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Getting steps in color groups

Hi, i just happened to come across Mark Carder's way of painting realism. Its quite fascinating and easy to understand. My question is, in one of his videos he makes the steps for a neutral steel cup by starting with color black (60% blue and 40% brown) and made his way towards the brightest step, and at the same time making sure the colors are matched. Now if say the color group is blue, how does the step start? Does it still start from black and goes up towards brightness and at the same time getting the right shades of blue in it, or it starts from french ultramarine, and i have to make it go up in brightness and as well as down towards the blacks?


  • MerFury

    Hi and welcome to the DMP Forum.

    Yep. Start with your 60/40 black. You cannot mix anything darker. If there are no values as dark as this in your subject, just lighten step by step 'til you find it with the color checker in your subject's deepest shadow value.


  • Hi again, thats completely fine. but i was wondering how do i get the blues on the picture attached right. If i am not wrong, the shark itself has 2 different type of blues on its bottom region. So basically i prepare two palletes of blues (both with dark and light tones) or i work with same french ultramarine to adjust to all blues?

    The only thing thats slightly confusing to me is say the color group is Red. To make a value scale, i have to start with 60/40 black? And lighten in with yellow or white (by the way what color you use to lighten the color for Red), then after matching the steps value to the picture, i answer the question: Is it more blue, red, green, etc. And after finding the answer i add the color's complementary to match it to the picture's color (btw what if the answer to those question is: Mine is Grey compared to the picture's red?)

    Sorry this is the first time i have come across such technique, and looks very promising and i really want to understand how exactly this works.

    Thanks once again. Cheers
  • When looking at a grey swatch individually sometimes it is hard to see what color it is leaning towards.


    But when you are able to compare many of them right next to each other you will be able to see what color they belong to.



  • May i suggest -relax, just try mixing some small batches of color, test them and see whats needed -little more red? no, Little more what. a good bright red can't be made brighter - white will make it pink, yellow will slide to orange, green will dull it.
    At least thats what happens for me - Lets see if Mr Carder corrects me. :)>-
  • Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
    edited February 2014
    just makes a big pile of black and set it aside, you can use it throughout your painting. Now for step 2 what you need to do sometimes is start with a fresh mixing pile. For instance with only burnt umber if its an orange color. Or if its a blue color, as in your case, you could start with just pure ultramarine with a very small amount of white or Yellow in it depending on what type blue it is.
  • edited February 2014
    Ah now i am getting it, I also bought your Still Life video to learn better :)
  • @MerFury Glad you clarified your issue. I have the same issue for a painting I want to do. I'll just mix up less of the 2 parts brown/3 parts blue.
  • Ya finally got an understanding how it works, now checking the value and Hue with a semi gloss printout is pretty weird. I guess i have to buy Mark's landscape video to understand how he does it :)
  • I have been amazed how many times I thought I had the right color until I put it on my checker.
  • i had the same questions, maybe it would be nice a ---FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions--- section
  • I'm new here, too. I forgot to introduce myself. Sorry, about that. I want to use this process. In the past, I studied museum copy work with a very talented teacher. His approach was based on Leonardo Da Vinci' notebooks. We started with a verrdachio under painting studying mixing with a ten step keyboard covered with glass. I copied Wilhelm Bougereau's " Child Bathing". After the verrdachio step came glazing with rows for hair, skin and blood. Very labor intensive which took away some of the joy of painting.
    I have been studying the on-line video's but I just can't put the dots together. I have no power tools and so I cannot make the two most important tools. If, anyone builds them could I hire you to make them for me?
  • You can buy proportional dividers from many websites and some art stores. As far as putting the dots together, have you considered the Online Course? The color mixing steps will be posted tonight.
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