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Mixing Colors

Discussion in 'Beginners Airbrush Questions!' started by Paul Dasvis, Mar 9, 2017.


  1. Paul Dasvis

    Paul Dasvis Young Tutorling

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    Mixing colors...

    I have a couple of questions around this...

    1. Is there a good guide to mix colors, say for a good skin tone (White, Yellow, Red, maybe blue) with ratio's? Or a good solid brown for example.

    2. I have found that mixing in the cup causes the paint to splash, and I have to blow out the bottom stuff even if I backflush. I was thinking of getting mixing cups and using those.

    3. How are people storing mixed colors? I can buy some colors, but it would be nice to mix them and then keep them handy....

    I'm using creatix illustration paint.

    Thank You.
    -Paul-
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  2. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    I always mix in the cup so not much help with this :D Do you mean paint is spilling out? Or are you back flushing and it is getting blown out? Which AB do you have, can you get a lid for it? you can give the cup a good shake then, and no spills.

    I don't store mixed colours, as I work on the fly, but I guess as long as you don't put any additive is like reducer etc, which can shorten the shelf life any small airtight container should work. Or buy empty bottles, I think I read somewhere tattoo ink style dropper bottles are good (but don't quote me on that lol)

    As for colours for flesh tone, no two skin tones are going to be exactly the same, so any recipe will have to be adjusted, and there can be several tones on the same face. I think there are a couple of recipes around here, a search might find them? I find it easier to use a pre mixed generic flesh tone as a base. I use the Steve Driscoll Wicked detail colour as a base to work from (for Caucasian tones) and then lighten, darken, add other colours, to colour match from there. In fact Cory St.Clair has just bought out a 'Universal' flesh colour for just that purpose I believe, though again its for the Wicked line and not sure if its detail or opaque. I think that Tim Gore is bringing out something similar for the illustration line soon according to a coast airbrush video.
  3. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    I agree with Squishy, unless you are after a base colour that you can adjust on the fly, then storage is going to be an issue if you add reducer to them.
    I have the Driscoll fleshtone and that is a starting point as Squishy has said.
    if you back flush you don't need full air to do it, if your worried about splashing then crimp the air hose while gently pushing the trigger down, so then you get gently bubbles rather than witches brew cauldron bubbles. there will always be a little bit of unmixed paint in the air channel, just blow it out on the scrap paper that you should have handy anyway for testing.
  4. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Color mixing becomes pretty easy the more you do it..most pros wnt (Sorry Sqish :)) mix on the fly..Each color needed for the piece is carefully worked out and matched prior to starting the work..Saves a lot of time and means your always painting rather than mixing and secondly reduces errors. Its ideal basically to come up with your own colur chart, spend half a day and make one..draw a crap load of squares out on a sheet..The centre squares make your more primary colors though you can do this with any color but get to know your primary's first. PS There is sooooooo much color theory out there its not funny, probably overwhealming to a degree so learn first at your board, then research other aspects of color like localised and refracted color etc, especially what shade does to color and also what light does to it..In those test squares, add a drop or two of white to a known amount of drops of your primary..Spray the next square along and write your ratio mix..add another drop or two of white and spray the next square and do on...Once done with white and nearly back to a very pale yellow white..Get some clean yellow or other primary in your cup and do the same with black..again jot down the ration of drops of paint below each square and example..Do this throughout your primarys and then make some secondary's and then do the same sheets of squares..Do this for one single day and I'll guarantee you will all have the best start to color understanding and management without spending big bucks on courses that essentially teach you how to mix the colors properly..Save yourself a few bucks and do it at your board..By the end of 1 or 2 days solidly doing these exercise and paint color sample sheets you will all save sooooo much time in the future when it comes to matching a color need and always store left over paint in a clean new container (Cheapies from ebay with their own dripper tops) and write the paint ratio on that aswell just in case you need to make up more of an exact color..happens often :)....But if you want a quick guide that may translate a bit to airbrushing...heres a cooking chart ;) If you want to color fondant, heres a basic color mixing guide..can't see how airbrush paint would be far different LOL but can't guarantee the results LOL

    Basic Color Chart.jpg
  5. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    No apologies needed Rebel, I know I'm an odd bod. lol. I used to spray any colour I mixed into a book and write down the recipe, but it got ruined and I got the hang of it and never bothered to start doing it again.

    I cant stand the thought of spending ages getting colours prepared, so I don't. lol lol lol, I do it as I go along. But also I like transparents and mix colour on the surface sometimes too.

    This is probably why I will never be a master. There is the right way, and there is my way :D
  6. Airbrush Dreams

    Airbrush Dreams Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    There are lots of charts all over the internet that can give you a good idea. The one thing I found is to try to keep the three actual primary colors to start with. If you use a Ultramarine Blue instead of The actual blue primary PhThalocyanine you will have difficulty getting the right color you were looking for. The same holds for red and yellow. I mix my own flesh tone more often than using the base flesh tone that I actually do have. And then I do what you said about misting over to tint the flesh. For flesh I usually start with a good amount of white then I will add a small amount of red to make it pink. From there I add a yellow; usually a bit more than the red but not as much as the white. From there I will add either raw Sienna or burnt Umber depending on the middle tone of my subject. And last I will add 1 or 2 drops of green. The green helps counterbalance the harsh red in the pink, but not so much because you can end up with grey. Remember you can alway go darker easier than go lighter. Then you can do your misting of red, yellow or even orange depending on your needs. Other colors I usually look it up.

    Actually today I was trying to mix up Paynes grey but never got it right. The mix they said on the internet didn't work out. I ended up with a dark green close to moss green rather than the dark blue grey. Never did hit the mix.

    Also some colors when mixed never stay mixed and need stirred up all the time. When I run into this I usually buy that as a premixed color to have on hand.


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  7. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Heres a decent reference, but it is meant for traditional brush work and not airbrushing. I still find it useful and use the colour combinations it suggests.

    "Color Mixing Recipes For Portraits"
    By William F. Powell
    ISBN-13:978-1-56010-990-7
    image.jpeg
  8. MeeshellMP

    MeeshellMP Goddess Queen of carts Mod

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    Cory St Clair just released his skin tone. Cant wait to try it!
  9. musicmacd

    musicmacd Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    Red violet, Burnt Umber, burnt Sienna, Sepia and white will allow you to create any skin tone in the world!!

    But as everyone said - so many ways :) practice is the only way :)
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  10. Airbrush Dreams

    Airbrush Dreams Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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  11. Paul Dasvis

    Paul Dasvis Young Tutorling

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