substitutes, but don't know yet, so I'll keep an eye on this thread. :)

06-29-2013, 12:55 AM
My favorite yellow by far is benzimidazolone yellow. It's a great medium yellow that mixes well and really pops in both green and brown mixes. I use it with pyrrole red to make the full range of oranges.

Most brands have some flavor of it, and I've seen pigment indexes between PY151 and PY154 for sure. There may be more, as well.

06-29-2013, 07:38 AM
If you like the color and want to use it .. my advice is to avoid having to lift in the future ;)

06-29-2013, 08:14 AM
Hiya... I really have to agree (mostly) with Josh... there will be occasions when you'll want to lift a highlight, though, and it could be problematic.

Who manufactures your Indian Yellow? They're not all created equal.

Holdbein's is a "hue" - PY83+PY95
DaVinci - PY97+PO62
Daniel Smith - PY108
M. Graham - PY110
Daler Rowney, Sennelier, Utrecht - PY153
Winsor & Newton - PY153+PO62
Rembrandt - PY154+PO48

Four of the brands are mixtures while the other four are single pigments. There's no standard colour that is manufactured as Indian Yellow. So each of these tubes are different and the paint will behave differently on your paper.

I have been experimenting with DaVinci's mixture and M. Graham's single pigment colours. Frankly, I like the DaVinci better because it is more vibrant. And, interestingly enough, I've found that it isn't bad when I need to lift.

06-29-2013, 08:59 AM
I always thought that Indian yellow in general was a permanent color regardless of brand, so I'm surprised to hear that Da Vinci's will lift. So I'll keep that in mind, thanks Charm. My raw sienna is made by Da Vinci, but my Indian yellow is made by M.graham.
I usally try to buy a single pigment paint or at least one mixed from no more than two differnt pigments, because I read that those simple single pigments make the best pure mixes on the color wheel.
And I try and only use Indian yellow when I don't plan on lifting, but sometimes I will find myself in a situation where I wish I could go back in and lift out a highlight or tone down the intense yellow and I can't. So at this point I just think I want to move on to another yellow instead, one that is liftable, even if that means I have to use a yellow mixture instead of a pure pigment.
Sennelier L'aquarelle is the brand I am currently looking at, what does everyone think about the yellows in it? Are they good ones? I know that a few of the orche colors are mixes, but I've yet to try this brand and I'm currious about it, since I like honey based paint.

06-29-2013, 10:45 AM

You might want to look through Daniel Smith's chart:

The Burgundy Yellow Ochre looks very similar to my M. Graham Indian Yellow. It's transparent, non-staining and rated extremely permanent.

There are many yellows on there, some not as lightfast and some that are low-staining rather than non-staining. You pretty much have to go with an earth pigment to get non-staining, but they are usually opaque.


06-29-2013, 10:49 AM
Thank you, Jan I'll look that color up in my DS catalog.

06-30-2013, 09:04 PM
I love Daniel Smith's Permanent Yellow Deep PY110. It's a beautiful orangey yellow.

Quinacridone Gold
07-01-2013, 03:22 AM
You can compare a whole lot of them in the 'try it dots' thread - go down to the yellows section and have a look. I love New Gamboge (DS) but the DV Gamboge is pretty close.


07-01-2013, 11:35 AM
Thanks so much, Jane for the forum link, this is going to help me out a lot!

Quinacridone Gold
07-01-2013, 09:11 PM
Thanks so much, Jane for the forum link, this is going to help me out a lot!

No problem. I'll post a 'lift out test' shortly...

What sort of brush are you using to lift out? A natural brush will do a little, a synthetic will lift more (or a hog's bristle!) but a 'scrubber' will lift out even more. Dick Blick and Art Supply Warehouse both stock them, as does Daniel Smith. They come in a range of sizes, though mid size and a tiny are probably the most useful.

Quinacridone Gold
07-01-2013, 09:22 PM
Here are some of the yellows that have been mentioned. I painted them on, waited just until they were dry, then lifted with a light backward and forward motion with a damp synthetic brush - same treatment for each - then blotted with a tissue. Hope that helps.

07-01-2013, 11:37 PM
Oh it does! Thank you so much for this, Jane, I really appreciate it. And I know this will probaly in the future help a lot of other artist too. Thanks again, Jane
Oh! I use a Cheap Joe's scrubby brush for the harsher lifting and a pastel sponge brush for the more gentle lifting.

07-08-2013, 07:59 PM
I assume you mean Cheap Joe's Fritch scrubbers. I used to use those, but now he has a Soft Scrubber which seams to do the trick with less paper abrasion. It's my go-to lifter and softener now.

07-09-2013, 10:36 AM
Thanks Ann, and yes that is the scrubber I use but I also use a pastel brush with a sponge tip that I got from Michael's which I use for softer lifting, it does a really good job and I like it better than the scrubby brush gentler on the paper.:)