Hooker’s Green

hookers green

William Jackson Hooker was an English botanist and botanical illustrator who lived from 1785 to 1865. In his botanical illustrations, he naturally needed a natural green color for all green plants. He liked to use a mixture of Prussian blue and gamboge for this.

This color mix eventually became a classic and was named hookers green. Later, the fugitive gamboge was replaced by the slightly more durable aureolin and over time, the color became common among the paint manufacturers as a ready-mixed “natural green”.

Hooker’s green is a classic color mix that all manufacturers of watercolor paint have in their range, several have the color in different variants with additions to the name such as light, deep, dark.

Illustration by William Hooker

Not a single manufacturer uses the original mixture of Prussian blue + some yellow, pretty much everyone uses phthalo green + some (warm) yellow, some mix in red or black to make the mixture darker. There are those who use the same pigment for different variants, Rembrandt and Da Vinci use for example phthalo green (BS) + Rembrandt Nickel Azo yellow and Da Vinci synthetic iron oxide in both “light” and “deep” with a little more yellow in the light, As a consumer, you must feel cheated if you use both. Others, like Maimeriblu, just take a green color (chromium oxide green) and call it Hooker’s Green, so does Shinhan with another pigment.

It seems that anything that is greenish can be called Hooker’s Green, even chromium oxide green. I recommend that you mix your natural green yourself, use a blue color that does not granulate, e.g. Prussian blue, phthalo or indantron and mix it with any yellow, I myself would use Nickel Azo which is warm and transparent. If you want to make the color darker, mix in a little cold red, e.g. quinacridone rose or Alizarin.

Here is a list of the major manufacturers’ different Hookers Green, they are very different and have different recipes for the mixes. Note that PG7 and PG36 are common, they are the two phthalo green pigments.

WINSOR & NEWTON Hooker’s Green
PG36, PY110

WINSOR & NEWTON COTMAN Hooker’s Green Dark
PB15, PG7, PO49

WINSOR & NEWTON COTMAN Hooker’s Green Light
PB15, PO49, PG7

MAIMERIBLU Hooker’s Green
PG17

DALER ROWNEY Hooker’s Green Light
PG7 / PY153

DALER ROWNEY Hooker’s Green Dark
PY3 / PG7 / PV19

DALER ROWNEY – AQUAFINE Hooker’s Green Light
PY3/PG7

DALER ROWNEY – AQUAFINE Hooker’s Green Dark
PY3 / PG7 / PV19

DANIEL SMITH Hooker’s Green
PG36, PO48, PY150, PY3

M. GRAHAM Hooker’s Green
PG7, PY110

OLD HOLLAND Hooker’s Green Lake Deep
PBk7, PG7, PY42

OLD HOLLAND Hooker’s Green Lake Light
PG7, PR101, PY42

SCHMINCKE Hooker’s Green
PB15:3, PG7, PY42

ROYAL TALENS : REMBRANDT Hooker’s Green Light
PG7, PY150

ROYAL TALENS : REMBRANDT Hooker’s Green Deep
PG7, PY150

HOLBEIN Hooker’s Green
PG7, PY110, PY150

BLOCKX Hooker’s Green
PBr7, PG7

QOR Hooker’s Green
PY150, PB60, PR122

MIJELLO Hooker’s Green
PG36, PBr25, PY150

SHINHAN Hooker’s Green
PG8

SENNELIER Hooker’s Green
PG36, PY83

SCHMINCKE Hooker’s Green
PB15:3, PG7, PY42

Da VINCI Hooker’s Green Dark
PG7, PY42

Da VINCI Hooker’s Green Light
PG7, PY42

GRUMBACHER ACADEMY Hooker’s Green Deep Hue
PB15:4, PG36, PY97, PBk6, PY65

GRUMBACHER ACADEMY Hooker’s Green Light Hue
PY65, PBk9, PY97, PG7

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Mr. S.
Mr. S. (@moacyrsantizo)
26 days ago

Very interesting article. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll mix phthalo blue with nickel azo yellow as you suggest. Nickel Azo is my preferred yellow

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