|Search the Color of Art Pigment Database
The Art is Creation,
Color of Art Pigment Database
An Artists Paint and Pigment Reference with Color Index Names, Color Index Numbers and Chemical Composition
To explore the Pigment Database, click the color menu above or If your in a hurry click here to go to the Quick Jump Chart Below
| For Important Info on the Pigment Database Click Here | For the Pigment Table Key Click Here or Scroll down |
About the Design of The Database: the purpose of the pigment database is utilitarian and so I have opted for a simple fast loading web design, instead of fanciful graphics.
The Color of Art Pigment Database is a valuable reference for all artists working with color, and it is the the most complete pigment resource with color index names available for free. This collection of pigment information is an indispensable resource for all artists and art conservators interested in art restoration or making permanent works of art. Whether an artist uses oil paints, watercolor or acyclic, knowing the pigments and their properties is essential for all the visual arts from painting. Artists interested in making paint in the studio should find this information useful too.
NOTE: The Pigment Database is a reference resource of pigment and paint information. I do not sell pigments or artist paints, but I have added links in the pigment name column of the database to a pigment/paint manufacturer, or art supply, where more info can be found and the purchased. Just click on the art material manufactures code next to the pigment name (for Key to the codes click here, or scroll to scroll down beneath the tables of any page). If your interested in hard to find, rare, exclusive and out-of-production pigments, the following suppliers may be able to help; Natural Pigments, Kama Pigment, Kremer Pigmente -(English site here), Sinopia Pigments, and Guerra Paint & Pigment. I hope that all oil painters as well as watercolor painters & acrylic painters and all the creative arts or crafts that use color, will find the pigment color charts useful.
Disclaimers, Notes and a quick explanation of the column headers: for the full key click here
The paint & pigment database color charts:
The color tables are sorted by the Color Index generic name (sometimes referred to as "Colour Index International Generic Name" or "CI pigment name"), making it easy to look up the C.I. pigment name that is usually printed on the labels of most professional grade paints, pigments or other media. The Color Index is an internationally recognized standard of pigment classification.
The Color Index generic name uses the pigments basic usage designation and hue plus the a unique pigment serial number (i.e. Pigment Red 102). These generic names are often abbreviated to the colors usage and hue initials, followed by the serial number. For example; NR 8 for Natural Red 8 also commonly known the naturally derived Alizarin Crimson. Another example would be; PB 29 for Pigment Blue 29, or also called Ultramarine Blue. See the Colour Index International web site for more thorough explanation and reference "The Color Index Classification System and Terminology" document.
To open a pigment color page simply use the navigation menu above and click on the color of interest. The Pigment Database was designed to help creative artists, craftsmen or craftswomen that are looking for information on the pigments used in their creations. This site is for information only, I do not sell pigments. When possible, I have added links to to find additional info or to an artist supply company, where the pigment or paint can be purchased at a discount. If you would like to obtain specific paints or pigments click on the art material manufactures and media code next to the pigment name (click here for the key), in most cases, it will take you off site to an pigment supplier or art supplier's site who stocks the specific paint or pigment by that paint manufacturer.
Pigments that are included in the database:
Only single pigment artist paints or pigments will be listed in pigment charts, except in a few cases were a co-precipitated pigment or an intimate pigment mixture were given a distinct color index generic name or number. One example of a pigment mixture with a C.I. index name is Pigment Green 15, abbreviated PG15. Pigment Green 15, known by the common name of "Chrome Green", is a mixture of the two pigments Chrome Yellow and Prussian Blue. In the past some common historical mixtures were given CI Generic Names, but that is not usually done anymore. Reference "The Colour Index Classification System and Terminology".
I have also included in the database some historical pigments, natural pigments and minerals of varying composition that are not listed in the Color Index but have been traditionally or currently used as pigments. These types of pigments may be of interest to creative artists in DIY homemade paints and fine art works.
The Column Headers:
The first column is CI Generic Name Abbreviation: this is explained above.
The Second Column is the CI or Historical common name: The pigments common name is usually the same common name that is described in the official Color Index. If that name is not available, It may be the commonly excepted historical name, chemical name, or the name given it by the first manufacturer or inventor.
The historic, common usage and manufacturing name column: There are many different and confusing names given to pigments and the paints made from them. This multitude of different names can be due to many factors. The pigment names in this column are not intended to be an indorsement of acceptable use, but only to list the names that a pigment has been called by at one time or another. This is often due to marketing decisions, regional and international language differences and historical variations in common usage. All these different names for the same pigment or paints made from them can be confusing, especially when different pigments may be marketed under the same name by different companies. This confusion is precisely why the Color Index was developed, and is one of the reasons it is wise to check the label for the Color Index Names to find the actual pigment being used.
Manufacturing techniques and chemical composition variations are typical reasons for alternate names, and in addition, different manufacturing processes can yield widely different hue variations. The pigments hue or shade is often used to name paints instead of the pigment used. Often pigment and paint makers and suppliers name their products entirely due to marketing and branding considerations. For example; different manufactures have substituted the terms "Primary Blue", "Lapis Lazuli", "Permanent Blue", and even "Cobalt Blue Hue" for the pigment most often known as "Ultramarine Blue" or Pigment Blue 29. Historically "Lapis Lazuli" is correctly used only for the natural pigment derived from the semi-precious stone of the same name, but I have seen some manufacturers who have labeled the much cheaper synthetic PB29 as "Lapis Lazuli". You can more info on marketing and other paint nomenclature at the handprint.com site here.
Pigments are also often named by the country or place of origin, where the pigments was first found or synthesized. As an example PR102 or "Pigment Red 102" is a natural iron oxide red that comes from mines all over the world and each one has a slightly different shade of red that can go from a bright orange shade to a deep purple. These types of natural pigments are often named for the location of origin such as "Sienna", "French Ochre" and "Italian Pompeii Red" or for there color such as "Red Ochre". Different global regions may have developed different historic common usage names too, for instance "Terra Rosa" is simply Italian for "red soil" or "Earth Red".
The codes next to a particular name indicate the manufacturer(s) or supplier(s) that have used that name for the that pigment, or a paint made from it. Refer to the key for a full explanation of these abbreviations. Only manufacturers that adhere to ASTM standards will be included. I have tried to include most of the better known retail brands of pigment suppliers and paint makers, but adding all the pigment manufacturers in the world would be an almost impossible task and of little use for the artist. Some well known, and apparently highly rated, artist grade paint makers do not conform to accepted ATSM standards and do not list the actual pigments on the paint label or any of their available color charts. These manufactures will not be included in this database because there is no way to know what pigment is used, and to be frank, if they refuse to put the pigment name on the label, they are, more likely than not, mixing 2 or more different pigments and/or substituting other cheaper pigments for what the marketing name may imply.
The CI chemical constitution numbers and the chemical names, and pigment composition: These have specific meaning indicating chemical composition. A basic explanation of what these numbers mean can be found on The Colour Index International Constitution Numbers page.
The color description column: gives a general idea of the pigments color, but note that pigment color can vary widely. Pigment manufacturers accomplish this by varying the exact manufacture method or chemical proportions used when synthesizing the pigments in order to get many useful shades and hues. Mineral and natural pigments also have many variations. The binder or medium used in making the paint can alter the shade or hue color ether subtly or significantly. In Addition, the particle size can also play a big role in the exact hue produced. As the primary purpose of this database is to focus on generalized pigment properties, rather than individual final paint formulations or pigment products, you should consult the manufacturers or retailers literature for hue information on the specific product your interested in.
The basic opacity & transparency info: is rated 1 through 4, with 1 as being opaque and 4 meaning transparent . The information included in the pigment database is a general guide as to the transparent, translucent or opaque nature of the raw pigment and most paints made from it, however it is important to note that the paint or pigment manufacturing method, particle size, even how how long it was mulled or ground can effect it's transparency. Additives such as Aluminum Hydrate, chalk, and paint binders or mediums, can all play a big role in the transparency of a particular pigment after it has been made into a paint, ink or pastel.
The light fastness ratings: Designated with a 4 tier scale from I to IV, with I as excellent and IV as the lowest rating. Light fastness is derived primarily from the ASTM ratings when I have them available, if ASTM has not rated a pigment or I have been unable to find a ASTM rating, I have used the manufacturers literature for that information. The fastness to light is extremely valuable for artists wishing to make permanent works, but remember that many factors contribute to the final light fastness of any particular formulation. Manufacturing processes, chemical purity and the art medium or binder used will all have an effect the light fastness of each particular paint product to some degree. In an example: the light fastness of "Prussian Blue" seems to be directly related to its chemical purity (see PB27), and there are many other fugitive or poor performing pigments that are suspected of being greatly effected by purity and manufacturing methods. In addition, it is worthy to note that some pigments generally said to have poor light fastness have been found hundreds of years later seemly bright as the day they were created. It is always advisable to make your own tests on the specific paint formulation you have.
Oil absorption: is given as grams of oil per 100 grams of pigment, or as sometimes as simply High, Medium and low, if I can't find exact ratios. The oil absorption will be most useful to oil painters in determining the drying time and is also useful reference those experimenting in making their own oil paints. The particle size of a specific pigment can alter the oil absorption. The finer a pigment particle is, it will usually absorb more oil because of the additional surface area of the individual pigment particles that the oil needs to coat.
The info on toxicity, links to MSDS sheets, health and safety: This is rated for A for non-toxic, to D indicating toxic or poisonous. This info is included as a resource for artists to help determine for themselves, the environmental, safety or health impact of art materials. All art materials should be handled with care and could kill you if handled carelessly. All dry powdered pigments should be handled with extreme care, even those known as non-toxic. If carelessly handled, the fine particles of dry pigments could be inhaled, or spread to other areas. Always work with paints and especially dry pigments in an separate area of your studio away from food, children, or pets.
The notes column: is a place for useful references, notations of discrepancies found in product information, compatibility or incompatibility issues, old wives tales and any other interesting pigment info I have found that is not covered under one of the other columns. These are not necessarily proven facts, but only items that need further research or have been said about a pigment. I have added links to references when known as (Ref).
Check the full Pigment Key found here for more detailed information on the database's pigment property data, column headings and other information
The marketing names of artist's pigments including oil paints, watercolors and acrylics, often have little or no relationship to the pigment chemicals they are actually made from. Art material suppliers and pigment manufacturers may name their paints anything they choose and often will name the pigments and paints with misleading color names, or names that are descriptive of the "hue" color and not the actual pigment used. Fortunately most companies conform to the ASTM standards and print the actual pigment C. I. names (color index pigment names) on the dry pigment, oil paint or watercolor tube/pan/container/etc. The Color Index Generic Names and Color Index Constitution Numbers are voluntary standards of ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), CII (Colour Index International), AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists), and the SDC (Society of Dyers and Colourists). For more information on the ASTM standards and Color Index International Pigment Names you should check out their websites, in which i have linked to above.
I only buy artist's pigments and paints that conform to the ASTM specification D 4302-05 and include the CI pigment names and generic pigment names on the label. Without the pigment names or C. I. numbers, as stated above, you have no way of knowing what's in the paint and if you are actually getting what you pay for. If your are paying $50.00 or more for a 37 ml tube of labeled "Cerulean Blue", it should be PB35, not actually filled or adulterated with the cheaper PB36 (Cobalt Chromite) or worse yet; Phthalo Blue mixed with Titanium White. If the paint label doesn't point out that it is a hue, or substitute, you could be getting ripped off.
The only way to make sure artist paint manufacturers conform and include proper pigment labeling is to demand to know what pigments they are using in the paints you buy and refuse to buy from the paint makers and colormen that don't conform to ASTM specification D 4302-05 and do not include pigment info on the label. The argument that they will be giving away a trade secret, is not legitimate in my view, at least not if the paint is truly made of a single pigment. How can it be giving away a trade secret by printing the pigment on the label? If a paint marketed as "Cerulean Blue" is really made with Cerulean Blue or "PB35" what is there to hide? When an art material manufacturer does not conform to the ASTM D 4302 or confirm the actual pigment used, it indicates, to me at least, that it is almost certainly a mixture or substitute.
Not to say all mixed pigments are bad,
and mixtures are can be found in most professional artist paints and art student grade products. Pigment mixes are convenient if you often use a certain color. When a paint is created with a mix of pigments at the manufacturing level, the mixture has been thoroughly ground together to a much greater degree than possible in the artist's studio and the resulting paint is often much brighter, purer in hue and intense than could be made by mixing on the palette in one's studio. Manufacturers will commonly use pigment mixtures to fill in the gaps in the color wheel of their product line because sometimes there is simply no available single pigments with the required hue, or in some cases, would make the product prohibitively expensive. Pigment mixtures are also useful in artist paints as a substitute for a historical pigment; when the original historic single pigment is toxic. As an example; any color labeled with the name "Emerald Green" the common historic name for Copper Arsenite, a rat poison, will certainly be a substitute made with less toxic pigments (be advised that it is possible in that a very old product, say, a old tube of paint found in great granny's attic, could be the real thing). Pigment substitution and mixes are also often used when the historic pigment is fugitive (i.e. using the extremely light fast natural earth pigments for the fugitive pigments "mummy" and "Van Dyke Brown").
Most of the information in the Pigment Database was collected from the pigment specifications published by the manufacturers or art material suppliers. I have also compiled information from many historical or contemporary art books including pigment & industrial coatings trade magazines & internet references.
The database's list of Color Index names and color index numbers, and table columns on covering power, light fastness, chemical formulas, and the hazards of art materials is meant to provide you with resource for pigment information that may be used as a starting point for your own research and tests. There are so many factors that can influence paint properties that it is impossible to give an absolute degrees of light fastness, safety or color hue for every brand of paint or pigment. It should also be noted that many pigment qualities such as durability and how the pigment originated are rumors or myths and misconceptions repeated over and over until they accepted as fact without any scientific proof.
Some of the paint or pigment manufacture links may be affiliate links. You can help support this site by purchasing thru those links. However they do not influence the content of this database at all.
I have included references when available, in the database tables and i have linked to the reference source with (Ref) in parentheses. Please see the notes below and my Free art books page for more reference and resource information.
Although I have made every effort to insure all pigment information and reference specifications are correct (see bibliography for more complete reference sources), I can not guarantee the accuracy of the Information or the suitability for any particular artistic application or process. If you notice any errors or omissions please write me so that I can keep the Color of art Pigment Database up to date, most accurate and thorough reference of it's kind anywhere in the world for free: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes on the Free Art eBooks Page! I have compiled a list of free art related e-books, and have made the reference list available for your own personal use. Many of the books on the page are classic and vintage art books, with some written by the Old Masters themselves, but not all of these books or e-books are in the public domain. Many works are still in copyright and have been made available by the authors for strictly personal use only. DO NOT assume that the inclusion of any e-book, book, website or link in the free e-book page, means that a work is out of copyright. Moreover all books, e-books, magazines, journals, thesis, website links or download links inclusion on the "free book" page list are intended for your own personal use, and does not imply, nor is it intended to imply, that a work is in the public domain or out of copyright. Copyrighted works are always the exclusive property of the copyright holder and can not be sold, compiled, or added to another work without the permission in writing by the copyright owner, any other use may constitute a crime or copyright infringement.
If you appreciate this resource, purchasing from the art supplier's links that are scattered throughout the site will help support this site and allow me to keep it up & running. Thanks! - Art is Creation!
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|PAINT AND PIGMENT REFERANCE TABLE KEY: Page Top^
|Jump to : Supplier\Manufacturer Codes | Binder/Medium Codes
Color Index Generic Name: Key Top ^ Page Top^
This is the C.I. Generic Name (abbreviated) given by the ASTM and Colour Index International (CII) for that pigment. The first 2 or 3 letters describe the general pigment color and the number is the individual pigment identifier. N/A (not applicable) means that pigment has not been given a color index name or number.
|Natural Dye and Solvent Pigments
These are naturally occurring organic pigments and dyes. With a few exceptions, most are plant or animal extracts or dyes that need to be fixed to a substrate to become pigments (i.e. Madder Lake). A few are organic natural earths such as Cassel earth (Van Dyke Brown). They are designated with C.I. Generic name of which consists of the usage class "Natural" and basic hue, followed by the CI serial number (i.e. Natural Brown 8). Natural pigment CI generic names are often abbreviated with the usage class N + the hue abbreviation + the serial number. (i.e. NBr 8)
Pigments can be organic or Inorganic. Most modern pigments are given this usage designation by the Color Index. They can be completely synthetic, naturally occurring minerals, or lakes based on the synthetic derivatives of natural dyes. Pigments are designated with C.I. Generic name which consists of the usage class "Pigment" and the basic hue followed by the CI serial number (i.e. Pigment Red 106, Cadmium Red). The pigment CI generic names are often abbreviated with the usage class P + the hue abbreviation + the serial number. (i.e. PR83 for Pigment Red 83)
NY = Natural Yellow;
NO = Natural Orange;
NR = Natural Red;
NV = Natural Violet;
NB = Natural Blue;
NG = Natural Green;
NBr = Natural Brown;
NBk = Natural Black;
NW = Natural White;
PY = Pigment Yellow;
PO = Pigment Orange;
PR = Pigment Red;
PV = Pigment Violet;
PB = Pigment Blue;
PG = Pigment Green;
PBr = Pigment Brown;
PBk = Pigment Black;
PW = Pigment White;
PM = Pigment Metal
The CI (Color Index) Common Pigment Name: Key Top ^ Page Top^
In this database the common name is the name given in the Color Index (third edition, 1997) by the Color Index International published by the Society of Dyers and Colourists and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, and are also used by the ASTM International, American Society for Testing and Materials.
When the Colour Index (3rd edition) has not specified a name, I have used the name that the first manufacturer, inventor or original patent holder has given that pigment. In the case of ancient pigments, historic pigments, minerals or other odd pigments, I have used the most commonly used traditional historic, mineral or chemical name as determined by my research.
Common, Historic and Marketing Names: Key Top ^ Page Top^
These are the various names that have been used for that pigment whether or not it is the correct usage. This is NOT an endorsement of any particular name, but merely a collection of names that are in common usage or have been used in the past according to historic pigment books & references, paint sales literature, and pigment manufacturers references. They have been collected (in order of importance) from
1.) Paint manufacturers, pigment manufacturers and/or other pigment supplier literature;
2.) Various web sites in particular AMIEN.org, Dick Blick Artist Supply, Handprint.com, Kremer Pigments, Natural Pigments, Kama Pigments, Sinopia Pigments, PCImag.com and along with internet forums on art and painting, web sites of paint manufacturers, paint suppliers, chemical manufactures and pigment manufacturers;.
3.) The Color Index, Third edition (published by the Colour Index International, 1997);
4.) Historical books on pigments, oil painting, watercolor painting and other art forms (see Free Art e-Books);
5.) Artist manuals and handbooks (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works);
6.) Various dictionaries and encyclopedias (both historic and contemporary).
When a manufacturer has has used a common historical name for a pigment that is not the accepted traditional historic pigment name and has not clearly indicated it to be a hue or substitute, I have indicated it with the "(hue)"* in parenthesis. For example calling\naming a paint made with Phthalocyanine Blue as "Azure", "Smalt" or "Cobalt Blue".
*In order to stay within ASTM specification D 4302-05, manufactures are encouraged to use the word "hue" when the paint or pigment marketing name is not the real name of a paint or a pigment. Substitute and tone could be also considered acceptable means of indicating a hue substitute for the actual color. However, the ASTM specifications are usually voluntary and there is little means to enforce them. Also because of language differences, changes in the paint or pigments common identification because of contemporary usage (often perpetrated by manufacturer's incorrect color marketing names), and last but not least - the sheer multitude of historically used paint names for any given paint\pigment, it's nearly impossible to prove or say a manufacturer of art materials is being purposely deceptive.
C.I. Constitution Number or Colour Index Constitution Number (chemical composition): Key Top ^ Page Top^
These are the chemical constitution numbers given that pigment by the Color Index International published by the Society of Dyers and Colourists and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, and are also used by the ASTM International, American Society for Testing and Materials. Each of the numbers in the "Colour Index Constitution Number" has a specific chemical or compositional meaning; for more information
see the Colour Index Number Chart or go to the Color Index International and ASTM, American Society for Testing and Materials web sites (these links open in a new window)..
Chemical Composition: Key Top ^ Page Top^
These are the basic chemical names, or mineral names along with chemical composition. I have also included CAS numbers, when I can fine them. Sometimes multiple names are given because chemical names can be stated in different ways and can also give an indication of the manufacture method. Very often a pigment can be a group of related compounds rather than one specific chemical. I have not included detailed chemical descriptions or analyses, but only basic information that should help you to find further information. I have included references designated with "(Ref)" where further information can be attained.
Adulterants, extenders and other additives may be added to artistic paints to improve the paint rheology, transparency, and\or drying time. Often inert pigments, extenders and fillers are added to the color pigments in student grade paints or to modify paint pigments with overly strong tinting strength, i.e. the Phthalocyanine Blues and Greens. These extra ingredients are rarely listed of the label.
Color Description: Key Top ^ Page Top^
This is a general attempt to explain the hue in plain English. The perception of color is as individual as the the people viewing it and any such description can not be completely accurate, but merely give a general idea of the what color looks like to the average person. Many pigments have a range of shades and hues. This range in hues can be due to many things such as different manufacturing processes, exact chemical composition and crystal shape. In most cases, i have not used any of the attempted means of standardizing color descriptions for this (such as the Munsell system), but where the pigment is included in the Color Index International Pigments and Solvent Dyes (The Society of Dyers and Colourists, third edition 1997), I have used that description, when there is no color hue description in the Color Index, I have used other reference sources in particularly manufacturer or supplier literature.
† = Effects of long term light exposure are given when known, this may allow an artist to anticipate color changes and possibly use them as an advantage.
These effects are all relative to the pigments inherent light fastness and may take decades or even centuries in museum conditions to be visible.
Fades = Becomes more Transparent
Lightens = Loses chroma but maintains
relative transparency or opaque character;
Whitens = Becomes lighter towards white and more opaque;
Darkens = Becomes darker but retains hue;
Dulls = Loses chroma towards neutral but maintains the relative tone;
Blackens = Turns very dark or black losing chroma;
Hue shift = Changes hue towards a different color
Opacity - Transparency: Key Top ^ Page Top^
This designation is only a general reference to the most common encountered opacity or transparency inherit to the pigment. In paints, the transparency of a pigment can change due to what is used as the painting medium or binder (i.e., oil color, watercolor, encaustic, acrylic, etc.). There are many pigments that are opaque in watercolor but transparent or semi-transparent in oil paints. The transparency of a paint or pigment can often be manipulated by the manufacturing process for a particular purpose. The addition of inert pigments or other modifiers can also change the perceived transparency of a paint formulation or pigment.
When available, i have used the Color index's designation or manufacturers literature to arrive at this figure. When the Color Index description is unavailable i have arrived at a general figure by manufacturer literature or personal experience. A general designation such as given will not always be the case in any particular formulation.
1 = Opaque,
2 = Semi-Opaque,
3 = Semi-Transparent,
4 = Transparent
Light Fastness Rating: Key Top ^ Page Top^
The light fastness rating can only be a general guide, when available, i have used the ASTM rating or manufacturers literature to arrive at this figure. The ASTM has not rated all pigments, and I believe will no longer be rating pigments. For that reason the rating in this database will not always be the ASTM rating but a rating culled from other sources, most importantly manufactures literature. The ASTM ratings have a 5 increment scale and the blue-wool scale is 8, in this database lightfastness ratings have been condensed or averaged to a less specific 4 designations. Very often, pigments in tints are less light fast and this should be taken into account when determining if a pigment or paint will meet your needs. I can can not cover every possible paint, binder, or pigment formulation in this chart as it would take too much time and space. In particular the quality of the actual pigment manufacture has much influence on a pigments fastness to light, heat and other chemicals. Additives, binder, and many other factors all have a influence on light fastness or fastness to other environmental influences. Whether a paint is watercolor, oil color, tempera, etc. has an effect on light fastness. Varnishes and other treatments to the painting surface or support can have an influence too. The only way to be sure, is to make your own tests on the paint or pigment you have. Reference the following: (ASTM D4303 - 10,
Standard Test Methods for Lightfastness of Colorants Used in Artists' Materials, or ASTM D01.57, the Subcommittee on Artists' Materials doc here, opens new window); or this (AMIEN.org Thread - opens new window). Blue Wool Scale will be given when known, but be aware that these may be from tests on a single formulation, and may not be the same for all brands or binders.
I = Excellent,
II = Good,
III = Poor (may last many years in museum conditions, but should be used with caution for permanent works of art)
IV = Fugitive/Very Poor
BWS = Blue wool scale
7-8 = Excellent,
6 = Very Good,
4-5 = Fair (Impermanent),
2-3 Poor (fugitive),
1 = Very Poor (fugitive)*
*When known, blue wool scale ratings will be given for tints in the following format: Full;1/2 tint/;1/4 tint (i.e. Cadmium Red would be 8;8;8 with excellent light fastness in all tints). Note: these may from tests on a single formulation or pigment brand, and may not be valid for other brands or binders.
Oil Absorption: is given in g/100g or grams of oil per 100 grams of pigment Key Top ^ Page Top^
or as H, M, L (see below)
The oil absorption figure has been arrived at from the pigment manufacturer's literature or artist reference sources (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works). The higher the oil absorption, generally, the longer it will take to dry when used in oil painting. The addition of driers, siccatives, retardants and other additives can effect the drying time of any specific formulation, or they can be added by the artist to speed up or slow down the drying of oil paints. In some literature the oil absorption rate is given as ml/100g, although not technically the same as g/100g, for the purposes of this database they are close enough.
Depending on the specifications i have available I may also use the following designations:
H = High; - These pigments absorb a lot of oil.
M = Medium; - Average drying or cure rate
L = Low; - Usually very fast driers
Toxicity: Key Top ^ Page Top^
Under this heading will be a general designation of a possible hazard. It is assumed intelligent people will use at least ordinary care when handling all paints or pigments. The designation has been arrived at from, in most cases, the manufacturer's literature, art books and art reference works (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works), MSDS sheets, the EPA manual: Environmental Health & Safety in the Arts: A Guide for K-12 Schools, Colleges and Artisans (full PDF here), The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI), The Health and the Arts Program - Great Lakes Centers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (UIC SPH), The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works has a collection of articles on art safety, The Consumer Product Safety Commission's Art and Craft Safety Guide (PDF, 250 KB) and Art Materials Business Guidance
All paints and especially dry pigments can be hazardous if carelessly handled, but, if handled properly with common sense all but the most dangerous pigments can be used safely. Very few pigments used in the arts are edible, and even so called "Food Colors" are not meant to be used in large quantities and may have unknown side effects or allergic reactions.
WARNING: Always use a dust mask when working with any dry pigments. Work in a separate area of your studio away from children, pets or other living things. Do not smoke, eat or drink around any art materials. Dispose of all waste materials in an environmentally safe way.
A = Low hazard, but do not handle carelessly;
B = Possible hazard if carelessly handled, ingested in large amounts or over long periods of time;
C = Hazardous, use appropriate precautions for handling toxic substances;
D = Extremely Toxic, only attempt working with these pigments (especially the dry form) in laboratory like conditions with proper safety equipment (see "Prudent practices in the laboratory: handling and disposal of chemicals" at google books opens new window); or the PDF - Booklet Safe Handling of Colour Pigments Copyright © 1995: BCMA, EPSOM, ETAD, VdMI - link from VdMI
The Side Notes Column: Key Top ^ Page Top^
These are typically interesting things I have read, or information collected on a pigment that may be worth further study. Please remember that they are NOT statements of absolute fact. Many pigment qualities are rumors, old wife's tales and misconceptions repeated over and over until they accepted as fact without any scientific proof. References (Ref) may be provided for further info.
(hue) = When the word "hue" in in parenthesis (hue), it refers to a hue color not designated on the label, when the word "hue" is not in parenthesis is part of the pigment name as per ASTM guidelines.
(Ref) = A link to a reference source. This may be the reference source of the information that I have given, or just a link to more detailed information.
? = a question mark next to a name, note, or data code indicates that it may or may not be correct information due to conflicting information, questionable references, possible typo or other discrepancies in the manufacturer or other reference documentation. Further study is needed to clarify.
|Paint or Pigment Manufacturer Code & Art Medium:***** Key Top ^ Page Top^
|Paint/Pigment Manufacturer Code:
The manufacturer code is to indicate companies that make or supply paints or pigments using the particular pigment. Only those products that are single pigments will be indicated in this database. In a few cases, the Color Index International has listed a mixture of pigments or chemicals under a single color index pigment name or code, and these will also be designated as if they were a single pigment. The codes next to the pigments in above Color of Art Database may take you off sight where you can find more info or even purchase, if you so desire. These codes are not part of any standard, but were made up by me for this database, with purpose of making them as short as possible.
The links below next to the manufacturer code below are to the official manufacturer web site and will open in a new window.
Paint medium or binder code: Key Top ^ Page Top^
Clicking on the paint or pigment manufacturer code next to the pigment name will take you off site where more information can be found. The link will most often take you to an art supplier where you can find more specific art medium or paint binder info, purchasing source, pigment properties, pigment history, MSDS sheets, and whether it is the artist premium or student economy grade. If you find this site helpful you can help support this site by purchasing through these links.
d in italics next to the pigment manufacturer or art supplier code indicates a discontinued pigment or paint.
All other art medium or binder codes in italics mean the pigment under that name is in the "student" or economy grade, not the "artist's" grade paint.
a = Acrylic Paint, heavy body;
ab = Acrylic Airbrush colors;
ad = Aqueous pigment dispersions;
af = Fluid Acrylics;
ag = Matte Acrylic or Acrylic Gouache;
ao = open acrylics or slow drying
k = Alkyd paints;
c = Casein or milk paint;
d = Discontinued
e = Encaustic paints;
g = Traditional water color Gouache;
i = Ink (printing ink or pigmented drawing inks);
o = Oil Paint;
p = Dry Pigment;
t = Artist Professional Tempera or Egg Tempera;
w = Watercolor Paint in tubes;
wp = Watercolor Pan; wp = 1/2 pan, wp(f) = full pan, wp(L) = large pan
wo = Water mixable oil paint or water soluble oil paint.
am = Acrylic medium, may have a wide variety of ingredients or uses
om = Oil painting Medium, may have a wide variety of ingredients or uses
wm = Watercolor Medium, may have a wide variety of ingredients or uses
GEN = Where there is a generally accepted common historic name associated with a pigment, I have used "GEN" to denote the generic or common historical name of a particular pigment.
Other than gouache, only single pigment paints and pigments are included. Gouache is designated distinct from watercolors because it is often mixed with white or additives to make it matte and/or opaque and that is not usually indicated on the paint manufactures literature. Other art material or medium forms such as pastel, oil pastels, oil bars, dyes and ceramic glazes will not be designated with a artists medium or binder code, but may still be listed under the pigment name with a company code.
©2014 by David Myers, All Rights Reserved. Please email me with corrections, additions or comments.
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|Artist Reference Resources:
Historical Artist and Pigment Reference Sources:
This is just a partial list, for a more complete listing of Historical Pigment References see the Free Art Books Page.
- The Industrial and Artistic Technology of Paint and Varnish,
By Alvah Horton Sabin, Published by J. Wiley & Sons, 1904
- The Painters' Encyclopaedia,
By Franklin B. Gardner, Published by M.T. Richardson, 1887
- The Science of Painting,
By Jehan Georges Vibert, Published by P. Young, 1892
- A Treatise on Painting,
By Cennino Cennini, Giuseppe Tambroni, Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Translated by Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Published by Lumley, 1844
- A Treatise on Painting,
By Leonardo Da Vinci, John Francis Rigaud, Published by J.B. Nichols and Son 1835
- The Book of the Art of Cennino Cennini,
By Cennino Cennini, Cennini, Christiana Jane Powell Herringham, Translated by Christiana Jane Powell Herringham, Published by G. Allen & Unwin, ltd., 1899
- The Chemistry of Paints and Painting,
By Arthur Herbert Church, Published by Seeley, 1901
- A Handbook for Painters and Art Students on the Character and Use of Colours,
By William J. Muckley, Published by Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1880
- The Household Cyclopedia,
By Henry Hartshorne 1881
- The Chemistry of Pigments,
By Ernest John Parry, John Henry Coste, Published by Scott, Greenwood, 1902
- Facts about Processes, Pigments and Vehicles: A Manual for Art Student,
By Arthur Pillans Laurie, Published by Macmillan, 1895
- The Manufacture Of Earth Colours:
By DR. JOSEF BERSCH,
translated by CHARLES SALTER,SCOTT, GREENWOOD & SON
, 1921 Link
- Materials for Permanent Painting,
By Maximilian Toch 1911
Modern Pigment and Artist Reference Sources:
- The Artist’s Handbook,
by Pip Seymour, Arcturus Publishing (September 16, 2003)
- The Artist's Handbook, Revised Edition,
Ray Smith; DK Publishing 2003
- The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques,
Third edition, by Ralph Mayer; Viking Press 1979
- Artists' Pigments: Volume 1: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics
Edited by Robert L. Feller
- Artists' Pigments: Volume 2: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics
Edited by Ashok Roy (Oct 2, 1993)
- Artists' Pigments: Volume 3: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics
Edited by Elisabeth West Fitzhugh (Oct 1997)
- Artists' Pigments: Volume 4: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics
Edited by Barbara Berrie (Jun 7, 2007)
- Collins Artist's Colour Manual,
Simon Jennings; HarperCollins Publishers 2003
- Color Index International Pigments and Solvent Dyes,
The Society of Dyers and colourists, third edition 1998
- A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques,
Ralph Mayer, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969
- The Materials and Techniques of Painting,
by Jonathan Stephenson (May 1993)
- The Painter's Handbook,
Mark David Gottsegen; Watson-Guptill Publications 1993
- Painting Materials A Short Encyclopaedia,
by Rutherford J. Gettens and George L. Stout; Dover Publications 1966
- Pigment Compendium,
by Nicholas Eastaugh,
Ruth Siddall; Butterworth Heinemann 2004
Web Resources and Art Suppliers with Excellent Reference Materials:
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC):
National membership organization in the United States dedicated to the preservation of cultural material, establishes and upholds professional standards, promoting research and publications, educational opportunities, and fostering the exchange of knowledge among conservators, allied professionals, and the public.
a resource for artists dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased factual information about artists' materials
- Blick Art Materials;
has done a extremely thorugh job of indicating the pigments used in most of the paints they sell, making the Dick Blick art supply website much more than just a store to purchase paint and art supplies.
Dick Blick also has the MSDS sheets
for of most of the products they sell , making the Blick site a valuble resource for toxicity info and the health and safety of artist materials.
a large and thorough site on pigments, in Finnish http://www.coloria.net/index.htm
- Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online (CAMEO), The Materials Database,
developed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), to be a more comprehensive and well-rounded encyclopedic resource for the art conservation and historic preservation fields. The MATERIALS database contains chemical, physical, visual, and analytical information on over 10,000 historic and contemporary materials used in the production and conservation of artistic, architectural, archaeological, and anthropological materials.
- Conservation OnLine (CoOL):
A freely accessible platform to generate and disseminate vital resources for those working to preserve cultural heritage worldwide.
- The Handprint,com;
site by Bruce MacEvoy has loads of excellent information on watercolor pigments and Has a excellent color wheel showing where the actual pigments are in color space. Truly an awesome site, the site is directed at watercolors, but is a good general reference for any paints or pigments.
Great pigment sight that even includes step by step instructions for making you own pigments.
- The Real Color Wheel;
by Don Jusko is also a great color site.
has a fantastic pigment reference database sorted by the marketing paint color name and brand.
- Health and Safety in the Arts;
A Searchable Database of Health & Safety Information for Artists
- Household Products Database;
Health and safety information on household products from the US Department of Health and Human Services
- Natural Pigments:
One of the best sources of rare natural and historical pigments and information.
- Pigments and their Chemical and Artistic Properties; by Julie C. Sparks, is part of The Painted Word Site. Wonderful stuff.
- Paintmaking.com: By Tony Johansen, Great Paint making site with all types of useful pigment and binder information for the artist.
- PCImag.com; Paint & Coatings Indusry
2010 Additives Handbook by Darlene Brezinski, Dr. Joseph V. Koleske, Robert Springate, June 4, 2010;
A History of Pigment Use in Western Art Part 1;
A History of Pigment Use in Western Art Part 2
- Dick Blick Artist Supply:
Full Range of art supplies at discount prices and has pigment info on most paints they sell
- Kremer Pigmente Europe / Kremer Pigments USA site;
Has a huge amount of pigments and information.
- Earth Pigments:
Specializes in earth pigments.
- Guerra Paint and Pigments:
Many rare and out of production Pigments mostly in aqueous dispersions
Lots of Pigments & info
Health and Safty in the Arts References and Info:
- Art and Craft Safety Guide (PDF, 250 KB)
Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Art Materials Business Guidance
Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Art Safety
Environmental Protection, Health & Safety, California State University at Monterey Bay
- Artist Safety
Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, Oregon Health & Science University
- Environmental Health & Safety in the Arts: A Guide for K-12 Schools, Colleges and Artisans
U. S. Environment Protection Agency
- Exposing Ourselves to Art (PDF, 6.83 MB)
Scott Fields. Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 105, Number 3, March 1997
- Health & Safety Bibliographic Resources and Resource Guides in Art Conservation
CoOL – Conservation Online, Stanford University Libraries
- Health and Safety Guides and Publications
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work
- Art Safety
Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Connecticut College
- Health and the Arts Program
The Occupational Health Service Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Online Health and Safety in the Arts Library
The Occupational Health Service Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health
- Studio Safety
Gamblin Artists Colors