View Full Version : Please help - color change wet/dry

04-28-2015, 07:21 AM
Okay, I'm somewhat new to acrylics. Are there any guidelines out there to help determine final dry colors vs. the wet color? I'm finding it difficult to get the exact color I want. Things look great until I check back a couple of days later and they're all a different shade. I'm using Atelier Interactive. Thanks!

04-28-2015, 08:27 AM
If you're familiar with a grey scale, you can expect the paint to darken approximately one value level as it dries.

It's something you learn to expect and allow for as you mix paint. Eventually your eye will adjust.

You can help yourself learn faster, though. Paint some color swatches on a cheap support (canvas panel, paper, white styrofoam carryout container) and let them dry. The paint a fresh brush stroke next to it and observe the difference.

Those gray scale thingies are an enormous help, by the way.

04-28-2015, 11:23 AM
I just tell myself that if it looks right it's probably not bright enough, and if it looks too bright it's probably just right. :lol:

Charlie's Mum
04-28-2015, 12:07 PM
Experience will eventually help you but there's no way of knowing , scientifically/accurately in advance.
As cliff suggests in his post, make a chart of each colour in its pure form, let it dry thoroughly, then paint a stroke across it, again of the pure colour ....... immediately photo it for future use!:)
Then you can try the same with mixed colours - keeping some of the mixed colour back for the second comparison stripe.
Atelier Interactives stay open for longer, so don't try the comparison stroke across unless you're sure the first is dry, otherwise it might lift.

04-28-2015, 03:30 PM
I'm with Lavender on this one, I was really annoyed with how light some of my colors were looking, figured I'd just darken them in the next session. . . don't have to darken them! Sadly, some of my areas that seemed just right now will need some overall lightening, which is fine just means more potential value range in my painting then what I was expecting. Good luck and have fun with it!

04-28-2015, 04:48 PM
So why is this?
Technically acrylic paint is pigment suspended in a carrier. The carrier is called an emulsion. Consider this. When you coat something with a medium, the medium looks milky white until it dries to clear. Acrylic paint looks lighter (brighter) when wet because its carrier, the emulsion, is milky white. As the emulsion clears, the milkiness goes away and paint color darkens. Make sense?

04-29-2015, 02:30 AM
You could always paint swatches on another support and let them dry to see how the colors turn out.

04-29-2015, 09:56 AM
For me the color shift has always been pretty immediate, as soon as it dries to the touch, I've never noticed any hours after. I've just learned to deal with it. The great thing about acrylic is it's super easy to adjust at any time. As the saying goes, "it's all an underpainting until you decide it isn't."

05-02-2015, 10:52 AM
I first encountered this shift when I first started painting in acrylics; I found the painting looked a little better after it dried and the shift had occurred.