Mix your own black

Black is a very versatile colour. If you use black straight from the tube or pot it is often very dense and should be used very carefully. Making your own black is much more versatile. Black from a tube or pot tens to punch a visual whole in your picture. Often a black made from the colours you are already using, gells with your painting more.

There are several different kinds of blacks that you can buy in the art store. Mars Black and Lamp Black to name but two. Different manufacturers will have different names for the colours. But it is not strictly necessary to use bought blacks in your paintings.

How to mix black yourself
Using any kind of paint, for instance, water colour, acrylic or oil paint you can mix your own black. Make sure to use a palette knife when using oil or acrylic paint to mix up your paints. This saves you having to clean your brushes later on. (Read up on our article about palette knives and care of brushes for more information.)

Here are a few tried and tested combinations that we like to use:
– Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue
– Alizarin Crimson and Burnt or Raw Umber
– Viridian Green and Burnt or Raw Umber or Ultra Marine Blue
– Orange and Ultramarine.

There are many more combinations that you can try out. Look for dark contrasting colours to mix together and experiment yourself.

See our tutorial on ‘mixing your own black’ and join in and try mixing your own.