Arrange your watercolor box


Do you use watercolor paints in pans?
Do you keep them in a box created for the purpose?
Are all your colors in disarray?
Don’t you know what their name is?

If you answered yes to these questions, this text might be for you. In addition, you belong to a majority of watercolor painters. At least according to my experience of new participants in my courses.

Arrange your colors

It is a good idea to have your colors in some sort of order. I have trouble understanding everyone who lacks order among their colors, a green next to a brown next to a blue, etc. I myself use the order from the color wheel, from lemon yellow and so on. So my order is:

Cold yellow warm yellow orange warm red cold red violet warm blue cold blue green various brown – black.

However you choose to arrange your colors, arrange at least the different colors separately, yellows together, greens together, etc. You will notice that it makes things easier.

Color Chart

In addition to having the colors in a sensible order, it is a good idea to create a color chart. This means that you paint a small color sample for each color in the same order as you have them in your watercolor box. The paper you use for your color charts should be the same size as your watercolor box. Or rather: slightly smaller so you can store the color chart inside your watercolor box.

An example of a watercolor box with an accompanying color chart.

When you have painted all the small squares with color in the correct order, name all your colors. The first step in color theory is to know what you are using. If you are like many watercolor painters in my courses, this will be difficult. Most people do not know what colors they use, when they have painted a sky and I ask “which blue did you use”? They respond by pointing to their watercolor box and saying “that one”.

Some colors are quite easy to figure out what they are, the blue colors are simple, even most earth colors, it is more difficult to figure out what the yellow and red are. But try it, you might be able to do it. If you belong to all those who do not know what your colors are called, the next time you buy a new pan, write down the color name on your color chart, in time all your colors will get a name, then you know what you are using.

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