How to Choose the Right Colors to Mix

I use FC watercolor pencils. I want to get realistic looking grades of color between parts of the picture, so that sails on ships have realistic changes. I have watched the VT videos Mark discusses but every time, he just says which color he switches to to make the change to a darker blend. But I don’t have those pencils that he has.

How do I choose which ones to use? I could just trial an error the sketches and wait until I get the version I like, then use that combination on the final workpiece (and I am sure with experience, it will all become natural for me), but I would like to be able to choose the right color or at least a close one from the get-go. Is there a Rule of Thumb for seeing the blue shade in the pink donut? (I’m watching the pink donut video right now).

Any advice or experiences in this are welcome.


Hi Bill,

I haven’t used water color pencils in forever. I use pastels. I always have leftover scraps of paper nearby to grab to test my colors on. Saved me lots of headache. Maybe this is something you could try.

Great. I will have to try this out. I have tons of scrap paper from projects, all different kinds of tooth in the paper, so I can test how it works. I think that is going to be my only method.

Primarily I was concerned with trying to emulate Mark on the videos and not having the color he says he is using. Maybe just find something similar in my pencils?

Using pastels and colored pencils, I am often substituting colors from what I see in reference photo. I believe if your values are correct, you will get a pleasing outcome with a similar color.