Neutral tint

neutral tint

To create neutral shadows and to lower the value of many different colors, watercolor painters often use Neutral Tint, the name suggests that the mixture should be neutral, but it is not. Neutral Tint is usually faint purple in hue, the reason for this is the color should also work for yellow colors. When you try to make a yellow color darker with the help of a neutral black, the mixture becomes greenish. For this reason, many manufacturers add a little red and blue color to a black and call the result Neutral Tint.

During the 18th century in England, watercolor painters developed the color mixture called Neutral Tint, it was originally mixed with three colors: A light iron red, light red, a blue in the form of indigo or iron blue and a yellow that was gamboge or yellow ocher (source: Bruce MacEvoy) . Nowadays, virtually all manufacturers use a black color as a base which they add something else to create the violet hue.

A few manufacturers do not use black, I have found Old Holland, Lukas and M. Graham who all make their Neutral Tint without using black. M. Graham uses phthalo green (BS) and quinacridone rose, an interesting use of two complementary colors. Everyone else I have found just takes a black color and makes it slightly violet.

Winsor & Newton use phthalo blue (RS), chinacridon rose plus a lot of lamp black for their color, it is the same color mix that they use for the colors Payne’s Gray and indigo, only with slightly different proportions.

Many watercolor painters use Neutral Tint as a replacement for black paint. But the original use was to lower the value of other colors and as a shade color. I myself never use the color, I prefer to mix myself, different color choices require different types of dark colors. It is difficult to use one and the same color for all types of color combinations.

Here is a list of some different manufacturers’ versions of Neutral Tint, they are quite similar to each other, some are purple while others are more bluish, some have a reddish hue.

WINSOR & NEWTON
NEUTRAL TINT
PB15, PBk6, PV19

SCHMINCKE
NEUTRAL TINT
PR122/PB60/PBk7

DANIEL SMITH
NEUTRAL TINT
PB15, PBk6, PV19

OLD HOLLAND
NEUTRAL TINT
PB15, PBr7, PR259, PV19

SHINHAN
NEUTRAL TINT
PB66, PBk11

DALER ROWNEY
NEUTRAL TINT
PR101/PBk11/PB29

HOLBEIN
NEUTRAL TINT
PBk6 PB15 PV19

BLOCKX
NEUTRAL TINT
PBk11, PB15, PV19

SENNELIER
NEUTRAL TINT
PB60, PBk7, PR209

LUKAS
NEUTRAL TINT
PY153 PV19 PB15:1 PG7

ROYAL TALENS Rembrandt 
NEUTRAL TINT
PBk6 PV19

ROYAL TALENS Van Gogh
NEUTRAL TINT
PBk6 PV19

MAIMERIBLU
NEUTRAL TINT
PB29/PBk9

M. GRAHAM
NEUTRAL TINT
PG7, PV19

St. PETERSBURG
NEUTRAL TINT
PR187/PB15/PBk7

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