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ORANGE Art Supply Pigment Database Watercolor Acrylic Ink Pencil Color Chart Swatch
Artist reference guide to Orange pigments in art supplies. Color chart swatch cards of common pigments in watercolor, gouache, acrylic. Includes lightfast or fugitive information, index by pigment number code, brand, manufacturer color name, how the color appears in masstone (full strength) or diluted (with water). Each image displays the ability to paint a gradient, opacity, lifting (erasing with a damp brush), and layering (a second coat after the first has dried, which shows if a darker value is possible).
PO13 Benzidine Orange: Rated as LFIII, but is extremely fugitive with dramatic immediate (LFIV-V) fading in tints/diluted when exposed to sunlight (can fade indoors from nearby window lighting). Available in cheap bargain or student grade paints, designer gouache and brands with a bright color illustration focus like Shinhan. PO73 Pyrrol Orange would be a good alternative for PO13. Pyrrol is offered in very similar hues, also has extremely strong mixing strength, a vivid orange masstone and far superior lightfastness.
PO16 Benzidine Orange: Red shade. Fugitive, this color quickly fades with UV exposure (weeks) and by 1 year may completely disappear in art hung indoors near window lighting (extremely sensitive to sunrise/sunset beams). Mainly offered in cheap student sets or "designer" colors.
PO20 Cadmium Orange: Extremely lightfast and staining. Opaque. Slightly toxic, avoid excess handling or inhaling spray/splattered paint.
PO34 Pyrazolone Orange: Not rated. LFII-IV fluctuating results reported online, confirmed as fugitive in my independent tests. Significant fading in diluted/tints, it may be more stable in masstone oil/acrylic. Staining. Rarely offered pigment. Single pigment watercolor made by Old Holland is called "Scheveningen Red Scarlet". It looks like this is another case where the pigment rating was copied from masstone results (full strength/thick swatch, likely performed in another medium) despite the color being known to perform much worse in tints/diluted (extremely important for watercolor washes). Both PO20 and PO73 would be much more lightfast, yet similarly strong, orange replacements.
PO43 Perinone Orange:
Darkens. LFII, minor fading over long periods of UV exposure. Rarely used pigment. Has an orange glowing fluorescent effect under black light.
PO48 Quinacridone Burnt Orange: Rated LFI, this lightfast color is transparent, staining and often used in combination with PY150 Nickel Azo Yellow as a way to replicate the old discontinued "Quin Gold" P049. Often used to tone down Phthalo Blues or Greens into realistic foliage greens.
PO49 Quinacridone Gold: Lightfast (LFI-II). Transparent, staining, brown leaning orange with wet to dry shift (desaturation). This pigment has been discontinued by most manufacturers worldwide. In 2001 the automotive industry demand for this color waned. This was partially due to this color falling out of fashion on vehicles and home appliances, but also due to the expense compared to similar hues (such as the much cheaper Transparent Red Iron Oxide PR101). PO49 was created using a proprietary chemical process where other quins (such as PV19 and PR206) were co-precipitated. Unlike multi-pigment mixtures where two colors are simply mixed together in a vat or on a palette, PO49's blend was created via oxidation of dihydroquinacridone. It was treated to produce molecular bonds of mixed crystal phase Quinacridone & Quinacridonequinone. Due to differences in the way each manufacturer processed their version of this pigment, you may see PO49 lean more towards orange vs yellow. See swatch cards for bright light scans, or the photo comparison in room light, to get an idea of the brownish-orange vs golden yellow ochre-like versions.
Daniel Smith had purchased enough pigment to continue producing PO49 watercolor throughout 2005-2015. Third party sellers with remaining stock became very hard to find by 2018. You may still find PO49 in extremely limited quantity from vintage stock, such as the pigment dispersion (liquid state) offered by Guerra Pigment USA (and turned into watercolor pans by mixing with gum arabic from handmade brands on Etsy - such as Prodigal Son's). Some pigment suppliers in China still claim to manufacture PO49, but it is extremely difficult to obtain outside of China and I'm skeptical of the authenticity. Paul Rubens and Superior brands have labeled some fugitive colors as containing "PO49" (but fading in sunlight proves those to be typos or very poor quality imitations of the genuine lightfast pigment).
PO49 has been replaced in most paint catalogs with "Quin Gold HUE" (hue meaning look-alike). This is usually a multi-pigment mixture containing Nickel Azo Yellow PY150 + Quin Burnt Orange/Brown PO48 to mimic PO49. Quin Brown/Madder PR206 has also been used in Quin Gold Hues (as seen in Winsor and Newton's watercolor, until it was changed to Perylene Maroon PR179 in 2022). Sadly, PR206 and PO48 have also been discontinued by the largest pigment manufacturers. Several paint companies have stocked up on a couple-year supply of PO48 and PR206 (check Schmincke or Roman Szmal), but you can expect supply to dwindle over time. Many brands have fully run out of PO48 and PR206 stock as of 2021 (goodbye discontinued colors by Golden, Liquitex, W&Newton). Some have begun creating Quin Gold HUES with PY150 + PR101 (or PY150 + PR179 instead). Caution: some variants of Perylene PR179 are being discontinued as well, so Transparent Red Iron Oxide PR101 is the most reliably available alternative to PO49. When DIY mixing your own PO49 replica, ideally mix your chosen reddish-brown with PY150 for the most convincing dupe (see Nickel Azo Yellow mixture swatch cards for many brands of Quin Gold Hues).
PO64 Benzimidazolone Orange: Depending on the brand this color has been rated very highly as LFI to LFII, ***(3/3 stars), ****(4/5 stars) or BW7-8 (which appears to apply to masstone only). Warning - this pigment is actually FUGITIVE! The fading is fast and dramatic when diluted or in tints. Pale watercolor washes will actually fully disappear off the paper as if they were never painted! This complete fading can be seen in about 5 to 9 months of window testing, but signs of visible fading happens within just a few weeks.
It appears that several major paint makers took the pigment manufacturer's word for it and passed along overly positive lightfast ratings to the artist (without verifying it themselves). Schmincke, Rembrandt, Roman Szmal and White Nights all rates it high yet all of them fade in 3 weeks to 3 months of UV exposure (compared to over 1 year of stability in normal BW8 / LFI rated colors).
PO65 Benzimidazolone Orange:
Rare pigment I was only able to find in Old Holland watercolor. Lightfast. Slightly more orange-leaning than most PR101 Transparent Red Iron Oxides. A useful skin and landscape color.
PO67 Pyrazoloquinazolone Orange:
Opaque, LFII-III, reported to darken with sun exposure. This color is very similar to red-leaning Cadmium Orange PO20 or PY35+PR108 mixtures. I prefer the reliable durability of Cadmiums, which is also opaque and may also be easier to find.
PO68 Sandorin Orange: Lightfastness is poor. Fading drastically in just weeks. Likely an inexpensive alternative to undisclosed ingredient kids bargain sets or as an Opera Pink in student grade paint sets.
PO71 Pyrrole Orange:
PO72 Hostaprint Orange H4GL 32:
PO73 Pyrrol Orange: Rated as LFI this color is very stable UNLESS left in repeat UV exposure (daily, for months) where it begins to fade in diluted form. This pigment is highly staining.
PO82 Sicopal Orange (BASF):
AKA Chrome Orange Hue. This modern pigment was made for industrial use and has been turned into watercolor paint by Roman Szmal in 2022. This dull, semi-transparent orange has a much lower chroma than cadmiums or pyrrols. It acks the dark value range of more transparent oranges, performing similarly to a very warm yellow ochre. It has been given a LFI / BW8 max lightfastness rating from the manufacturer, likely in uses other than watercolor. I will make a note in the future if any issues arise in my independent testing over the course of 2022.
PO107 OR DPP - Diketo Pyrollo Pyrrole:
Modern pigment, limited availability. Two brands make watercolor using this pigment - Winsor and Newton Transparent Orange and Roman Szmal Aquarius Orange. Transparent Orange is now marked as DPP (not P0107 as was initially labeled during a limited edition run from W&N). This is because (as of 2021) there has still yet to be a pigment code number assigned to this chemical variant of DPP. It appears that the chemical manufacturer has not paid to register it with the ASTM organization, but this may change in the future.
Note that there are many DPP types that vary slightly (such as PO71 and PO73) but this one has slightly better UV durability in the diluted range. Despite DPP being a broad chemical term that may have multiple pigment codes (and is sometimes specially combined with quinacridones for hybrid pigments) I believe artists are better served by having "DPP" written on the label compared to no information at all. This gives us some insight into the base ingredients and familiarity with similar chemicals instead of labeling it "PO N/A". I've requested Roman Szmal consider updating this vague label for us, but this pigment may receive an official code in the future before other labeling changes happen.
Superbly transparent dark orange that is lovely for layering/glazing. Lightfast (no major fading at one year window test). There is very slight desaturation/minor fading in long term tints, but this is well within a LFI-LFII rating even in tints. This form of DPP is unusually lightfast for a red-orange pigment. Trusty cadmiums are more lightfast, but just too opaque to be used the same way. I would avoid Cadmium Free Orange by W&N though, that one is terribly fugitive (see above LF test). In general red and red-orange pigments fade more often than other colors, since this end of the spectrum absorbs more UV. Overall I feel most DPP varieties are an acceptably stable choice if you prefer a single pigment orange on your palette vs mixing red and yellow.
Swatch card template available for download here, or get the rubber stamp here. Swatch cards were painted on Legion Black or Arches Cold Press 100% cotton watercolor paper. Paper and brushes are available at Jackson's or Amazon here:
I purchase most of my paints at Jackson's or Blick art materials online.
These affiliate links are to places I have purchased my art materials. When available I'll include multiple reputable stores so you can compare and decide where you'd like to shop. Dick Blick ("DB" links below) is a large art supply chain store here in the USA that ships worldwide. Jackson's ("Jack" links below) is a great UK based art supply store which also ships worldwide, but carries some harder to find European products with quick low cost shipping to the USA. Amazon USA ("Ama" links below) often offers unique brands, including small business and Chinese off brand watercolor sets, that can not be found anywhere else. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Arches 100% cotton cold press 140# watercolor paper is one of the most durable surfaces for technical pen, scrubbing and lifting. It's surface sizing (coating) and texture is a good middle ground compared to the extremes of different brands. Due to these traits, and it being around for long enough to be the most commonly recommended paper for professionals, all of my swatches are done on this paper for consistency. Only white (and mica paints that do not show up on white) use the Legion Black paper instead. I buy my arches paper at Blick, and if you are in the USA this is likely the most affordable place to buy it:https://shrsl.com/2765w
Alpha by brand shopping directory:
Daniel Smith watercolors -- available onDB,JackorAma.
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