I’m really enjoying the Urban Sketching Handbook series: short, image-packed books that focus on watercolor on location. As a color enthusiast, one of my favorites so far has been Working with Color by Shari Blaukopf.
In the book, Blaukopf does list the colors in her current 23-color palette, though she cautions, “Don’t lock yourself into a final selection. In fact, I’m constantly swapping colors because I love to experiment.” Same!!
Still, let’s look at the palette listed in the book and, as is my wont, see how I’d approximate it from my color library.
Blaukopf lists color names next to swatches, but doesn’t give brands. I understand why she didn’t want to shill for particular brands, nor introduce pigment numbers and have to explain them, but it does make it difficult to tell exactly what these colors are. Where possible, I’ve guessed at a brand (my guesses in parentheses) based on color name or appearance. Again, these are guesses, I don’t actually know.
|Color||SB Has (Brand, Pigment Guess)||I Have|
|Bright Yellow||Hansa Yellow (Da Vinci or M. Graham, PY3)||Winsor Yellow (PY154) or Winsor Lemon (PY175)|
|Yellow-Orange||New Gamboge (from appearance, Winsor & Newton, |
|HO – IYD (PY110)|
|Gold||Quinacridone Gold (?, likely PY150/PO48)||MI – Green Gold (PY150)|
|Orange||Transparent Orange (Winsor & Newton, DPP)||DS – TPO (PO71)|
|Bright Red||Cadmium Red (?, PR108)||WN – Scarlet Lake (PR188)|
|Crimson||Permanent Alizarin Crimson (no idea – so many brands have this name and they’re all different)||DV – ACQ (PV19)|
|Magenta/Pink||Quinacridone Rose (?, PV19)||DV – Red Rose Deep (PV19)|
|Purple||Carbazole Violet (Daniel Smith, PV23)||Da Vinci Violet (PV23)|
|Yellow-Green||Leaf Green (Holbein, PG7/PY154)||Winsor Green YS (PG36)|
|Convenience Foliage Green||Sap Green (Daniel Smith, PG7/PY150/PO48)|
|Green (Blue Toned)||Phthalo Green (Da Vinci or M. Graham, PG7)||DV – Phthalo Green (PG7)|
|Dark Green||Forest Green (Sennelier, PBk7/PG7/PY42)||WN – Perylene Green (PBk31)|
|Turquoise||Cobalt Teal (Winsor & Newton, PG50)||SH – Cobalt Turquoise (PG50)|
|Blue (Green Toned)||Cerulean Blue (?, PB36)||DV – Cerulean Blue Genuine (PB36)|
|Blue (Middle)||Cobalt Blue (?, PB28)||DV – Cobalt Blue (PB28)|
|Blue (Violet Toned)||Ultramarine Blue (?, PB29)||HO – Ultramarine Deep (PB29)|
|Dark Blue (Green Toned)||Prussian Blue (?, PB27)||DV – Prussian Blue (PB27)|
|Dark Blue (Middle)||Indanthrene Blue (Winsor & Newton or Da Vinci, PB60)||DS – Indanthrone Blue (PB60)|
|Earth Orange||Burnt Sienna (Da Vinci, PBr7)||DV – Burnt Sienna Deep (PR101)|
|Earth Yellow-Orange||Raw Sienna (Da Vinci, PBr7)||DS – MANS (PBr7)|
|Earth Yellow||Yellow Ochre (Da Vinci, PY42)||HO – Yellow Ochre (PY42)|
|Very Dark Blue||Indigo|
|Black||Lunar Black (Daniel Smith)||MMB – Neutral Tint (PBk26)|
- Sap Green and Indigo are the only ones I don’t have a swaparoo for; I’ll tend to palette-mix greens and darken blues with a complementary orange.
- Phthalo Green Yellow Shade is a stretch swap for Leaf Green – more of a base color that you could use to get to it by mixing with yellow. Again it’s one I’d have to palette-mix.
- Love the sheer number of blues. I also love blue and have a lot of my palette. I struggle with deciding between Ultramarine, Cobalt, and Cerulean (mainly because although Ultramarine and Cerulean are quite different, Cobalt’s use cases overlap with them), so it’s kinda inspiring to see someone who hasn’t chosen and just has all of them. (Though I also like to have Phthalo Blue!)
- Darker browns (Burnt Umber, Raw Umber) conspicuously absent from earth tones. Intriguing.
More Cool Tips I Learned From This Book
This is the book that inspired me to try Alizarin Crimson hue + Cerulean for a nice cloud mix! Also, that a light value Raw Umber (or MANS in my case) painted on before adding stormclouds can add contrast to the cool clouds.
And plenty more. It’s a great book!