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Old 10-26-2004, 12:32 PM
craigd craigd is offline
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Which colours to get?

Hi all

Been lurking for a while now and have picked up so much info from these forums alone! I'm a digital artist looking to go back to traditional media; acrylics to be exact. I was wondering which are the most important colours to get. I've searched the forums but only found one thread that was relevant. It was getting people to mix their own colours using CMY but I don't really want to be this adventurous just yet since I read that it's quite hard to get rich reds-oranges from it. I've made my mind up to go with the W&N Finity range of acrylics so have around £30-40 to spend on them but of course I don't want to get the wrong ones (doesn't mean I want to spend all that amount on them of course). I don't mind mixing colours but I'd rather have a more full range before mixing (to save a lot of time). I was thinking of getting the CMY ones mentioned in that thread and adding others to get those rich warm colours. Good idea? or am I better with a different palette altogether? And is there a huge difference in the tubed versions and the tubs?

Also, I've seen some dirt cheap acrylics (http://www.dcmk.co.uk). Any ideas on those? Anyone use or used these? Are they artist quality or student quality? I'd try them but I don't have the money to experiment for them to turn out to be awful. That's money I could've spent on some Finity ones or an extra canvas or 2 :]

One last thing.. what brushes should I get? sizes etc..

I'm looking to be selling my works in the very near future so it's best for me to get everything I need now.

Thanks in advance!
Craig.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:04 PM
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jbitzel jbitzel is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

Welcome to the Acrylics forum. My sugestion is to get a basic set like a black, blue, red, yelow, and plenty of white. I also like to add a few common colors depending on your subject, if you do landscapes you might like a green and a burnt sienna, for animals you might add a raw sienna. Hope this helps. oh, and brushes, I personally like bristle brushes like hog brushes, but you need brushes that dont leave stroke marks too like taklon. One thing I notice is that brush sets dont give you very many little brushes like 2 and under. And as opposed to watercolor I think flats work better than rounds, and I like to use my little spotter too 18/0. James

Last edited by candienjames : 10-26-2004 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:21 PM
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MsLilypond MsLilypond is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

I use a split primary system which is basically what you are talking about,
I use a cool yellow (cadium lemon or azo yellow), red(quinacridone red or permanent alizarin crimson), blue (cerulean blue) & warms - cadium yellow med., cadium red & ultramarine blue. In addition to the above I use pthalo blue, burnt sienna, & raw sienna, & titanium white. With these I can create a wide wide range of mixtures.

I also have three colors on my palette that get only get used once in a great while, black, raw umber & burnt umber.

The only difference in the tubes and the tubs, is the tubes are alot easier to carry around (since they are smaller).

For brushes, I prefer synthetic/natural blends. I find acrylics can be hard on brushes.
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Last edited by MsLilypond : 10-26-2004 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:59 PM
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jonesbf jonesbf is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

I use W&N Finity myself. My palette is setup primarily for landscapes/wildlife, but I've found it to be very versitile: Cad. Red Light, Cad Orange, Cad Yellow Light, Hookers Green, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Dioxazine Purple. You can mix more lively blacks from the Sienna, Blue and Purple than you'll get premixed.

I use W&N Winton Hog Hair Flat brushes. These things stand up to all sorts of abuse even dabbing and scrubbing, but like any brush wash them out good with soap and water when you are done.
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Old 10-26-2004, 02:32 PM
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Re: Which colours to get?

I too have a strong digital background and switched back to 'real' mediums about a year ago...

You got some good advice about colours but might I also suggest you pick up some retarder and either a gloss or matt (I prefer gloss) glazing medium. I find acrylics dry too quickly for my tastes and I also like to do thick juicy paintings (especially witha knife) and to use paint alone would cost me a fortune.

Oh, and a colour wheel if you aren't too knowledgable about what paints to mix to get certain colours.

And... well, the list could go on and on as you will soon find out!

Glenn
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Old 10-26-2004, 02:36 PM
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Re: Which colours to get?

I have used retarders, but for the most part find them unnecessary. It really depends on the type of blending that you want to do. If you want to work wet on wet, yes, you really need a retarder. If you want to work wet on dry for dry brush blending, you can get away w/o a retarder.
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Old 10-27-2004, 07:56 AM
craigd craigd is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

Wow you lot are fast!

Thanks for the replies, they've helped me a lot. I had a long list of colours that I mixed and matched from various sites and this has helped me narrow them down to just a few. I feel it's still gonna be a while before I decide exactly which colours to get. Were any of you as indecisive as me when you first started out? This has been around a week now.. a whole week! I think it's because I seen a couple of threads mention that pthalo series are horrible to mix with so I'm a little wary. Is this true? Do you have to be careful not to get cadmium red, pthalo blue and permanent rose (just an example)? Do certain pigments give undesired results when mixed together? Or can I just go and get anything that resembles cyan, yellow and magenta? Would I be much better off just buying 237ml tubs of these 3 primaries?

As for brushes.. what do the sizes represent? I know size 0 is smallest but how small? I mean what's the difference between a 2 and a 4? Should I just buy smallest, medium and largest? Then there's the different tips which I understand but would I have to buy 3 of each? Then there's the bloody bristle type... argh it never ends eh!

Retarder.. I used this with my acrylics around 10 years ago (was probably more like 13 years ago). I can remember how quick acrylics dried out and the retarder helped a LOT. So that's a definite on my list :]

Ugh.. I feel like a kid who won't stop asking questions (are we there yet? are we there yet?...)

Ok I'll stop then... for now!

Again, thanks to all who replied.
Craig.
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Old 10-27-2004, 08:36 AM
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Re: Which colours to get?

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
Were any of you as indecisive as me when you first started out? Craig.

Definately, I took 7 years off after high school and just started bach 3 months ago. I used to be a photographer so color theory caught on quick, but I remember thinking, how do I blend? what do I need? I am still indecisive I dont know what products to try and what not to. James
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:34 AM
craigd craigd is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

Glad I'm not the only one then! It's a pain 'cause I just wanna get them and start having fun! After I've ordered them and waiting for them to be delivered I'll be thinking "have I ordered the right ones?? did I forget something??" so it never ends!

Just going through all the colours on the W&N Finity colour chart. I think this is making me worse since I'm loving all these other colours but can't afford them

edit: oops didn't notice that there was a Finity paints set on the store where I'll be getting them from. This set includes: azo yellow medium, phthalo green blue shade, permanent alizarin crimson, titanium white, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre

I'd be saving a few £ with that set... these colours ok though? most are ones I was thinking of but not the yellow ochre and phthalo green... so I'd only be saving money if those 2 additional colours are need or are useful. I'm getting closer to ordering :P

Last edited by craigd : 10-27-2004 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:43 AM
craigd craigd is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

candienjames: The hog winton brushes you mentioned are oil brushes right?
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Old 10-28-2004, 02:37 AM
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Hi Craig, first off I have no idea about those acrylics you posted the link to but they look like craft-quality acrylics from the packaging - very much like WH Smith's own-brand acrylics, Liquitex Basics and the new cheapie Reeves acrylics in fact. Since there are no colours like the cadmiums or Cobalt Blue I doubt they're as good as they say they are, even if I were not sceptical based purely on their price. Once you become familiar with acrylics if you wanted to use them in bulk they're worth a try certainly given they're so cheap but I would expect to have to use them thickly to get any coverage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
I was wondering which are the most important colours to get.
There are lots of ways of answering this but for me it comes down to versatility. Unfortunately if you're paying full retail you're not going to get much for your £40 I'm afraid! But this link might help there: http://www.artdiscount.co.uk/acatalo..._Series_3.html

This is what I would suggest as a good starting palette both for colour and for a range of opacities:
Lemon Yellow
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Red Light
Permanent Rose
Ultramarine Blue
Phthalo Blue Green Shade
Titanium White
Mars Black
I think you'll find some earths useful and the three most versatile IMO are Mars Yellow, Burnt Umber and Red Iron Oxide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
...getting people to mix their own colours using CMY but I don't really want to be this adventurous just yet since I read that it's quite hard to get rich reds-oranges from it.
If you're familiar with process printing you'll know the quality of the reds, oranges, orange-reds and violets that can be achieved - not that great really - and this is with the very best CMY colours used in the best possible way (thin films on a white substrate). So I for one would not recommend it for general painting unless you know what you're getting yourself in for. If you do want to try these the three best colours are probably Transparent Yellow, Phthalo Blue Green Shade and Quinacridone Violet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
Were any of you as indecisive as me when you first started out?
Most people are when moving into a new medium. Coming from a digital background you have a lot of hurdles to overcome that a painter moving from another paint type to acrylics wouldn't have necessarily since they will already be familiar with certain pigments already and have an idea of how to physically apply paint etc. (although of course acrylics are very different to anything else).

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
This has been around a week now.. a whole week! I think it's because I seen a couple of threads mention that pthalo series are horrible to mix with so I'm a little wary. Is this true?
Phthalo blue and green are very strong in comparison to most other colours so they can overwhelm mixes very easily until you get used to them. I would advise getting a painting knife to do most of your mixing with, you'll probably want to thin your paint from the standard consistency anyway and using a knife is the best way of adding water and mixing it in thoroughly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
Do you have to be careful not to get cadmium red, pthalo blue and permanent rose (just an example)? Do certain pigments give undesired results when mixed together?
Not sure what you're asking here. There aren't any actual odd reactions between specific colours no, but until you get familiar with colour mixing (in actual paints, not the theoretical yellow + red = orange) and how your colours work together you'll often get results you won't expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
Or can I just go and get anything that resembles cyan, yellow and magenta? Would I be much better off just buying 237ml tubs of these 3 primaries?
I wouldn't but if you know you'll be using a lot of them it will certainly be much better value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
As for brushes.. what do the sizes represent? I know size 0 is smallest but how small? I mean what's the difference between a 2 and a 4? Should I just buy smallest, medium and largest? Then there's the different tips which I understand but would I have to buy 3 of each? Then there's the bloody bristle type... argh it never ends eh!
Think of the questions someone might ask you if they wanted to learn Photoshop from the ground up and you'll get some idea of the amount of work ahead of you

This page will give you a good overview of brush types and sizes: http://www.dickblick.com/categories/brushes/ I would get a good selection of soft synthetics to begin with, Cotman for example; for stiffer synthetics (if you want brush texture) I think D-R's Cryla brushes are about the best option.

If you want some really good rounds for detail painting Kolinsky can't be beaten but you'll want to be sure because they're not cheap. If you live near London I can give you some recommendations on where to go to look for a couple of alternatives to W&N's Series 7.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
Retarder.. I used this with my acrylics around 10 years ago (was probably more like 13 years ago). I can remember how quick acrylics dried out and the retarder helped a LOT. So that's a definite on my list :]!
I would try to work as much as possible within acrylics' own working character. If you're going to use retarder be careful about the amount you add, too much causes some problems; I would advise learning to use water as much as possible.

Einion
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:48 AM
craigd craigd is offline
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Re: Which colours to get?

Thanks a lot Einion. Lot of info there that really helped me make the final decision. I got the ones you recommended and a few others that were on my list (sap green, hookers green, dioxazine purple - well they were cheap!). Funnily enough, last night I was looking at a thread that quoted you describing all the colours (I believe it was "what's in your colour palette"). Was highly informative although it kind of confused me a little more because I wanted them all but knew I couldn't

Also, thanks for posting the link to the paints. I was only looking on that site the other day comparing it with discountart.co.uk who were quite a bit cheaper. But since artdiscount have the sale on (which I would've missed).. and well they worked out a LOT cheaper than discountart I almost ordered yesterday too.. so glad I waited an extra day!

Now I gotta wait for all my stuff to arrive. Always typical for me to order stuff so close to the weekend so then I have to wait till the following week before it arrives! I'm excited but nervous too. Wondering if it's a waste of money. I doubt it though. My main problem is going to be getting used to no "ctrl+z"!

Anyway thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to help me out. Sorry if I fired too many questions in such a short time. Just had to be sure I wasn't going to waste money.

Craig.
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:08 PM
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Re: Which colours to get?

Acrylics may not have a ctrl-z but it has gesso, you can always sand down the area that needs work, apply gesso and repaint. That's what I love about acrylics, you can just paint over areas you don't like.
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Old 10-29-2004, 01:17 AM
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Hi Craig, you're very welcome, glad to try to help. I'm very happy to hear you got to take advantage of that great offer, 50% off is not to be ignored! I picked up some remaindered 60ml tubes of Cryla on sale in London in September that I really don't need but at the price there were offered I couldn't say no, and it has allowed me to try a number of colours I wouldn't normally buy so I'm doubly pleased.

Incidentally I was going to include Dioxazine Purple in my list too as it's a great violet to have, but it's not absolutely necessary so I didn't want to add to the cost needlessly. Incidentally this colour is very strong, like the phthalo blues and greens, so use it with caution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
My main problem is going to be getting used to no "ctrl+z"!
LOL, I know exactly what you mean!

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Old 10-29-2004, 04:12 AM
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Re: Which colours to get?

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd
Hi all

I was wondering which are the most important colours to get.
<snip>
One last thing.. what brushes should I get? sizes etc..

I'm looking to be selling my works in the very near future so it's best for me to get everything I need now.

Thanks in advance!
Craig.

Craig...

As you can see..... lots of good advice presented..... But let me tell you my experience

I started painting a little over six months ago.... I also came from a digital background.... (see my sig). I have over this time aquired so many tubes of paint and so many brushes I could start a shop

Of course with six months experience I am now an expert
I have settled on Hog bristle brushes, 2 flats 8 & 4, two Filberts 6 & 2 and a 1 round. My palette has settled into something I am comfortable with although it does NOT meet the accepted criteria. Utramarine blue, Cerulean Blue, Napthol Red, Quin Magenta, Hansa Yellow Light, Yellow oxide (Ochre) and Titanium White..... I learned to despise the pthalos and have banished them A month or so ago I reviewed my paintings so far and the thing that stood out was the un-naturalness (sp) of the colours. It was all down to the Pthalos.... OR my lack of knowledge in using them, so they are in the too hard basket for now.

Basically what I am saying is read and listen to EVERYTHING but then make a decision and go for it. You WILL make the WRONG choices but that's ok... In time you will figure out what's best for you.... and after that you will change again ...and again.

But definitely be strong and do your own thing..... Just because something is accepted as being right does not make it so.

Mike Finn
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Last edited by Mike Finn : 10-29-2004 at 04:25 AM.

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