Posts Tagged ‘Acrylic Painting’

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In today’s post I  will be reviewing the following book;

Acrylic Artist’s Colour Mixing Bible by Ian Sidaway

The book is published by Search Press and the ISBN number is 1-84448-137-9

I have just started to use a set of Cryla acrylic paints and wanted to know how to mix colours effectively. The sub title of the book is; A visual guide to more than 2500 mixes and glaze effects. So this looked like a good place to start.If you have never used acrylic paint, or are considering trying it, then this is a very good book to buy before you buy your paint etc. There are sections covering Materials and equipment, techniques, colour theory and the rest of the book is full of pictures of colours of paint and how they mix with a ‘core pallet’ of colours.

Materials and Equipment

This section covers the nature of acrylic paint and what to expect when you use it for the first time. There are a variety of different kinds of acrylic paint which are covered at the very beginning. There are also all kinds of different additives that you can mix with your paint, all of which achieve different finishes, these are also discussed in this section. There are various ‘tools’ you can use to apply your paint, not just brushes, the book describes which work best with the particular types of acrylic paint. Different kinds of mixing pallet and easels are also discussed. The section ends with a description of the various supports (surfaces) onto which you can apply your paint, you don’t have to use paper or canvas, the book describes painting on to wood and how to prepare your chosen painting surface for the paint.


The great thing about this section, is that it not only describes a whole range of different techniques but it also shows which kind of paint it is best to start with, to achieve a given effect. As I say, perfect if you haven’t yet bought paints, as by looking through the techniques sections, you can see what kind of styles you prefer and select the appropriate choice of paint.


Understanding Colour

This section is dedicated to colour theory, it is comprehensive and although I have to say I still don’t understand it, it is a chapter to study as it will be very useful. The chapter ends with an introduction to the core palette of twelve colours that are used in the colour mixes, for the rest of the book. 


The Colour Mixing Directory

The rest of the book is full of a very comprehensive range of colour mixes. Recipes of how the core palette of twelve colours, mix with a range of other colours. This is excellent, if you have ever stood in front of a shop display of tubes of paint and been bewildered. You get to have a good look at lots of colours and see which appeals to you, in the comfort of your own home.

  • Each base colour is given four pages.
  • At the very top of the pages, the original colour is show pure, and it lightens as it goes across the page.
  • There are six panel’s of colour on each page, these show the colour to which the page is dedicated, mixed with each of the core pallet colours in turn, in various different combinations.
  • The original colour is also shown mixed with these colours and with white added or water added. So however you use your acrylic paint you will get an idea of the results you can expect to get when mixing.


Summing Up

I am very pleased with this book, it is wire bound so lays flat when it is open, very handy if you are referencing it whilst mixing colours ;) It is useful to see a whole range of different colours, to help you choose your own palette for the first time. The section about the difference between the different kinds of acrylic paint and what techniques can be achieved with them, was very helpful. The brush/tool section, is great for selecting the correct tool for the kind of paint you want to use.

My one personal downside of this book, was that I was really hoping to be able to be able to purchase the palette mentioned at the start of the book. This article was written in June 2009 and at the time this is published some of the colours from the core pallet in the book, are not available in my choice of acrylic paint (Cryla). In fairness to Daler Rowney their Cryla range is due to expand in October 2009, so I may well wait until then to make my final choice of which paint to buy. I am also considerering Golden fluid acrylics, so my options are still open.

Another book I would like to get and after only a brief look through, would also recommend for anyone starting out with acrylic paint is; The Acrylic Artist’s Bible; The Essential Reference for the Practicing Artist by Marilyn Scott. Marilyn’s book is full of techniques and a good place to start if you are new to the medium, like me.


Here is a link to Amazon for the books mentioned in this article, as there are search inside options available for both books.

Acrylic Artist’s Colour Mixing Bible by Ian Sidaway

The Acrylic Artist’s Bible; The Essential Reference for the Practicing Artist by Marilyn Scott


Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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