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Complete Colour Mixing Guide Paperback – 21 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press Ltd (21 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844486222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844486229
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.3 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This excellent book begins with an explanation of how using the 25 colours chosen for the colour wheels can give a comprehensive range of 2,400 two colour mixes. Often the temptation is to mix a colour, and add a bit of a third or even fourth colour trying to get the right tone. This dulls the paint til we end with a muddy coloured variant of that which we wanted. I'm sure every artist has done that at some time - I know I certainly have, and it can have a drastic effect on an otherwise pleasing artwork. I believe colour mixing is an essential skill for artists to learn but John takes the guess work out of it whether you are working in watercolour, acrylic or oils, and this certainly helps the learning process and enables more visually pleasing and vibrant paintings. Simply find your chosen colour and follow the percentage guide set to mix it from two others. Each pair of colours is shown in five degrees of a mixture and on each colour wheel percentages are marked as a guide to proprtions needed for the final mix. Its different from the inteactive wheels we have seen before and i feel this more accurately shows the results. Each colour has a complete two page section so for example the first in the watercolour range is lemon yellow and page one adds to this eight other colours, burnt sienna, cad red, cad red deep, permanent rose, opera rose, perylene violet, permanent mauve, and violet to produce a range of yellows, soft and bright oranges, and violet browns. Page two then has lemon yellow mixed with french ultramarine, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, prussian blue, phthalo turquoise, viridian, permanent sap green, and olive green producing a huge range of greens from acid yellow type to softest sage. The next colour used is cadmium yellow light worked in the same format producing more colours., and the book continues in this format . An excellent book for any artist using one or all of these mediums, saving guesswork, time and patience! Whether you work in acrylics, oils or watercolors here is a book that can help will all your mixing problems. See how a palette of just 25 colors can expand to one of 2400 different shades for your paintings. By mixing just two colors together from 25 basic ones a whole spectrum of color appears in this useful little book. Earlier Search Press has published several similar volumes for those who work with just one of the above types of paint, but here is a new book that shows what can be done with all three but in a different way as outlined above. The book starts with a brief description of all three media, and then shows different color wheels and how colors harmonize with each other in a variety of different paintings. Seeing it this way was helpful; color wheels on their own can be rather abstract things that are not always easy to apply in this way to actual artwork. Then follows three sections on each medium, showing and naming all 25 colors and also showing a restricted palette of just six colors for beginners and talking too about brushes and what to paint onto. After that the pages show each color, and what it looks like mixed with a variety of other colors in varying quantities. As somebody who has never been very good at mixing paint I can recommend this book, which takes a lot of the guesswork and wastage out of the mixing This book is a must for anyone who struggles with mixing colours. It brings you more than 7500 hues, with clear concise descriptions of how to mix the desired shade using the minimum number of colours. This ensures the cleanest possible mix and takes the uncertainty out of colour mixing. The author, John Barber, has published several 'Colour Wheel' books and this latest reference guide encompasses watercolour, oil and acrylic, using the most popular and widely available colours for each medium. The book is intended for both amateur and professional artists. A brief section on how to use the book is followed by chapters on the colour wheel and colour harmonies, before moving on to sections devoted to each medium. The compact nature of the book means that it is ideal - not only in the studio, but out and about on location too, so the answer to finding the perfect colour will always be close at hand.-Leisure Painter

About the Author

John Barber is a professional artist and designer whose work has been published by many leading publishers worldwide. His interest in art and design have led to diverse commissions, including model-making for film and TV, sculpture, and stained glass design, in addition to painting. He has lectured widely on Turner and Rembrandt, and regularly teaches painting courses near Flatford Mill in Suffolk and in La Rochefoucauld, France. John lives in London. He is the author of The Watercolor Wheelbook, Color Pencil Wheel Book, Oil Paint Color Wheel Book, Acrylics Color Wheel Book, and Pastel Color Wheel Book.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Biochemist on 9 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll say right off the bat that I bought this book for help mixing colours for polymer clay primarily, and paint as a lesser concern. I do occasionally paint, so my comments might be useful for painters too.

The book is much smaller than I expected. It is just smaller than A5. It's perfect-bound and feels a lot more like a catalogue than a book. I think it would be hard to use it in the workshop without really breaking its spine to get it to stay open and using it regularly to loosen it up. As someone who likes to browse through my books often, this means I will probably pick this one up much less often than other books I have.

As a polymer clay enthusiast, I bought this book because I thought it would help me to learn how to mix colours. I'm interested in colour theory, and learning to mix intuitively, and I think this book will help with that. I do like the layout, which shows each page as a wheel with the main colour in the centre and the second colour in the mix radiating out from it. The bottom of the page has directions for shifting the colour. On the yellow page there is a "more red" arrow and a "more blue" arrow pointing in opposite directions. I would love a spiral bound version so I could lay it flat on my bench to really work with it.

I was a little disappointed as I don't think this book will help me with colour mixes per se. The basic starting colours for polymer are purported to be based on the artist's palette, but I'm not convinced that I will find suitable matches in each of the three paint media. Where I think this book will excel however, is in planning 2-colour Skinner blends. Because each wheel shows mixes as a percentage, it is easy to see how two colours will blend across a Skinner sheet. I am keeping the book for this main reason.

What I would love to see is a book like this aimed directly at polymer clay artists (ideally spiral-bound). If anyone has one they can recommend, please do!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Platt TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are unsure about colour as many artists surprisingly are, this is a must have book. John is well-known for his colour wheel guides, but I like this book even more. No matter what your medium - watercolour, oil or acrylic, John has taken the top 25 colours in each and made a complete colour guide for artists. This is a very useful aid, enabling colour matching. Brilliant. This review first appeared on Karen Platt's book review website.
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