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View Full Version : Which Black? & Leveling agent


kirkbear
05-14-2004, 07:44 AM
What is the difference between Mars Black, Ivory Black and Carbon Black?

I need to use a lot of black, on a textured surface. Black tends
to show brush marks quite well. Has anyone used a leveing agent to help
reduce the brushmarks and what results did you get?

many thanks.

Kirk.

Georgi
05-15-2004, 02:03 AM
Hi Kirk,

I'm a newcomer to all of this and I'm glad you've asked that question as I want to do a 'silhouette' in a vibrant/alive black...I've painted the canvas with about 5 coats of white... I want to do a head silhouetted...to be highlighted with a brilliant crimson flower on the black silhouetted head...but I'm afraid to go ahead with it until I can get a really good blend of colours to achieve the black I have pictured in my mind.

I look forward to responses to your thread and hopefully my quest will be answered as well. ;)


Thanks,
Lee

Einion
05-15-2004, 05:58 PM
In acrylics the differences between these three blacks are mostly to do with opacity and tinting strength, there's not a lot of difference in the colour or value.

Mars Black is slightly lighter in value than any of the carbon blacks and can have a just-noticeable warm hue in masstone. It makes blueish tints with Titanium White and is the most opaque of these three. It has moderate-to-good tinting strength.

I only have one Bone Black (Ivory Black is just an old name used incorrectly today) in acrylics and it's not the best example but generally speaking it is very dark in value, semi-transparent and is fairly weak in tinting strength. Its tints with white can be slightly more neutral than other blacks. It might have a tendency to cover irregularly as the pigment can clump up but this is likely to be uncommon from a reliable maker.

Carbon Black is very dark-valued, probably the darkest black available. It should have very good tinting strength and although it's fairly transparent it covers quite well because of the density of its pigmentation (something like Dioxazine Purple or a Phthalocyanine Blue).

Thinning with water which has a couple of drops of flow improver or dishwashing liquid in it is a simple method to improve levelling. Commercial levelling solutions are likely to be much like this, perhaps with a little retarder to increase open time. Diluting with water like this you can paint very very smoothly (I use this almost always) but it will increase the tendency of the paint to foam, especially when brushed vigorously over a textured ground, so a little care with your brushwork is advisable.

Einion

Georgi
05-15-2004, 07:09 PM
Thanks Einion for all your advices...as a newcomer to acrylics this is very helpful. I remember reading somewhere a couple of weeks or so ago...but boy! I've been reading and absorbing so much lately, I can't for the life of me find where I read about mixing three colours to produce a deep black...I'm pretty sure there was a crimson or a dark red used but I can't remember what the other two colours were.

If anyone knows what colours I could blend to make a 'definite' black, I would appreciate your advices.

Thanks,
Lee

:)

dspinks
05-16-2004, 12:14 AM
Alizarin crimson and pthalo green make an awesome black.

Also ultramarine blue and burnt umber.

Both are much richer and livelier than tube black.

Debra

Georgi
05-16-2004, 12:42 AM
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Debra! :) :)

That's what I was looking for...I'm greatly appreciative for your tips...I've got this image in my mind of how I want it to look...and you have helped with that information.

Cheers,
Lee :)

Einion
05-16-2004, 01:20 AM
Lee, it's relatively rare to read of three-colour combos for mixing darks so at a guess I would say you either read it on the Handprint site or the mix was quoted here from that source since it's so popular (the site, not the mix): Indanthrone Blue, Benzimidazolone Brown and Phthalo Green BS.

FWIW Phthalo Green BS makes a great range of darks with many reds (particularly those made with another synthetic organic pigment) as do most dark blues with red earths and umbers. Basically you just start with a colour that's as dark in value as possible and add a good complementary.


Both are much richer and livelier than tube black.
That's because neither are actually black :D

Einion

Georgi
05-16-2004, 01:34 AM
Hi Einion,

Oh! I'm obviously completely wrong in the "three" colours...so please don't quote me!!! ;) All I remember is reading somewhere over the past couple of weeks or so ago about blending to make a rich, vibrant black...and I've been reading soooooo much lately, I couldn't find it again nor could I remember where I'd read it. I knew you guys in here would be able to assist me...and you have done so. Thanks to both you and Debra...I'm duly noted your tips and when I feel I'm "holding my tongue" right, I'll grab the paints, start mixing, dip a brush in and hope for the best!!! :D

Cheers and thanks again,
Lee

dspinks
05-16-2004, 06:16 PM
You weren't off the mark, Lee. When you think about it, the theory of 3-color mixes for neutral mixes of grey from light to almost black is another way of describing mixing complentaries for desaturation. The point is to not use just any three colors, but to look for, as Enion says, the darkest value and its complement. For the example of alizarin crimson and pthalo green, you have the complementaries red and green, which is made up of blue and yellow. So, it is the proporation of each color to the others that determines the depth and desaturation that you achieve in your neutral mix.

As Enion mentions, there are tons of combinations to mix excellent greys and blacks. Using complements as the key will keep them from getting muddy.

Debra

Georgi
05-16-2004, 06:37 PM
Thanks, Debra.

Both you and Einon have given such great "intelligent" answers to my question...I'm sure you understand what I'm saying. I'm the 'blind leading the blind'...teaching myself, (or trying to!) with the much needed, much welcomed assistance of all the good folk of WC. It's the same old story...go back to basics...and start at the beginning! I'm enjoying this...it is for my own pleasure. I'm a late starter! ;)

Thanks,
Lee

dspinks
05-16-2004, 10:48 PM
Well, almost intelligent - sorry I misspelled your name, Einion :rolleyes:.

Debra

kirkbear
05-18-2004, 05:28 AM
Thanks all of you for helping me and the other members who are interested
in this topic. What a great place this is, made so by the helpful people.

Thanks guys.

Noone has said anything about the leveing agent. Thats ok as I now have
some. Triart leveling gell gloss, you mix it with the paint and a little water if
needed. I also bought some textured gel, with bits of pumice in it. Painting
and experimenting is so much fun.

Anyway, I'll soon be ready to start painting my masterpice. The leveling gel
with give it a slight gloss finish, it had a dark theme and the other colours
will be blood red and gold leaf. Do you think Ivory Black from the tube will
look ok. bear in mind it will not be a flat surface and will have a glossy sheen?

I may have just answered my own question I think, but would still welcome
feedback.

Cheers.

Kirk.

peapod
05-18-2004, 10:01 PM
That's because neither are actually black :D

Einion

Just wanted to weigh in on the mixed black thing...

I always thought that if you indeed want a true black color, then use tube black.

Most mixed blacks only look black when no hint of white is present.
When white is added even in the tiniest amount, the colors that made up the "black" magically appear.

And if what you want is a dead black or grey with no hint of other colors, then use tube black. Why waste other colors to make a blah grey or stark black?

If you want a flavorful blackish color, by all means mix it up. I just never understood working yourself to death to try and mix up a purely neutral grey with no hint of color when you can save your colors and just use tube black and white...


If you must, try this one...it makes a neutral grey great... Dioxazine Purple and Hookers green. Proportionally a little more green than purple. I think you can use sap green as well.

Georgi
05-19-2004, 01:08 AM
Hi peapod,

I don't intend adding white to the black..and I'm not looking for a grey either.

And as I said earlier, it's not a 'dead black' I'm looking for but a vibrant, alive black...I think Debra and Einion gave me good advice on how to achieve this.

As you say..."if you want a flavorful blackish" to mix it up myself...but you see, I'm not looking for a 'blackish" colour...I think with the blending of the colours suggested by Debra and Einion, I will have a rich black. No where did I say I was looking for grey. White...and grey...are not in the equation.

Lee :)

Einion
05-19-2004, 07:53 AM
Well, almost intelligent - sorry I misspelled your name, Einion :rolleyes:.
That's okay Debra, believe me I'm used to it!


Noone has said anything about the leveing agent.
Check the last paragraph of my first post Kirk ;) Good to hear you can find Tri-Art near you, it's good paint and the price is great for the quality. In a solid block any black will work fine with crimson and gold I'm sure, the gloss finish will help it to look as deep as possible.


I agree that if you want black then very often that's the colour you should use. Mixed darks, which aren't black at all of course, have their place but they aren't a substitute for black in many cases - most especially if you want to maximise tonal range because they are rarely as dark in value.

All blacks, with the exception of Spinnel Black, don't mix to neutral grey with white, they all lean towards blue. That's why commercial neutral greys also include some umber to neutralise the mix fully.

Einion

printzessofthenorth
05-19-2004, 11:53 AM
...Noone has said anything about the leveing agent. Thats ok as I now have some. Triart leveling gell gloss, you mix it with the paint and a little water if needed. ...Kirk.

Kirk,

Are you saying there is an agent that will make smooth fields of flat color? I'd love to know more about your experience using the leveling agent. Sounds like what I've been looking for. I struggle to smooth out my colors and can do it, but only with a lot of work, sweat, etc. But not perfectly. This sounds like it would seriously make the job easier and cut the time at least in half! Along with any info you can pass on, WIPs appreciated.

debbie

Godzoned
05-19-2004, 10:50 PM
Love the advice here with mixing colours for blacks. I think you can get a better more natural black by mixing other colours together other than using "tube black".

kirkbear
05-24-2004, 09:21 AM
"are you saying there is an agent that will make smooth fields of flat color?
I'd love to know more about your experience using the leveling agent. "


I'm painting an uneven surface and do not want brush marks showing
in the dried and finished products. Leveling agents help to flatten the surface
reducing brush marks. I understand these are made for acrylic and oil paints.


Hope this helps Debbie!

Cheers.

Kirk.

printzessofthenorth
05-24-2004, 11:05 PM
"are you saying there is an agent that will make smooth fields of flat color?
I'd love to know more about your experience using the leveling agent. "


I'm painting an uneven surface and do not want brush marks showing
in the dried and finished products. Leveling agents help to flatten the surface
reducing brush marks. I understand these are made for acrylic and oil paints.


Hope this helps Debbie!

Cheers.

Kirk.

Thanks.

debbie