View Full Version : Colour mixing/matching exercises, please join in?

04-16-2014, 04:09 AM
To encourage my students to consider colours and learn to mix and learn to analyse the components needed, I set them an exercise where they tear small patches of colour from a magazine and then match it as precisely as they can with whatever medium they favour.

This is a page I did as a demo, matching on one side with cps and the other with watercolour, showing the colours used in the mix. The challenge is to try to match so accurately that, if you squint, you can't tell the difference between the sample and your mix.


Most were done with a set of White Nights watercolours but to match that pale burgundy I had to bring in opera pink from my W&N artists watercolours.

I simply don't agree with those who say you only need one red/yellow/blue - yes it's possible but the results won't be true to the colours you see, just an approximation, without the lovely subtle, or vivid, colours of life.

Anyone want to add theirs?

Or gorgeous colour mixes they have discovered?

04-16-2014, 02:22 PM
Quite a challenge. And a good way to learn how to find the colors you see.

04-16-2014, 05:05 PM
Oh what a great idea! I so need to do this. I'll see if I can dig up an approximation of a magazine and join you.

04-17-2014, 04:47 AM
great :)

04-20-2014, 10:40 PM
I used my inktense pencils here, and made a colour grid across a two-page spread in my sketchbook.


Then I cut out segments of colours from a glossy pamphlet and held up those swatches to my colour grids. These colours do not photograph well in the evening light. Fingers crossed I can get something better in the daylight. But for now here we go.




04-20-2014, 10:45 PM
Wow, more work needed, hey?

04-21-2014, 04:39 AM
Great start :). It really does help to do this and understand the colours you have and what they can do :)

I hope more people have a play as well.


A demo to students of the lovely colours you get from mixing complimentary colours, mixing a little more orange each time into a puddle of blue .... Slate colours, greys and terracotta s etc happen :)

04-21-2014, 07:25 AM
This is a fabulous idea, to take scraps of printed material to match to!

And not only for the obvious reasons, but also for starting to think about such things as gloss/matte, and texture in general.

... and being the material freak that I am, I can't help but think of a continuation of this: Put the resulting sheets somewhere sunny for a week or too, and you should get a good idea about what lightfastness means in practice! (Most print is horribly fugitive - that's why I said "a week or two")

04-21-2014, 01:34 PM
Excellent idea :)

Joan T
04-22-2014, 09:10 PM
Looks like a fun exercise!

04-23-2014, 05:00 AM
fun! I usually only paint swatches of exact colors when I am decorating a new apartment and want to find things to match what's already there....sometimes I just grab the crayons closest in color :)

or when I'm remixing acrylic paints over and over while painting since I either mix not enough of a color or it dries too fast :)

04-24-2014, 08:49 AM
When I'm painting I just colour match on the wing, I've never found it really difficult but I find some people do. This is a great way of analysing what elements you need to get specific colours :) and really learning what your colours can do. Love love love colour, vibrant and subtle :)

When at the coast I want to catch the colour the sea really is usually as it is so wonderfully varied, ever changing.. Or for instance the difference between spring foliage and summer greens.


Another page about colour matching on the right and mixing a range of greys on the left. Relying in neutral tint or paynes grey doesn't give you the interesting colours that mixing your own creates IMO

The 2 top greys in the middle of the page are DS greys, forget the names.

04-29-2014, 01:05 AM
I'm reposting my swatches since I photographed them in the daylight. Hope to get to more soon (tomorrow? fingers crossed....)



Carole A
04-30-2014, 09:20 PM
I thought I had posted this, but don't see it anywhere. I'm always picking up paint chips at the home improvement stores and I think they would make an excellent reference for color mixing. Today, we went to a home improvement store and I picked up several colors of green. They will be very useful since I'm interested in botanical art.

05-01-2014, 03:27 AM
Great idea :)