Finding a Dark Magenta: Comparing Quin Fuchsia, Quin Violet, and Bordeaux

I have two great options for a primary magenta, Quin Magenta (PR122) or Quin Rose (PV19), both of which are extremely bright but don’t get that dark. I like to have a way of making a dark version of each of my colors, but none of my usual ways of darkening magenta quite work for me.

  • Adding blue makes it purple
  • Adding green (the complement) makes a weird gray
  • Adding earth orange makes crimson red
  • I’m not a fan of the muddy mixes with black

Could a new pigment help?

Comparison of Magents
Holbein Quin Magenta (PR122) vs. DV Quin Fuchsia (PR202), DS Bordeaux (PV32), DV Quin Violet (PV19)

Part of the problem is that I’m not entirely sure what a dark magenta should look like. I have a good idea in my head of a dark red (crimson), and a dark purple (something like Carbazole Violet), but dark magenta? I’m not sure.

I decided to compare my primary magenta, Holbein Quin Magenta (PR122), with DV Quin Fuchsia (PR202); DS Bordeaux (PV32, a Daniel Smith-exclusive color); and DV Quin Violet (PV19, same pigment as Quin Rose, but purple).

Quin Fuchsia (PR202) is similar to the magenta but a bit duller and slightly darker. Quin Fuchsia is the most textured of these shades, especially in masstone, though I wouldn’t call any of them granulating.

Bordeaux (PV32) looks the reddest in masstone (nearly crimson), and is slightly dull in dilute.

Quin Violet (PV19) is the purplest, looking grape-juiceish in masstone.

Color Mixes

Lemon Yellow (PY175)

From left: Quin Fuchsia (PR202), Bordeaux (PV32), Quin Violet (PV19).

Quin Fuchsia (left) makes the cleanest corals and golds, because it is the least purplish and the most similar to a primary magenta. But is it too similar to primary magenta?

Quin Violet (right), being the purplest, makes the ugliest mixes IMO. As a purple, it’s more of a complement to yellow, but it makes muddy maroons rather than straight grays.

Bordeaux (middle) is sort of between the two.

Quin Magenta (PR122)

How do these “dark” magenta compare to a bright primary magenta? Can they be effectively used as a dark share or are they too similar?

From left: Quin Fuchsia (PR202), Bordeaux (PV32), Quin Violet (PV19).

Sorry I didn’t put the magenta in a consistent place. The Quin Magenta (PR122) is on the left side of the gradient for the first two (PR202 Fuchsia and PV32 Bordeaux), and on the right side of the gradient for the last one (PV19 Violet).

Quin Fuchsia (left) is the most similar to the magenta. The fuchsia does get darker (and the magenta does get brighter), but there is a ton of overlap. The fuchsia is the only color with a bit of texture/granulation to it.

Quin Violet (right) is the most different from magenta in terms of hue, being much more purple, but it’s a similar value (at least once it dries – wet, it looked darker).

Bordeaux (middle) initially seemed to me to have the greatest capacity for being a “dark magenta” in a similar hue but significantly darker value range. However, it dried less dark, so it comes out looking pretty similar to the Quin Fuchsia, but smoother/less granulating.

Phthalo Turquoise

From left: Quin Fuchsia (PR202), Bordeaux (PV32), Quin Violet (PV19).

All of these make similar purple mixes.

Quin Fuchsia (left) made it the easier for me to make super-dark blues. The purples are also vivid here. The mix that’s mostly Fuchsia gave me a hue very similar to unmixed Quin Violet, actually.

Quin Violet (right) is the purplest so it’s easiest to make vivid purples, but the mixes don’t get as dark as the others.

Bordeaux (middle) looked similar to QF originally, but it dried much lighter than I thought. Bordeaux has a bit of a drying shift, but it is possible to get it dark, as I saw in the monochrome paintouts. I’d say that a tricky thing about Bordeaux is that it always looks dark wet, but sometimes it’s more diluted than I think, and so it dries a lot lighter than I expect. The purples are a bit dull compared to the others – perhaps because this is the reddest color in masstone.

Cost Comparison

Daniel Smith’s versions of all three of these colors are Series 2, so there should be no significant cost difference within the same brand. Note that Daniel Smith is the only company that has Bordeaux.

Da Vinci, which has a different series scheme, lists QF as Series 4 and QV as Series 5, so QV is a bit more expensive. I found them both cheaper than the DS equivalents, but this will depend on your locality.


None of these wowed me as a must-have dark magenta.

Quin Fuchsia (PR202) is too similar to a primary magenta. It gets slightly darker than my PR122 Quin Magenta, but most of the range overlaps. I wouldn’t like to use QF as my primary magenta because it’s duller and doesn’t get as bright, so it won’t mix as cleanly. This leaves it in the awkward position of being too similar to one of my staple colors to really get used.

Quin Violet (PV19) is not so much darker than my primary magenta as it is bluer. I feel like I can get similar results from adding a bit of blue to my magenta.

Bordeaux (PV32) is the only one that continues to intrigue me. I can get a masstone that’s significantly darker than my primary magenta without simply being bluer (if anything, it’s redder). But Bordeaux also gave me some problems. It has a drying shift, which is exacerbated by its looking very similar at various concentrations when wet, so it’s difficult for me to predict how it will look dry. I’ve fallen in and out of love with Bordeaux several times now, but it remains hanging on the B-team while I make up my mind.

I think I haven’t been imaginative enough in picturing a dark magenta. I just sort of stuck with, well, magenta. Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong place. Maybe instead of a color that strikes me as being “really similar to magenta, but a bit darker,” I should look for a much darker purplish color, such as Perylene Violet or Carbazole Violet. Future research!

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