My Koi Watercolor Color Chart

One of my artistic goals is to do more plein air sketching.  Most of my sketching is with pencil but I have recently seen so many beautiful watercolor sketches that I decided I would give it a try.  At first, I bought some watercolor pencils, which I really like for the most part.  Then, in preparation for my recent trip to Southwestern Utah, I decided to buy a small watercolor kit that can travel easily.  The kit is a Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box set.  Here it is:

You can buy it here:

I bought the 24 color set.  I decided I needed to learn the colors and color mixing a little better.  Let me just do a little math to put it in perspective.  If you have a 24 color pallete, creating a color chart yields 576 (24 x 24) color combinations!  WOW!  And that’s just mixing 2 colors with each other, then those same two colors plus white.  Color mixing experts say that you can mix 3 colors, but really, I think I can deal with 576 colors.  Besides, I think mixing a 3 color chart would be very confusing….and you’d probably make lots of “mud” colors.  Anyway, so I found some instructions for building a color chart:

I liked this one pretty good, there are other instructions out there, you can find one that you like just by searching the web for “how to make a color chart”.  Basically, it’s just a matrix and you add the color from the row plus the color from the column.  Everything below the diagonal has white added.  My example is below with numbers.  I numbered my colors to make it easier. 

Here’s my finished color chart:

As you can see, I made mine in 6 panels then taped them together with thin strips of white duct tape.  This made it fold-able and is the same approximate size as the Koi watercolor box.  To do this, each square was 1 cm square.  Here is the folded color chart on top of the Koi watercolor box.  It was too thick to put inside but you can rubber-band it to the box to keep them together.

Another note about the color chart:  Creating a color chart this size takes a long time.  To speed up the process, I put the column color on a pallette in a long horizontal line, then white on the pallette in a long horizontal line.  See below.  Then I could just mix the color from each row with the horizontal colored line, put it on the paper in the correct block, then mix with the white horizontal line, put it on the paper in the correct block, then wash the brush and go to the next color.  Like this: 

I hope that anyone who uses this can follow my instructions and hope that you’ll build your own color chart.  I have to admit, it was alot of work, but it’s well worth it when looking at something and trying to figure out what colors to mix.  You just find the color on your color chart that you want, and look at the colors that you need to mix to get it.

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6 Responses to My Koi Watercolor Color Chart

  1. Brian says:

    Much appreciated for the information and share!

  2. Louie Colona says:

    Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, let alone the content!

  3. kendall says:

    Thanks for posting this! This helped me make my own color chart with my neocolor ii crayons. Next, my koi watercolor pocket field sketch box! This helped a lot! Thanks for posting!

  4. Autumn says:

    Wow, I am truly impressed. Nice job. Thanks for sharing

  5. Savannah says:

    Wow that chart is really pretty! I’m currently attempting to make that same chart, but it’s not going well at all. I’m using to same palette as you, but not only have most of my colors come out shockingly opaque, but so far, most of my yellows/orange combinations look extremely similar. I’m thinking it’s a problem with how much paint I’m using, but I’m a newborn bird to watercolors, so I can’t quite figure out how to control it. How much water did you use, and how much paint should I try and coax out (and how do I control it)? Also, did you use the waterbrush provided to make the chart?

    • Leeann says:

      Thank you for the compliment on the chart. I did not use alot of water, very little, just enough to make the colors flow. And yes, I did use a waterbrush.

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