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RED Art Supply Pigment Database Watercolor Acrylic Ink Pencil Color Chart Swatch
Artist reference guide to Red pigments in art supplies. Color chart swatch cards of common colors in watercolor, gouache, acrylic paint and inks. 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 paint properties such as opacity, lifting (erasing with a damp brush), layering (see if the 2nd coat produces a darker value) and the ability to smoothly gradient blend.
Fugitive (LFIV). Found in student and "designer" gouache or watercolor, intended for bright illustrations to be scanned for print reproduction. Shinhan brand from Korea is particularly bad about including pigments prone to fading in their professional watercolor lines.
PR4 Permanent Red R:
PR5 Naphthol Red DK:
Fugitive. Like many red pigments, this color fades when diluted and is not often used in professional paints.
PR9 Naphthol AS Red:
Fugitive pigment that appears to be more durable in masstone and mediums other than watercolor (acrylic, oil). Sometimes used in student or designer gouache.
PR12 Permanent Bordeaux TRR:
PR19 Arylide Maroon:
An obsolete synthetic organic pigment (azomethine) no longer in production. You may find PR19 listed as a typo in brands like White Nights, where PV19 is the actual ingredient. This is likely a confusion due to the fact that PV19 can look red in color, but has a violet color index assignment number based on it's chemical ingredient group.
PR23 Naphthol Red Dark:
Fugitive, used in cheap bargain sets. Fades within several weeks of UV exposure (LFV).
PR48:1 Permanent Red BB [FIAT]:
Fugitive (LFIV). Rare pigment used in student grade and bright "designers" paints.
PR48:4 Permanent Red 2B:
PR57:1 Lithol Rubine:
PR63:1 Lithol Bordeaux:
PR83 Alizarin Crimson:
Fugitive. Rated LFIV in watercolor, this rose-red has moderate fading in masstone and is highly fugitive when diluted. You can find Alizarin Crimson "Permanent" Hues in brands like Winsor and Newton, which combine a much more stable PV19 with PR206 mixture. Lightfast colors like PR122 Magenta, PR254 Winsor Red, PR209 Quin Red and deep red browns like Brown Madder PR206 or Perylene Maroon may be helpful with florals as well.
PR83:1 Synthetic Alizarin Lake:
PR101 Synthetic Iron Oxide Red:
PR102 Natural Red Iron Oxide:
PR103 Chrome Red and Orange:
Lead chromate is toxic - avoid dust and spray. Lightfastness is not rated. Historically lead pigments have generally proven to be lightfast, but suffer from discoloration when exposed to sulfides. Sealing / varishing may preserve the color when watercolor was used, but overall durability is improved when used as an acrylic or oil paint. The Chrome Red variant is heavily granulating, similar in both hue and texture to Cadmium Red Deep or Bordeaux versions of PR108. Chrome Orange is much smoother, stronger and similar to Cadmium Red Light or Vermilion shade of PR108. These are very strong pigments, a little goes a long way. Red Lead Chromate PR103 C.I. #77601 can be a dark brick red to a vibrant orange-red. It has had many fanciful names over the years such as Midnight Sun, American Vermilion, Australian or Austrian Cinnabar.
PR106 Vermilion Genuine / Cinnabar Natural:
LFI-III* - Darkens. Toxic, handle with care and do not spray apply. Historically significant, used in many master oil paintings (Vermilion PR106 and Red Lead PR103 have been found in the works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Bosch, Matisse, Raphael, Degas etc.) and is still used in Chinese brush painting today. It is often formed into a wax for the red imprint from a carved-stone seal (artists name, poetry or mark as a signature on Chinese paintings). Chinese Vermilion or Natural Cinnabar is made from Mercuric Sulfide. It can be synthetically produced via sublimation (solid to gas) of mercury and sulfur or found naturally as a mineral near a volcano. *Lightfastness of this pigment varies, or rather the discoloration of it does, as it is prone to darkening when left exposed to atmospheric sulfides and possibly other chemical interactions. This means that it can be fugitive in watercolor and stable in oil/acrylic where it has been given a waterproof sealer. It is not always possible to preserve the color in watercolor (even when immediately sealing / varnishing the painting) because this color is quick to begin darkening while in the tube/pan in a gum arabic binder. It is believed that impurities in the sulfides used or the addition of lead in the manufacturing of PR106 may result in drastic instabilities, causing this pigment to darken quickly. Ranges from a brighter red similar to Cadmium PR108 to an earthy orange-brown like Red Iron Oxide PR101. Opaque, slightly granulating. Due to its toxicity and color instability, I generally prefer PR108 Cadmium Red as an alternative. PR106 is mainly used for restoration work, historical pigment studies or print reproduction. Still offered by a few paint makers including Paul Rubens, Super Vision, and Prodigal Son's in watercolor form, or from Michael Harding in oil paint.
PR108 Cadmium Red:
Lightfast, opaque, slightly toxic.
PR112 Napthol Red AS-D:
Fugitive. This pigment is particularly prone to fading in mixtures, tints or diluted.
PR122 Quinacridone Magenta: An ideal primary mixing color, highly useful in creating vibrant purples when combined with PB15 and dynamic color separating mixtures with PG18 and PB29. This color is typically lightfast with independent studies from myself and Handprint rating it as LFI / BW7-8 in many brands. You may see LFIII ratings due to a single older ASTM test from 1999 that appears to be an error or anomaly. I have never seen any of the following swatched brands fade in any of my window tests in masstone or diluted ranges. However, there is potential for extremely diluted washes, or tints (such as when a small % of PR122 is mixed with PW6 to create a pale pastel pink) to fade slightly when exposed to direct sunlight for longer than 6 months. Note that Sennelier has self-rated their Helios Purple as 3 of 3 stars (and it is indeed LFI) yet they mention the ASTM LFIII rating as well. This may appear as conflicting information for those unaware of the error in the established ASTM rating. Top pick in my personal palette, see my FAVORITE LIGHTFAST PIGMENTS LIST.
PR123 Perylene Scarlet:
PR144 Azo Condensation Red:
PR146 Naphthol Red AS:
PR166 Azo Condensation Red:
PR168 Anthradquinone Scarlet:
PR170 Naphthol Red AS:
Fugitive. Fairly stable in masstone, but drastic fading when diluted. Particularly a problem in tints, such as when mixed with PW6 in White Night's pastel color "Rose Quartz".
PR171 Benzimidazolone Bordeaux:
PR175 Benzimidazolone Red HFT:
PR176 Benzimidazolone Carmine:
PR177 Anthraquinone Red:
FUGITIVE - Warning, this color is often labeled LFI and recommended to artists as a replacement for Alizarin Crimson PR83. This color is more stable in masstone only, but actually fades when diluted more quickly than PR83.
Used in the popular mixture called "Moonglow" by Daniel Smith which fades badly due to such a small diluted amount of PR177 in it. If you're looking for alternative ways to recreate Moonglow, I've made a video about that:
PR178 Perylene Red:
PR179 Perylene Maroon:
PR184 Permanent Rubine F6G:
PR187 Permanent Pink FL:
PR188 Napthol Scarlet Lake:
PR202 Quinacridone Crimson:
PR206 Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet: A good replacement for fugitive Alizarin Crimson PR83 or Anthra Red PR177 in mixtures with PV19 to replicate floral rose reds. PR206 goes by several names including Brown Madder, Quin Burnt Scarlet and "Permanent" Alizarin in brands like Sennelier and Jackson's. While this color was difficult to scan properly, the Winsor and Newton Permanent Alizarin is a decent match for this popular color. All of my tests have shown it to be a very reliable LFI to LFII (unlike the LFIV level fading seen in PR83 and PR177 when diluted). Smooth, staining, red-brown with strong mixing strength. Makes a good alternative to PO48 in the creation of Quin Gold hues with PY150.
PR207 Quinacridone Scarlet:
PR209 Quinacridone Red: A useful red for florals and mixing with other colors, particularly for recreating dupes of Daniel Smith's Moonglow and Roman Szmal's Misty Morning (see my favorite lightfast pigments page for mixing examples). This color can look like a warm red when used side by side with cool Magenta PR122 or Permanent Rose PV19. It looks cool when next to warmer reds like Winsor Red PR254 and Cadmium PR101. It is often easy to spot in a sea of reds because of its tendency to dilute into a punchy coral pink color. LFI-II with very little to no fading after one year in window UV tests. A very subtle shift in extremely diluted range after prolonged direct sunlight (year +) is the reason it often carries a LFII rating. Some brands label PR209 as LFI, but I have not noticed any variances in actual LF test results between brands at this time.
PR233 Chrome Tin Pink (Potter's Pink):
PR242 Disazo Condensation Scarlet:
PR254 Pyrrole Red:
PR255 Pyrrole Scarlet:
PR259 Ultramarine Pink:
PR264 Pyrrole Red Rubine:
PR290 Sicopal Red EH2370 (BASF):
AKA Ginger Red Rudy. This new pigment was created for industrial use, as a red-leaning alternative to iron oxides for outdoor paint with excellent lightfastness. It has recently been introduced for the first time as watercolor paint by Roman Szmal in 2022. I will be lightfast testing it to verify if this pigment performs well in diluted tints and any manufacturers ratings of LFI/BW7-8 should not yet be assumed for watercolor (likely tested in other mediums).
NR9 Madder Lake:
NR31 Dragon's Blood:
Garnet Genuine: A rare mineral
Quinacridone Scarlet PRN/A: This modern pigment is likely a custom blend of DPP and Quinacridones and has not yet received a C.I.# (color index pigment code number assigment based on its chemical group). Quinacridone Scarlet is available from Roman Szmal as watercolor and has been given an LFI / BW8 rating from the manufacturer. Since this pigment has not been extensively tested in diluted watercolor form, I would not accept their word about the blue wool scale 8 max lightfastness and will be testing this color over the course of 2022.
Red Fuchsite Genuine: This red mineral is rarely used in paint making and I could only find it offered by Daniel Smith. There is a subtle sparkle effect, similar to coarse pearl mica PW20 with an underlying brick red similar to English Red PR101.
Red Jasper Genuine: A rare mineral.
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 primarily purchase my art supplies online at Jackson's or Blick art materials.
I use affiliate links 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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