the complete palette

This page is a complete listing of the over one hundred distinct pigments currently used in watercolors and serves as an index to the pigments listed in the guide to watercolor pigments.

Excluding iridescent or pearlescent pigments, fluorescent pigments or dyes, and the unique mineral complexes used in the Daniel Smith PrimaTek™ paints, nearly every watercolor manufactured in 2010 was made with pigments in this list, and their importance in all areas of drawing and painting has not changed.

Pigments are organized into 27 color categories around artist's color wheel. Each category includes the currently used watercolor pigments for that color, and suggests a single pigment watercolor paint (by name and manufacturer) that represents the pigment's unique attributes.

When a pigment under a single color index name is available as one or more distinct colors, two paints are listed that illustrate the pigment's range. If the color range is extremely large (cadmium yellow, iron oxide), it is listed in all the color categories that describe it.

Different typefaces are used for the pigment or paint names, as follows:

cobalt bluehighly recommended pigment
cobalt turquoisereliable and permanent pigment
alizarin crimsonunreliable or fugitive pigment
quinacridone golddiscontinued pigment
permanent greenconvenience mixture (2 or more pigments)

All the highly recommended pigments are lightfast, versatile, and handle well in watercolors. They include (but are not limited to) the paints most often chosen by most watercolor painters, and most of them are available in most watercolor paint lines. Note that this group includes several exceptional pigments that have not yet become widely popular or are only offered by a single watercolor paint manufacturer.

Pigments fall into four basic categories: natural inorganic, synthetic inorganic, natural organic, and synthetic organic. Nearly all pigments in common use today are synthetic, and the majority of those are organic. Typically all pigments within a chemical category such as "quinacridone" or "naphthol" have similar lightfastness and color characteristics.

Manufacturer and paint catalog numbers indicate paints that were actually tested in the guide to watercolor pigments. Many paints have been discontinued or reformulated since this guide was compiled, and many new pigments, especially in mineral compounds and ceramic colorants, have been devised since 2008. Despite that, most of the pigments listed here define pigment categories of high quality. In the future, environmental costs of production are likely to make some pigments, including the cadmiums, less popular.

The location of the 27 color categories is summarized as a color wheel diagram called a palette scheme. The palette scheme below shows the hue and chroma positions of the 27 color categories on the artist's color wheel. High chroma colors are located on the rim of the circle, unsaturated or "earth" colors are located inside it. The denser spacing of color categories within the magenta to yellow or "warm" section of the circle indicates a larger number of pigments and finer color differences in that part of the hue range.

palette scheme for the complete palette

click on a palette scheme anywhere it appears to see a key identifying the color categories symbolized by each diamond

Palette schemes are used throughout this site to illustrate the selection of paints in artists' palettes, hue contrasts in different color harmonies, the location of hues in hue circles, and so on.



green yellow
orange yellow
yellow orange
red orange
orange red
deep red
violet red
red violet
blue violet
violet blue
green blue
blue green
yellow green
earth yellow
earth orange
earth red
white, gray & black

1. Click on the palette scheme anywhere it appears (including here) to see a key identifying the color category symbolized by each colored diamond.

2. Click on a color diamond in that key to go to that color category in the table below.

3. Click on the color index name of any pigment in the table, and you will jump to the analysis of that pigment in the guide to watercolor pigments.

4. Click on the hue description for a pigment in the guide to watercolor pigments, and you will return to this table, where you can find other pigments available in the same hue range.

Color Index NamePigment Name(s)Paint Brand & Number

green yellow
PY3hansa yellow lightDaniel Smith 070
PY35cadmium lemonWinsor & Newton 080
PY129copper azomethine greenRobert Doak ---
PY175benzimidazolone yellow [lemon]Winsor & Newton 211
PY184bismuth yellowWinsor & Newton 222
PG7+PY42olive greenWinsor & Newton 033
PG10nickel azomethine greenDaniel Smith 037
PY97+PG36permanent green yellowishMaimeriBlu 338
PY1arylide yellow GBlockx 212
PY34chrome yellowWinsor & Newton
PY35cadmium yellow pale
cadmium yellow
Winsor & Newton 087
M. Graham 060
PY40aureolinWinsor & Newton 063
PY53nickel titanate yellowDaniel Smith 061
PY74hansa brilliant yellowDa Vinci ---
PY97hansa yellow mediumDaniel Smith 039
PY117copper azomethine greenHolbein 046
PY120benzimidazolone yellow [middle]Old Holland 014
PY129copper azomethine greenWinsor & Newton 217
PY138quinophthalone yellowRowney Artists 014
PY151benzimidazolone yellow [pale]M. Graham 018
PY154benzimidazolone yellow [pale]Winsor & Newton 058
PY159zirconium praesodymium silicateWinsor & Newton 348
orange yellow
PY65hansa yellow deepDaniel Smith 031
PY83diarylide yellow HROld Holland 015
PY108anthrapyrimidine yellowDaniel Smith 024
PY150nickel azomethine yellowDaniel Smith 108
PY153nickel dioxine yellowDaniel Smith 020
PY216titanium zinc antimony stannateWinsor & Newton 649
NY24genuine gambogeWinsor & Newton 069

yellow orange
PO20cadmium yellow orangeBlockx 312
PY35cadmium yellow deepWinsor & Newton 086
PY110isoindolinone yellow RDaniel Smith 133
PY139isoindoline yellowMaimeriBlu 114
PY153+PO62indian yellowWinsor & Newton 319
PO20cadmium orangeM. Graham 038
PO62benzimidazolone orangeDaniel Smith 212
MaimeriBlu 110
red orange
PO5beta naphthol scarletLukas 1099
PO20cadmium red orangeBlockx 321
PO34disazopyrazolone orangeLukas 1088
PO36benzimidazolone scarletArt Spectrum W11
PO43perinone orangeMaimeriBlu 125
Daniel Smith 014
PO67pyrazoloquinazolone orangeOld Holland 145
PO69isoindoline orangeOld Holland 018
PO71pyrrole orangeSchmincke 218
PO73pyrrole orangeDaniel Smith 126
PR108cadmium red orangeHolbein 216

orange red [spectrum red]
PR48beta oxynaphtholic acid scarletHolbein 225
PR106vermilion [mercuric sulfide]Blockx 320
PR108cadmium scarlet
cadmium red light
Winsor & Newton 006
Holbein 214
PR112naphthol AS-D redM. Graham 120
PR168anthraquinone scarletOld Holland 151
PR188naphthol AS scarletWinsor & Newton 044
PR242disazo condensation scarletSennelier 675
PR251pyrazoloquinazolone scarletSchmincke 361
PR255pyrrole scarletDaniel Smith 084
Note: "Spectrum" red pigments (those that contain no blue reflectance) are indicated with an asterisk (*). See the sample reflectance curves here.
PR3beta naphthol red*Blockx 225
PR9naphthol AS red*Lukas 1097
PR108cadmium red*Winsor & Newton 082
PR149perylene scarlet*Daniel Smith 044
PR170naphthol AS red*Rowney Artists 509
PR209quinacridone redM. Graham 155
PR214disazo condensation red*Old Holland 024
PR254pyrrole redMaimeriBlu 263
PR260isoindoline scarlet*Old Holland 148
deep red
Note: "Spectrum" red pigments (those that contain no blue reflectance) are indicated with an asterisk (*). See the sample reflectance curves here.
PR23naphthol AS carmine*Holbein 210
PR83alizarin crimsonWinsor & Newton 002
PR108cadmium red deep*
cadmium red*
MaimeriBlu 232
M. Graham 040
PR170naphthol AS red*Daniel Smith 093
PR176benzimidazolone carmineDaniel Smith 094
PR177anthraquinone redMaimeriBlu 253
PR178perylene redDaniel Smith 029
PR179perylene maroonDaniel Smith 002
PR216pyranthrone red deepHolbein 023
PR264pyrrole crimsonDaniel Smith 127
PR N/Aquinacridone pyrrolidone [carmine]Winsor & Newton 226
PV19quinacridone redDaniel Smith 056
PV29perylene violetWinsor & Newton 470
violet red [magenta]
PR60disazo lakeHolbein 002
PR122quinacridone magentaWinsor & Newton 229
PR171benzimidazolone maroonDaniel Smith 039
PR202quinacridone magentaDaniel Smith 073
PV19quinacridone violetM. Graham 158
PV19quinacridone roseWinsor & Newton 075
M. Graham 156
PV32benzimidazolone bordeauxDaniel Smith 008
PV42quinacridone pinkDaniel Smith 013
NR9rose madder genuineWinsor & Newton 090
NR4cochineal (carmine)Sennelier 637

red violet
PR88thioindigo violetWinsor & Newton 231
PV14cobalt violet deepHolbein 110
Rowney Artists 417
PV15ultramarine redDaniel Smith 052
PV16manganese violetDaniel Smith 038
PV49cobalt violet lightDaniel Smith 088
PR259ultramarine pinkM. Graham 192
PV14cobalt violet deepHolbein 110
Daniel Smith 030
PV15ultramarine violet [RS]Winsor & Newton 221
PV23dioxazine violetWinsor & Newton 213
blue violet
PB29+PV15ultramarine violet [BS] M. Graham 193
PB60indanthrone blueDaniel Smith 018
PV39triphenylmethane violetSennelier 903

violet blue
PB29ultramarine blue
french ultramarine
ultramarine blue deep
M. Graham 190
Winsor & Newton 068
Holbein 094
PB29ultramarine blue GSWinsor & Newton 220
PB72cobalt blue deepRowney Artists 116
PB73cobalt blue deepWinsor & Newton 233
PB74cobalt blue deepOld Holland 038
PB15:1phthalocyanine blue RSWinsor & Newton 208
PB15:3phthalocyanine blue
phthalocyanine blue GS
M. Graham 140
Winsor & Newton 207
PB27iron [prussian] blueDaniel Smith 036
Winsor & Newton 003
PB28cobalt blueM. Graham 090
PB35cerulean blue RSHolbein 092
Winsor & Newton 065
green blue
PB15:3+PG7green blueMaimeriBlu 409
PB16phthalocyanine turquoiseMaimeriBlu 350
PB17phthalocyanine cyanHolbein 101
PB33manganese blueBlockx 250
PB36cerulean blue GSDaniel Smith 065
M. Graham 080
PB36cobalt turquoiseWinsor & Newton 078
PG50cobalt teal blueUtrecht 166

blue green
PG7phthalocyanine green
phthalocyanine green BS
M. Graham 150
Winsor & Newton 209
PG18viridianWinsor & Newton 077
PG19cobalt zinc oxideRowney Artists 324
PG26cobalt chromateSchmincke 533
PG50cobalt titanate [BS]Winsor & Newton 067
PG7+PY3permanent greenDaniel Smith 022
PG36phthalocyanine green YSWinsor & Newton 210
PG50cobalt titanate YS
cobalt green light
Winsor & Newton 234
MaimeriBlu 316
yellow green
PG7+PY150hooker's greenRembrandt 623
PG23terre verteBlockx 161
Winsor & Newton 048
permanent green lightDaniel Smith 047
MaimeriBlu 339
PG7+PO49sap greenDaniel Smith 043
PG7+PY3phthalo yellow greenDaniel Smith 124
PG8hooker's greenUtrecht 163
PG17chromium oxide greenWinsor & Newton 072
PG36+PO49hooker's greenWinsor & Newton 202

Note on "earth" colors. Traditionally, a large number of unsaturated warm or green pigments were extracted from natural clays mined throughout Europe and the Middle East. In modern watercolors these natural pigments are often replaced by mixtures of many different synthetic iron oxide pigments, many of them manufactured as concrete colorants or wood and leather stains. However, these are still referred to as "earths" in the art materials literature, and the term "hue" is routinely omitted by paint manufacturers from paint marketing names. This section includes natural iron oxides pigments, synthetic iron oxides, and synthetic organic pigments that have the same dull or near neutral color appearance: compare the chroma of pigments in the orange and earth orange hue categories, for example.

earth yellow
PBr7raw siennaDaniel Smith 197
M. Graham 160
PBr24chrome titanate yellowWinsor & Newton 203
PO49quinacridone goldDaniel Smith 096
naples yellowHolbein 232
Blockx 115
PY42gold ochre
mars yellow

transparent yellow oxide
Winsor & Newton 059
Daniel Smith 060
Daniel Smith 121
PY43yellow ochreWinsor & Newton 216
earth orange
PBr7burnt siennaDaniel Smith 198
M. Graham 020
PR101burnt sienna
transparent red oxide
Winsor & Newton
Daniel Smith 020
PBr11magnesium ferriteDaniel Smith 019
PO48quinacridone orangeDaniel Smith 091
PO49+PR209quinacridone siennaDaniel Smith 095
PR102burnt yellow ochreOld Holland 059
PY119zinc magnesium ferriteHolbein 328
Winsor & Newton 381
earth red
PO65methin nickel complexOld Holland 136
PR101venetian red [mars red]Winsor & Newton 051
PR101indian redUtrecht 006
PR101mars brownOld Holland 346
PR101+PY42light redWinsor & Newton 029
PR175benzimidazolone redDaniel Smith 046
PR206quinacridone maroonDaniel Smith 007
PR233chrome aluminum stannateWinsor & Newton 537
brown [dark earth hue]
PBr6van dyke brownM. Graham 194
PBr7raw umberDaniel Smith 041
Winsor & Newton 554
PBr7burnt umberM. Graham 030
PBr25benzimidazolone brownDaniel Smith 032
PBr33zinc iron chromiteSchmincke 041
PBr41disazo condensation brownSchmincke 648
PR101transparent brown oxideDaniel Smith 129
PR101caput mortuum
mars violet
Winsor & Newton 215
Daniel Smith 102

PW4zinc whiteWinsor & Newton 011
PW6titanium white
buff titanium white
Winsor & Newton 206
Daniel Smith 015
PBk10powdered graphiteDaniel Smith 010
PBk19+PW4+PBk6davy's grayWinsor & Newton 019
dark shade
PBk6+PB60indigoDaniel Smith 025
PBk6+PB15+PV19neutral tintWinsor & Newton 032
PBk6+PB29payne's grayM. Graham 128
PBr7+PBk7sepiaM. Graham 178
PBk31perylene blackWinsor & Newton 386
PBk6lamp blackWinsor & Newton 034
PBk7furnace blackMaimeriBlu 537
PBk8vine blackOld Holland 367
PBk9ivory [bone] blackM. Graham 110
PBk11black iron oxideDaniel Smith 021