Draw ten small squares in two columns as shown below.
or click here and print the page )

In the left hand column mix 5 different compound colours. Mix them from a red yellow and blue you would normally use, eg. Ultramarine, Alizarin and Indian Yellow. Make them all different - a compound red, a compound yellow etc. Remember, a compound colour contains all three primaries, so a compound red will be a dirty looking red containing traces of green (ie blue and yellow)

Once these 5 squares have been completed, choose a different red yellow and blue (Windsor red and yellow and phthalo blue for example).
In the squares beside the colours you have already mixed try to reproduce those colours as accurately as possible.

You will be surprised how close to the original colours you can get with the different pigments. The more saturated the colours are, the more difficult they become to reproduce with other pigments. A saturated Ultramarine for example, cannot be mixed using Windsor red and yellow and phthalo blue.

This exercise should make you familiar with compound colours and improve your ability to accurately mix colours. When you are confident in your control of compound colours find a subject that interests you and try starting with a tight range of compound colours, then gradually work towards more saturated colours.


back to using compound colours

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