Colour Names vs Pigments

Primary Magenta and Process Magenta.

Spot the difference?

The small print on the labels tells us: PR 122 and PV 19.

Looking up the numbers tells me: quinacridone magenta and quinacridone rose.

Depending where you are on your colour journey, this may or may not be useful information.

The good news is all you really need to know is that one’s a red (R) pigment, the other a violet (V) so, besides the difference in colour as you see it, they’ll do different things when mixed.

Handprint says: “Because it is warmer than a typical magenta, quinacridone rose creates clean, bright mixtures across the red to yellow span of a color wheel. Its violets are not as bright as those mixed from quinacridone magenta, but I find this creates a more natural color when the mixtures are used for shadows.

For me the two feel like Rosa rugosa flowers (“pink-pink”) vs its rosehips (“red-pink”), which I can’t find a photo of right now.

At Patchings Art Festival last month I was very encouraged by the number of conversations where “single pigment colours” and “pigment numbers” weren’t met with blank looks.

3 Replies to “Colour Names vs Pigments”

  1. I have ended up with some unexpected colours when mixing the FW inks. Now I have the answer – read the label and refer to my pigment information

  2. My excuse is the tiny little colour square you see when buying colours online makes you just go with the names 😉

  3. I agree. names can be confusing. SAA have a ‘rogue’ permanent rose in their range of watercolours, the pigment used for it is bon arylamide PR488.2 which is used in Winsor red. It is rather different from the PV19 used in Winsor and Newton’s permanent rose.

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