As a beginner in watercolor, understanding how the pigment in a palette works together is essential. It is possible to considerably increase your preexisting palette without buying (and lugging around!) extra colors if you are familiar with the fundamental watercolor mixtures.

Example Template #1

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Because watercolor prefers to mix on its own, it’s important to learn basic mixing techniques in order to avoid color blunders. A more productive painting experience can be achieved when you learn how to mix different pigments together.

Example Template #2

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For your convenience, I’ve included three* blank watercolor mixing charts for making stair charts with six, eight, or twelve colors (directions are provided below). You can print and download these for free. But if you need to blend more than the chart’s capacity for colors, this method can work for any amount of pigments on practically any paper. I frequently make this mixing chart in my mixing sketchbook without sketching any lines at all.

Example Template #3

The importance of color mixing

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Make a color chart and use it to test your color combinations as a methodical way to test color combinations before mixing them on your paper. You may learn about color theory by making color charts. A color chart comes in handy when you’re stuck in the middle of a painting and need to figure out what you should do next.

Example Template #4

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Consider painting a flower’s stalk and noticing that the color varies just below the blossom. With a color chart, you’ll be able to match that color change with ease. For a landscape, you don’t want to paint a single, monotone green because it would look flat and dull.

Example Template #5

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If you want to add some variety to your greens, refer to your color chart for ideas. You might not have considered mixing violet with Hooker’s green or indigo with raw sienna on your own, for example.

Example Template #6

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Use a half or quarter-sheet of watercolor paper to develop your color chart so that it can be displayed in your studio. Consider using 812×11 pages and keeping them in a file folder if you have a small workspace. Make a grid of 1- or 12-inch squares to get started. Ideally, you can paint at least eight to ten grid-lined squares over the top and bottom of your paper.

Understanding the different kinds of watercolor charts

  • The palette chart – This is helpful for the palette guide
  • The glazing chart – This helps you understand how glazing works
  • The color wheel – If you want to understand the primary color mixing, this is chart is perfect

Example Template #7

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  • The dual color mixing chart – It is helpful to mix two colors in different ratios
  • The value chart – This chart is helpful to understand what proportion of water you need to mix
  • Watercolor swatches – This chart is useful if you want to test single color and take it as a reference

How does the watercolor chart work?

All or some of the colors in your palette can be used to make a watercolor chart. On the top and side axis of the grid, each of your paints is listed. In the chart, each square is located at the intersection of a row and a column.

Your colored squares on your grid are filled in by combining the colors on the side axis and the top axis.

Example Template #8

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Reasons why must mix different watercolors

  • Watercolors with a single pigment and those that are translucent are always my go-to recommendations. Why? Because mixing too many colors might result in a muddy, lackluster color when they are combined. Like me, I’m sure you enjoy painting with bold, vibrant hues. Flat colors are less likely to be produced when single pigments are mixed. Your best bet is to use a color chart to figure out which specific single pigments will result in the color combination you desire.

Example Template #9

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  • If you have a tube of black paint, you probably don’t need to know how to blend blacks or grays with just two colors. You can use a mixing chart to see whether two colors work well together to create fascinating grays and blacks.

Example Template #10

Image Source

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  • In some cases, it’s also necessary to lessen the brightness of a color. Many artists will be enticed to attempt this by adding black. However, this will only make your colors more muted! Adding a complementary color is preferable, and your color chart will guide you in making the proper choice.

Example Template #11

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  • Greens might be tough to mix as well. To acquire the proper shade of green when mixing paint, we find it challenging to choose a suitable mixture of colors. This can be made easier with the use of a color chart.
  • When it comes to mixing pinks and skin tones, it might be difficult. Inexperienced artists frequently mix red and white paints. Adding black to color mixtures has the same effect as if you were mixing white and color. Flat and boring colors will be the result. Your mixing chart will aid you in discovering the best combinations for flesh tones.

Example Template #12

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  • There are a lot of brown, indigo, and violet tubes lying around. These pre-mixed colors are convenient if you frequently need a specific shade of a hue, but you can usually get away with mixing them with your existing set of paints. It’s possible to save money by preparing your own color chart because you’ll know how to mix a color from two other colors. It’s possible that you’ll use fewer colors as a result. If you plan to paint while on the road, this information will come in handy so that you can construct your own travel palette.

How to prepare your own color mixing charts?

Color Mixing Charts (or grids) are a great way to learn more about color and how it can be blended. 

Example Template #13

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Making a color mixing chart (you can find a template here) teaches you how to make new colors from existing ones. Adding new paints to your palette may seem like a tedious task, but it’s your first chance to explore and find beautiful color combinations!

Example Template #14

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There are a number of ways to create glazing color charts, including mixing colors wet-into-wet directly on the chart or mixing them on a plate first. So this isn’t just a casual game of color swatching. On the lower right of our chart, for example, we use a greater application of watercolors than we do on the upper left – as an illustration. Transparency and granulation, two features of the colors, are easier to see in this manner.

Both the horizontal and vertical columns and rows of this color mixing chart are arranged chromatically.

Example Template #15

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Colors should be labeled and painted in the order outlined above, with darker colors on vertical columns, mid-tones on horizontal rows, and light washes in the diagonal. You can view a range of each primary hue — dark, medium, and light – by varying the water ratio.

Example Template #16

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Here comes the fun part: the mixing of colors! Wisteria can be mixed by painting along the column and across the row. Using a mixture of Wisteria and Lavender (more Wisteria than Lavender), paint the Wisteria column adjacent to the Lavender column on the left with that blend.

Example Template #17

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In the Wisteria row, in the second column, below the Lavender box (that is, the Lavender column), add extra Lavender to the same mix and paint it. As demonstrated in the next photographs, repeat similar processes with the remaining colors.

The following example shows blending Gray Titanium with our 6-color Essentials Watercolor Set when purchasing new colors. It’s a good idea to do the same when purchasing new colors. A seventh row and seventh column were added to the six-color mixing chart design to include Gray Titanium as the seventh color.

Example Template #18

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We also wanted to explore how other colors, such as Rosy red and orange, are blended with Gray Titanium comes out when mixed together.

You can use your color mixing chart as a handy reference whenever you need it. When you’re feeling uninspired, try painting a chart like this to get your creative juices flowing again. You’ll be glad you did when you discover a new palette full of vibrant hues.

Some important instructions to remember while making a watercolor chart

  • Paint swatches of the colors you’d want to mix are in the first column to the right. If you’ve never mixed before, it’s a good idea to start with colors that are just one pigment. With them, it’s possible to have a better picture of how different pigments interact with one another.

Example Template #19

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  • Watercolorists refer to mud or a hue that is created when too many pigments (or the wrong pigments) are muddled together, as “sludge.” This is less likely to happen when mixing single pigments.

Example Template #20

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  • Mixes begin on the second column down. Paint a swatch of the first color (in this case, yellow) in each square of the second column with each of the following colors. Shades of the secondary color (in this case, orange) should be painted next to each subsequent color in the third column. And so forth.