1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


16.11.07

Earth colours and pigments

Natural pigments offer unique advantages with their special properties, such as outstanding lightfastness and natural-looking, somehow muted colours. Some earth pigments have been used since prehistoric times. The cave paintings in Lascaux and Altamira and the rock paintings in Africa and Australia are witnesses of their exceptional permanence. Artists from such remote times already used ochres and other natural earth pigments to prepare their paints.

The Earth Pigments company offers detailed information about earth pigments and supplies a huge variety of them in different categories: natural earths, miscellaneous mineral pigments, oxides and mica flakes.
Daniel Smith has a big (and still growing) line of watercolours manufactured with natural earth pigments and special natural pigments, their Primatek line. The product page explains the procedence and unique properties of these special pigments and the paints that include them (watercolours, oils and acrylics.) Make sure you visit the Primatek section to learn more about each pigment in their collection! There is also a comprehensive review of the Primatek range at the excellent Handprint site by Bruce McEvoy.

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