Wondering what colours to buy?


Queen Clown Slayer
If like me you're financially challenged, then you want to spend as little as possible. When money is tight I go back to basics. I get the 3 primary colours (yellow blue red) in translucent paints, and an opaque black and an opaque white.

You can mix pretty much anything with this. When mixing a colour write down what you did, eg 1 red - 3 yellow and spray a bit of that colour next to it. Pretty soon you'll have a colour chart. (Bear in mind the base colour you use will affect tranlucent colours

The thing to remember is that translucent colours deepen with each layer added, and are affected by the colour of the layer underneath. You can use an intercoat clear to seal a colour.

You can also make any translucent colour opaque by adding opaque white, or opaque black. This means you can cover up the layer beneath, and that the colour won't change with additional layers.

A reducer (I use wicked colours and 0100 reducer) can make your colours more translucent.

So a basic kit of translucent primary colours, an opaque white an opaque black and some reducer, can become a surprisingly extensive range of colours.

An intercoat clear, a translucent black/translucent white could be added to that, butr it isn't essential.

If only all those lovely effects paints didn't keep calling! Lol! Whilst I'm on the subject if you like a bit of glitter, then I recommend Hot Rod Sparkle White by Auto Air. It's a transparent pearl flake and can be used with any colour, so no need for lots of different glitters.

Anyhoo, that's my colour advice for any cash strapped airbrushers like me. Hope it helps!
Great info. And if you follow Airbrushtutors tutorial on the colour wheel, you can also see how to get all the colours. Another way is using Dru Blair's colour buffer technique. But for this you will need an opaque red and not translucent. This technique mixes transparents with opaque white to make them opaque. The reason you use opaque red is because you can not get an opaque red by mixing transparent red and opaque white. That just makes pink.
awesome info, even if i have money i strongly agree with you Squishy - you only need the primaries, from here you can mix 90% of all colors.. the only ones you can't really mix are the special fx paints.. all colors are derived from the primaries though. The hardest part is finding a paint brand that sells clean primary colors.
This will help alot of people thanks:) I repped you
Great post Squishy. You and I are on the same wave length. I can't justify buying a massive range of colours that will sit around cluttering the shelves getting old. Most of the time, you need to mix your own colours anyway. Limiting the colours you have to work with also provides great training for the eye.
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Than it might be interesting to buy a small set of trident with some clear base to play around it's absolutely an beautiful paint system to work with.
Here's a copy of a post I made on a surfboard site in response to a question about colour matching a ding repair, it's more about colour matching but that's what we do when we mix colours anyway. It's based on matching a brown colour but you get the idea :)
Heretis, hope it's of some use and for a more detailed explanation you can do a search for Dru Blair's color theory web page which goes into a lot more depth.
Hi Greg,
If you sanded through the paint before hitting any weave there's a good chance it was sprayed after the hot/fill coat then cleared with Pro-tec or similar. Just looking at your piccy that looks like the case with your project.
If it is the case, sand back your filler like normal to finished repair to about 400 wet & dry, match the colour and mask up and spray and clear and finish sand or polish.

Now, colour matching. This is not a simple subject and takes a lot of practice to but with a bit of a system you can get really close even on your first time.
The best thing to do is find a colour wheel, even a basic one but with at least the secondary colours.
The trick to colour matching is finding the right hue (colour) so in your case it's an orange/yellow(?) so you would be looking at an orange to start with. Look at your colour wheel and see if the colour is warmer than orange or cooler (i.e. more red or more yellow). There is a brown tinge jugding from your photo so a bit of dark blue (like a drop or two) to 'darken' the orange may help. But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit so back on track.
Ok, you have found the right (or close as possible, basically a simple orange) hue and you mixed it up. Now, is it a bright orange or a dull orange or 'really' strong orange or not?
The trick to change this is to use the colour directly 'opposite' on the colour wheel (called the complementary colour). What this does is neutralise the colour, in theory if you did this exactly in equal parts you would create grey, this goes for all colours!

Remember I mentioned blue before? it's on the other side of the colour wheel but this is what you need to experiment with and try to NOT use black! it will take all the life out of your colour, use the darkest blue/green/purples depending on which way the colour needs to go, i.e. warmer or cooler remembering that reds are warm and greens are cool (yellow and blue, the opposite of red ;) ). Because you are not using the 'exact' complementary colour you will create a different colour (this is the brown tinge you want).
This is a tough subject to explain in a short post but just keep in mind that you are 'pushing' the colour around the colour wheel either way to get the right hue, then you can push the colour in/out of the wheel using the complementary or opposite colour to change the contrast and tweak the hue.
The colour wheel is 3 dimensional so the other dimension is black and white or up and down the wheel. As i mentioned before though, be very careful using straight black and use white to 'lighten' your colour or take it back a peg so you can 'push' it around a bit more to perfect your hue.
Ok, the colour looks close, now spray a test patch and let it dry completely, colour changes quite a bit from wet to dry, again this takes a bit of tweaking. Cut yourself some strips of good paper, spray the end of a piece and let it dry then using it like a colour swatch, sit it against the existing colour to see how it looks. Rinse and repeat unitll you are happy with the colour and then finish your job.

After doing this only a few times keeping the colour wheel and how it works in mind you will find it surprisingly simple to match colours and you will soon be able to see what colours you need and get it right very quickly.

Apart from browns, purples and skin tones (which use a lot of one or two primarys in most cases or are hard to mix properly given just primary colours) you will find you can get by with a very limited range of basic colours and save yourself a lot of money and waste less paint!
In fact, for any colour you mix always make sure you mix more than you need, even twice as much as you will find that it will be pretty close to another you may need on your next repair (especially for 'yellowing' boards ;) ) and in no time you will have a good palette of colours at no extra cost.
Hope that gets you started and let us know how you get on, cheers.
Stand Aside Everyone! I take large steps...
Eric Von Zipper
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I tend to use anything I can afford LOL...Although you can make all your colors out of the primary's its also important to remember that if you can, to buy as much pre-mixed colors as you can afford...Why? It saves a crap load of time and wasted paint, especially if your new to paint mixing and color matching..When using primary's you can waste a lot of paint and end up with a lot of brown LOL...Although saying that, learning the principles of color theory is very important, until you do just buy what ya need LOL..Mixing on the fly or in the cup takes a lot of color knowledge and ultimatly when first learning the game of the gun, take it out of the equation if you can afford too do so so you can concentrate on the important aspect of learning the basic airbrushing ropes.....:)...Then learn color mixing and matching...

Personally my main color kit involves the primary's in both warm and a cool varient, black and white, understand though that when you require specific color you sometimes may need to mix your paint into the realm of tertiary's and then mix them together to get the right shades (Buying 50 ml bottles of paint makes this hard, buy your paint in the biggest bottles you can find if you intend to use primary's), as mentioned in the above post avoid black if you can but saying that, don't be scared of it either..Just over reduce it so it shades color rather than looking black and this way it just tints the layer before rather than looking actually black, it just changes the color you spray it over to a darker varient of the same color..

One of the biggest challenge in airbrushing is transparent overlay, this involves mixing color on the canvas and is fun to experiment with and may help you understand a lot about color theory..Why not give it a try and spend some time experimenting, if you really want to get into color theory, one tip I'd suggest is too keep a good diary of your mixing results, ie one part this, two parts that etc etc that makes x colored paint, even go as far as marking each bottle of color you make with how much of each paint mixture was involved..This will help you make the exact same color again if you run out half way through...I'll post a good color mixing guide in the tutorial area for those interested, I used to use in when painting in oils but it still relates to color theory in airbrushing :)
Yep, once you get the hang of it and a bit of spare cash, both warm and cold primaries are the go, good advice AcE ;)

I think a trick to avoiding the brown/muddy snafu is to mix with colours on the same side of the colour wheel or as close to the colour you are using as a base as possible.
You make colours warmer or cooler by using a colour from one side of the base colour or the other, to tone/dull the colour down (remove colour intensity) use the complementary colour/s and you can 'lighten' it with a bit of white and 'darken' with a bit black, thinning these down as AcE suggested is a good idea too to be more subtle.

The reason to avoid black is that they are not true blacks, they have either a blue or brown tint and that's why you will get the muddy look when using them. When using white just be aware that you can't make a colour brigher, just lighter. That is, if you add white to blue you get a lighter blue, not brighter. This is main reason there are so many colours pre mixed, while you can get any colour you want using primary colours they can become toned down through mixing and buying an off the shelf colour that is very close and requires just a touch of a neighbouring colour will work out better sometimes to maintain colour brightness.

Ok this may be a stupid question I have not yet tried to mix my own colors ,but when I do do I start with the lighter color and add the darker color or does it matter??
Ok this may be a stupid question I have not yet tried to mix my own colors ,but when I do do I start with the lighter color and add the darker color or does it matter??

Unless you are mixing a bucket full, it does matter. You always start with the lightest. It does not take much dark colour to change a light colour.