Acrylic Paint Colors List: A Comprehensive Guide to Basic Colors, Mixing, and Techniques

Embark on a vibrant journey with our acrylic paint colors list, where art enthusiasts and curious minds alike will discover the fundamental hues, mixing secrets, and diverse techniques that unlock the boundless possibilities of acrylic painting.

Unleash your creativity as we explore the six basic acrylic paint colors, their properties, and applications, empowering you to create stunning works of art. Dive into the fascinating world of color mixing, learning how to blend and combine colors to achieve the perfect shades for your artistic vision.

List of Basic Acrylic Paint Colors

Acrylic paint colors list

Acrylic paints are vibrant, water-based paints that are known for their versatility and quick drying time. They are widely used by artists of all levels, from beginners to professionals, and are suitable for various surfaces like canvas, paper, wood, and even fabric.

Acrylic paints come in a wide range of colors, including basic colors, intermediate colors, and specialty colors. In this article, we will focus on the six basic acrylic paint colors and explore their properties, uses, and applications.

Basic Acrylic Paint Colors

The six basic acrylic paint colors are:

  • Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35):A bright, warm yellow with a high tinting strength. It is commonly used for highlights, sunlight effects, and creating warm undertones.
  • Cadmium Red Medium (PR108):A deep, vibrant red with excellent lightfastness. It is suitable for creating rich, intense reds, such as roses, poppies, and sunsets.
  • Ultramarine Blue (PB29):A rich, deep blue with a slightly purple undertone. It is often used for creating shadows, water, and night skies.
  • Viridian Green (PG18):A cool, dark green with a slightly bluish undertone. It is commonly used for creating foliage, landscapes, and underwater scenes.
  • Burnt Umber (PBr7):A warm, earthy brown with a reddish undertone. It is frequently used for creating shadows, wood textures, and skin tones.
  • Titanium White (PW6):A bright, opaque white with excellent covering power. It is used for lightening colors, creating highlights, and mixing with other colors to achieve various shades.

These six basic acrylic paint colors form the foundation for creating a wide range of hues and tones. They can be mixed together to create intermediate colors, such as orange, green, and purple, and can be further diluted with water to create washes and glazes.

Color Mixing with Acrylics

Acrylic paint colors list

Mixing acrylic colors is a fundamental skill for artists, allowing them to create a vast array of hues and tones. Understanding the principles of color mixing and utilizing the color wheel are essential for achieving desired results.

Color Wheel

The color wheel is a circular representation of colors, arranged according to their relationships. Primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) are positioned equidistantly, with secondary colors (green, orange, and purple) created by mixing two primaries. Tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color.

The color wheel helps artists understand how colors interact and predict the results of mixing different hues.

Mixing Techniques

Acrylic colors can be mixed directly on the palette or on the canvas. Mixing on the palette allows for greater control over the proportions and intensity of the colors.

When mixing colors, it’s important to start with small amounts and gradually add more until the desired hue is achieved. Mixing complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) creates neutral tones, while mixing analogous colors (colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel) produces harmonious blends.

Examples of Color Combinations

  • Red + Yellow = Orange
  • Blue + Yellow = Green
  • Red + Blue = Purple
  • Yellow + Green = Lime
  • Blue + Purple = Indigo
  • Red + Orange = Vermillion

Types of Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are available in various types, each with its own characteristics and applications. Understanding the differences between these types can help artists choose the most suitable paints for their specific needs and artistic styles.

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Student-Grade Acrylics

  • Designed for beginners and students, these paints are generally more affordable.
  • Lower pigment concentration, resulting in less vibrant colors and reduced durability.
  • Suitable for basic painting exercises, practice, and quick sketches.

Professional-Grade Acrylics

  • Formulated for professional artists and advanced students.
  • Higher pigment concentration, producing richer, more intense colors.
  • Improved durability and resistance to fading and yellowing.
  • Offer greater control and blending capabilities.

Artist-Grade Acrylics

  • The highest quality acrylic paints available, designed for professional artists.
  • Exceptional pigment concentration for unmatched vibrancy and color depth.
  • Highest durability, withstanding extreme conditions and preserving artworks for longer periods.
  • Provide the most precise control, allowing artists to achieve complex and detailed effects.

Acrylic Painting Techniques

Acrylic painting techniques offer artists a wide range of possibilities for creating unique and expressive artworks. From the delicate washes of glazing to the bold textures of impasto, acrylics allow for diverse effects and applications.


Glazing involves applying thin, transparent layers of acrylic paint over one another. Each layer allows the underlying colors to show through, creating a sense of depth and luminosity. To glaze, dilute the paint with water or a glazing medium and apply it in thin, even strokes.

Allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next.

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Dry Brushing, Acrylic paint colors list

Dry brushing is a technique that creates the illusion of texture by applying a small amount of paint to a nearly dry brush. Lightly dab the brush onto the surface, allowing only the tips of the bristles to touch the canvas.

This technique is particularly effective for creating the appearance of weathered surfaces, such as old wood or stone.


Impasto is a technique that involves applying thick layers of acrylic paint to create a raised, textured surface. To create impasto, use a palette knife or thick brush to apply the paint directly to the canvas. The thicker the paint, the more pronounced the texture will be.

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Impasto is often used to create a sense of movement and depth in a painting.

Color Theory for Acrylic Painting: Acrylic Paint Colors List

Color theory is a set of principles that artists use to understand how colors interact with each other. These principles can be applied to any type of painting, but they are especially important for acrylic painting because acrylics are a very versatile medium that can be used to create a wide range of effects.

The basic principles of color theory include:

  • Hue: The pure color, such as red, blue, or green.
  • Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Saturation: The intensity of a color.

These three elements can be combined to create an infinite number of different colors.

In addition to these basic elements, color theory also includes the concept of color relationships. These relationships can be used to create different effects in a painting.

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Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. When placed next to each other, they create a strong contrast that can be used to draw attention to a particular area of a painting.

Examples of complementary colors include:

  • Red and green
  • Blue and orange
  • Yellow and purple

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. When placed next to each other, they create a harmonious effect that can be used to create a sense of unity in a painting.

Examples of analogous colors include:

  • Red, orange, and yellow
  • Blue, green, and purple
  • Yellow, green, and blue

Triadic Colors

Triadic colors are colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. When placed next to each other, they create a dynamic effect that can be used to create a sense of excitement in a painting.

Examples of triadic colors include:

  • Red, yellow, and blue
  • Green, orange, and purple
  • Yellow, green, and blue

Color theory is a complex subject, but it is an essential tool for any artist who wants to create effective paintings. By understanding the principles of color theory, you can use color to create a variety of effects in your paintings and communicate your ideas more effectively.

Final Wrap-Up

Our exploration of acrylic paint colors list culminates in a comprehensive understanding of the different types of acrylic paints available, their advantages and disadvantages, and the captivating techniques that transform colors into masterpieces. Embrace the versatility of acrylics and elevate your artistic journey to new heights.


What are the six basic acrylic paint colors?

The six basic acrylic paint colors are titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, and viridian green.

How do I mix acrylic colors to create new hues?

To mix acrylic colors, start with a small amount of each color and gradually add more until you achieve the desired shade. Use a color wheel to guide your mixing and create harmonious combinations.

What are the different types of acrylic paints available?

Acrylic paints are available in various types, including student-grade, professional-grade, and artist-grade. Each type differs in quality, pigment concentration, and price.