1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


The usual suspects

Choosing your choice colours for your default palette is a matter of trial and error, sometimes a never-ending process for an artist.

On Handprint you will find a good selection of palettes chosen by artists from the past and present. Everything thoroughly commented and explained by Bruce McEvoy, the author.

On a recent poll / research made by Jason Peck (I found it in James Gurney's blog), we find the most frequently used colours are:

  • Ultramarine Blue (PB 29)180
  • Titanium White (PW 6 )172
  • Yellow Ochre (PY 42) 161
  • Cadmium Red (PR 108) 158
  • Cadmium Yellow (PY 35 and PY 37) 150
  • Burnt Sienna (PBr 7) 150
  • Alizarin Crimson 141
  • Burnt Umber (PBr 7)126
  • Black 98
  • Raw Umber (PBr 7)97
  • Raw Sienna (PBr 7)81
  • Cerulean Blue (PB 36)79
  • Cobalt Blue (PB 28) 73
  • Viridian (PG 18) 64
  • Naples Yellow 60
  • Sap Green 56
These results apply especially to oil painting, hence the prominent position of Titanium white. But if you check the palettes used by many watercolourists, most of those pigments and mixes will show up as well. Also note that the whole set of earth colours is present: Siennas and Earths.

Most contemporary artists would include at least some quinacridone red pigments replacing fugitive Alizarin crimson, and probably some synthetic yellow and red to replace Cadmiums and avoid their toxicity issues (and their tendency to mud some mixes.)


naturline said...

This book very interesting, I'll haev to try and hunt it down and have a look.
Eeeek! How wonderful

CatarinaGarcia said...

Very usefull, Great blog!


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