A short guide to some of the blacks available in Oil, Acrylics & Water colours.
IVORY BLACK (AKA Bone Black)
A general purpose, most commonly used, stable black with brown undertones and excellent tinting powers.
The name derives from traditional method for obtaining it: by roasting elephant tusks, which obviously isn’t the case anymore.
LAMP BLACK (AKA Carbon Black)
Opaque, permanent & light-fast it has a bluish tint, ideal for producing a variety of cool blue greys.
One of the oldest pigments, made of pure carbon originally from the residual soot of burnt oil lamps.
A denser, more neutral black with stronger tinting power.
A heavy opaque pigment, a dense black colour with a brown undertone and stronger tinting power.
It is made from mineral iron oxide and so named after the alchemical name for iron.
A strong black pigment that has an exquisite green undertone, use it on its own or for green and blue mixtures.
A semi-opaque dark blue which when mixed with whites creates blue-grey colours.
A permanent alternative to the traditional Vine Black.
A dark blue grey named after its creator William Payne, the 18th century water-colourist, which he recommended to his students as an alternative to plain black.
Made from a mixture of Ultramarine, Mars Black and sometimes Crimson.
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