Confused about color? FREE watercolor conversion chart with mixing tips!

Hi friends!  I had a question from a viewer last week about substituting color in watercolor paintings. Sometimes you may be following along with a tutorial and you don’t have the color the teacher is using, usually I will mention substitutions but it sure would be handy to have a reference chart to give out. So armed with my huge watercolor swatch book I compiled a list of substitutions based on color hue, tinting strength and undertones and put it in an easy to print reference. There are also some mixing tips and I put my 9 must have colors (in my opinion) in bold in case anyone was interested:) You can download my free watercolor conversion chart with mixing tips here. This color conversion chart will also work with other wet media:)

Here is a video with more info on using the guide and color theory with color examples.

Below are a couple of recommendations for paint sets to get you started if you are new at various price points.

  • Daniel Smith Essential Into set of 6 tubes
    *This contains a warm and cool of each primary for $31 The quality is excellent and I use this set in my Essential tools and techniques for Watercolor online course. I also recommend having a Yellow Ocher, Sap Green and Burnt Sienna paint for watercolor (Add a titanium white if using acrylic, oil or gouache colors.)
  • Schminke 12 half pan set $57 at Jacksons. *This is the artist quality version of the 12 pan set I demoed with, excellent paint and it is all you will need to mix just about anything color wise. *Sometimes we pick colors like cobalt teal for instance for their granulating capabilities, texture or opacity/transparency but that is more high level painting stuff. Learn color theory basics first:) Remember the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!
  • For $30 you can get this 30 color set of Shinhan which is lovely, not quite as high quality of Daniel smith or Schminke, but good for a beginner. *This will contain all the colors you need and then some but some of the names are off so you will need to trust your instincts and swatch them. The preform well though and the tubes are lager making for a lot of material to play with without the fear of wasting paint. I question the light-fastness of some colors but for learning it will suit you well.
  • I also really like this “Pretty Excellent” 36 budget pan set for $20, again the names are dodgy but the paint is great if you want to play.

Need more help on your watercolor journey?


Want in-depth watercolor lessons containing all of the information and tutorials you need to start your watercolor journey off right? Check out my Essential Tools and Techniques for Watercolor course! With 6 hours of step by step instruction I will take you from how to hold a brush to perfect washes and color mixing then guide you through four finished paintings. Click here to learn more or enroll today!

Oh! I almost forgot! We will have a live stream tomorrow at 1pm Eastern Time, Sarah will be in the studio too so if you have missed us please stop by and say hi! Till then happy crafting!


22 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this handy cheat sheet. It’s just what I needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so very much for this! Very helpful information for a beginner painter like me. So thankful for your classes and all of your painting and card making tutorials.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lindsay, Could you tell me in general terms where you are located? I am pin pointing a world map for all of my blogs so my grands can see what a wonderful world we have. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much Lindsay – this will be a fab tool in my colour swatch folder, still so much to learn about colour

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thankyou, very helpful

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I asked the question and am so glad I did. This cheat cheat will help immensely. Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was just awesome to watch. I just love learning from you. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would really like to take your watercolor course. I am deaf so I need to know are there words to go alone with your lessons like with your tutorials? Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry, the online classes do not have captions. My free youtube videos do as youtube has wonderful software to generate them but I don’t have the experience to do that in my classes on teachable yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you Lindsay for the color cheat sheet! very useful


  10. Sorry its not related to your course but the mention of Schminke 12 half pan set $57 at Jacksons. I know you don’t have control of ordering but when I went to site this was offered. I tried to purchase through paypal an nothing happened. Went back into site again on Canadian site several times an now the price has gone up. Wondering how long does your site information last, if you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi again its Joan, please disregard my above message, found a contact site for Jackson’s, guess going through the Canadian site wasn’t as simple as I thought. Again I apologize for troubling you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow! Lindsay, always thinking and working! Admirable qualities and enjoyable!

    The best times for me were running my own show and working hard to make it work.


  13. Thank you Lindsey for the information you provided, very interesting and helpful, but I thought you and your followers would like to know about a website called as there is some really useful information about watercolours and pigments. Hope you find it useful.


  14. Thanks so much for compiling this chart…so helpful!


  15. Thanks so much for this chart. I recently purchased the Pretty Excellent set of 36, but they do not have pigment information. Is there a way to add their colors to this chart? I’m a beginner and not sure which are the equivalent colors. Thanks


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