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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 26 August 2021
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217978
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 300
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: £15.99
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Colour Demystified


A complete guide to mixing and using watercolours by Julie Collins

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Book Description

Colour Demystified will banish the all-too-common confusion over the watercolour palette and give painters the confidence to experiment with colour mixing.

This book demystifies colour, and helps artists understand how colour works in a highly visual way through the use of colour charts accompanied by examples, practical exercises, and analyses of watercolour paintings.

Numerous artworks by a variety of contemporary artists are featured in the book, covering a broad range of subjects and palettes. Topics such as granulation, iridescence, staining strength, and transparent and opaque colours are explained clearly and simply, and there is practical guidance on colour relationships, using colour to create space, and how to be more creative with colour. 

Armed with a clearer understanding of colour and how it looks and behaves on paper, artists will be encouraged to be more bold and creative in their use of colour in their art. 

Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Materials 8
The language of colour 14
Pigments Demystified 38
Tone & Value 58
Step-by-step project: Leaf 66
Palettes 72
Step-by-step project: Carte Postale Birds 86
The interaction of colour 98
Step-by-step project: Christmas Cactus 104
Modifying your Colours 112
Step-by-step project: Daina’s Teapot 120
Glazing 126
Step-by-step project: Still Life with Tulips 132
Mineral pigments & Luminescent watercolours 136
Step-by-step project: Inside, Outside 144
Experimentation & inspiration 148
Step-by-step project: Trees and Birds 154
Glossary 158
Index 160

Extra Information

Click Here to view the Errata slip for this title.

About the Author

About Julie Collins

Julie Collins studied Fine Art at the University of Reading and has been an artist, writer and teacher since then. She has written a number of colour mixing guides and artists' problem-solving books and also writes for The Artist magazine. She works from her studio in Hampshire, UK, where she explores her passion for painting, drawing and crafts.

Julie has won numerous prestigious awards for her watercolour paintings, including, most recently, the award of first prize for Watercolour at the Royal West of England Academy Annual Exhibition 2019. Julie was also elected an associate Member of the Society of Women Artists in August 2019.

The three Colour Mixing Guides that comprise this book have sold over 37.5k copies overall.

Julie is also the author of Colour Demystified, published by Search Press in 2021, which has sold over 6,850 copies to date.


SAA Catalogue

This is a book which lives completely up to its title and explains not just what's happening on your palette, but on paper, in actual use. 

Written in language aimed at the practising artist rather than the chemist, Julie shows you what colour is, how different pigments work with each other and what all this means for finished results, for which she provides easy-to-follow demonstrations. This is an ambitious project that succeeds every step of the way.

The Artist

I am honestly surprised that nothing quite like this has appeared before. Yes, there have been books that deal with granulation, transparency, glazing and staining as well as guides to colour mixing, but they are either part of a larger work or hugely technical and more for the chemist than the artist.

This is wonderfully straightforward and free from science. Julie examines and explains colours and palettes, what does what and how and when, but all from the point of view of obtaining a result, not as a technical exercise. Each variation is kept in a separate section, making navigation easy and there are examples and exercises that allow you to see exactly what to expect on paper. The whole thing is thoughtfully arranged by an author who is absolutely on top of her subject and knows how to explain it in straightforward terms you will have no trouble understanding.

Leisure Painter

Artist and author, Julie Collins has written a number of books on colour mixing and is a contributor to our sister publication, The Artist magazine. In her new book, Colour Demystified, she sheds clarity on the often-confusing science of colour mixing, freeing the student to make colour choices with confidence. Using colour charts alongside work by several contemporary artists, Julie shows how colour works and how you can used it to best advantage in your paintings. Topics covered include colour mixing, granulation, iridescence, staining, transparent and opaque colours, colour relationships and how to be more creative with colour.

Machine Knitting Monthly

Although this books is written to give painters the confidence to experiment with colour mixing, it can demystify colour for anyone. If you'd like to understand how colour works in a highly visual way using colour charts and examples, practical exercises and analyses of watercolour paintings, this book is for you!

Escape Learn Create.co.uk

An appreciation of colour is so important to any artist, and we love the way that Julie Collins shares her enthusiasm and knowledge in Colour Demystified A Complete Guide to Mixing and Using Watercolours.

In her introduction, she explains how our surroundings and the weather conditions can affect our use of colour, for example, the beautiful light that attracts so many painters to St Ives in Cornwall. She also explains how inspiring it is to spend time looking at the works of other artists, examples of which are also included in this book.

In her research, for this book, Julie visited paint manufacturers Winsor & Newton to understand more about the processes and equipment behind the creation of a tube of paint, and it is this attention to detail that shines through in this book. Every page contains detailed information that is so helpful in understanding the true potential of using watercolours.

As well as information about how to mix and use watercolours, there are step-by-step projects including Carte Postale Birds, Christmas Cactus, Still Life with Tulips, Trees and Birds, and wonderful examples of experimentation.

Above all, this beautiful book is written by an experienced and talented artist with a passion for painting and Julies enthusiasm is infectious. Its a delightful celebration of colour and a wonderful encouragement to get started creating your own paintings! Highly Recommended!


Non-professional artistic color education starts and stops with the color wheel, primary and secondary hues, and complementary and analogous colors. Award-winning UK watercolorist Collins (Painting Flowers with Impact in Watercolour, 2005) changes the conversation by delving into all the different ways hues, shades, and tones can play together. She explores topics like palettes, interactions, and glazing in detail with the intention of inspiring new thinking and experimentation, and furthers her cause with several different gallery-type examples, 16 worksheets that showcase techniques (painting a freehand tulip, for example), and seven step-by-step projectsstill life with tulips, carte postale birds, even just one leaf. To amplify the books title, she includes "demystifying sidebars, observations, and recommendations that strengthen the artistic process, such as the look of yellow differs in the center of green and red versus orange and green. A book with an aesthetic sensibility that more than lives up to the title. Includes a glossary.

Crafts Beautiful

Understand and build the confidence to mix and use watercolours with Julie Collins's complete guide, Colour Demystified. Become more bold and creative with your use of colour in your art with the help of colour charts, examples, practical exercises and analyses of watercolour paintings. Topics such as granulation, iridescence, staining strength and transparent and opaque colours are explained clearly thanks to Julie's wealth of knowledge, and there is guidance on colour relationships, using colour to create space and how to be more creative when choosing shades this is a must-have for any budding artist.

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