Gouache Mixing Charts – Part 1

It all started with a desire to find the perfect autumn color palette. I love wandering the forest with my gouache and sketchbook, and this time of year the colors doubly inspire me! I look forward to autumn all year and it seems to pass in an instant. So bittersweet!

Autumn forest gouache study
Autumn forest gouache study. Colors: Cadmium-free yellow, yellow ochre, permanent alizarin crimson, Prussian blue.

During the process, I found some interesting mixes. I’ll share my findings and I hope you enjoy!

Gouache Color Mixing Charts

Click on the images to make them larger. The names of each color are written at the top.

Cadmium-free yellow Gouache mixing chart
Cadmium-free yellow mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Winsor Green, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Primary Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Perylene Black, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium-Free Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.
Cadmium-free lemon yellow Gouache mixing chart
Cadmium-free lemon yellow mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Winsor Green, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Primary Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Perylene Black, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium-Free Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.

My two yellows are similar but each has their own personality. Cadmium-free yellow leans towards orange, while the cadmium-free lemon yellow is a bit cooler.

I find that the cad-free yellow creates a little more earthy mixes, but at times feels a bit muddy. On the other hand, the cad-free lemon yellow creates bright, “clean” mixes.

Perylene Black Gouache mixing chart
Perylene Black mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Winsor Green, Cadmium-Free Lemon Yellow, Cadmium-Free Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium-Free Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.

Perhaps on the most surprising chart was my perylene black mixes. This color is almost identical to my perylene green watercolor, which is one of my favorites!

The gouache version does not disappoint. It created slightly more earthy tones, and creates gorgeous darks. I can see myself leaning on this color for lots of mixes! I loved the odd purples it made with quinacridone magenta!

Prussian blue Gouache mixing chart
Prussian Blue mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Winsor Green, Cadmium-Free Lemon Yellow, Cadmium-Free Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium-Free Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.

Speaking of dark mixes, Prussian blue is a leader! I loved the rich forest greens, deep turquoise, and deep purples it created.

Primary blue Gouache mixing chart
Primary Blue mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Perylene Black, Winsor Green, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Cadmium-Free Lemon Yellow, Cadmium-Free Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium-Free Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.

Primary Blue, which is basically phthalo blue, creates reliably bright mixtures. When mixed with my cad-free lemon yellow it created the most intense lime green – a contender for my old Holbein “Leaf Green” that I used to love.

I’d definitely consider primary blue mixes for summer scenes.

Cobalt Turquoise Light Gouache mixing chart
Cobalt Turquoise Light mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Ultramarine Blue, Winsor Green, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium-Free Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta.

I chose a smaller selection of colors for this chart, because I had already mixed this color into the previous charts. But even with only 8 colors, I was pleasantly surprised by the range. This could be a fun limited palette, especially for coastal scenes. I feel the contents of this chart could create some gorgeous greys! I may need to do that soon…

Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre Gouache mixing chart
Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre mixing chart. Mixed with (left to right): Cobalt Turquoise Light, Perylene Black, Primary Blue, Prussian Blue, Cadmium-free yellow, Cadmium-free lemon yellow, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Perylene Black, Primary Blue, Prussian Blue.

For earth tones, I compared mixes with burnt umber and yellow ochre. Yellow ochre is definitely brighter, and there are some beautiful grey-green mixes in there.

I only use burnt umber for specific things, but I discovered some nice options here, like the dirty-oranges and earthy greens.

Quinacridone Magenta and Alizarin Crimson Comparison

Again, click the image to enlarge.

Quinacridone Magenta Gouache mixing chart
Quinacridone Magenta. Mixed with (left to right): Cad-free yellow, cad-free lemon yellow, Prussian blue, cobalt Turquoise Light, primary blue, perylene black.
Permanent Alizarin Crimson Gouache mixing chart
Alizarin Crimson. Mixed with (left to right): Prussian blue, Cobalt turquoise light, primary blue, perylene black, cad-free lemon yellow, cad-free yellow.

I sometimes think I could get rid of one of these two colors. Often times, these two colors will create near-identical mixes. However the direct comparisons reveal a bit more subtle evidence. And if mixed with white, they are even more obvious.

Cadmium-Free Red and Burnt Sienna Comparison

Cadmium-free red Gouache mixing chart
Cadmium-free red. Mixed with (left to right): Cadmium-free yellow, cad-free lemon yellow, prussian blue, primary blue, perylene black, cobalt Turquoise Light.
Burnt Sienna Gouache mixing chart
Burnt Sienna. Mixed with (left to right): Cadmium-free yellow, cad-free lemon yellow, prussian blue, primary blue, perylene black, cobalt Turquoise Light.

As far as reds go, this may not be a fair comparison, but they are the only “reds” on my palette! I am not a red fan in general, but I find them useful for certain things. Burnt sienna is a great color to keep things a bit more subtle. As a whole, these charts reveal their usefulness for earth tones and fire trucks.

I hope you found this useful, there will be plenty more charts to come!

Learn How I Make These Charts

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I'm an independent artist living in Scotland. Always chasing the light, and painting the beautiful highlands.

2 thoughts on “Gouache Mixing Charts – Part 1

  1. This post (plus your other post about earth-friendly watercolor pigments) has inspired me to get to know the acrylic paints that my mom handed down to me. She gave me so many primaries and convenience colors that sometimes it is just overwhelming. Thank you for the color mixing chart tutorial and for giving me a way to get more familiar with my paint collection.

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