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MSP Equivalencies for Artist Colors

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  • Reaper User

Though we have a Color Equivalencies thread pinned, I wanted to start this new one because I have gotten a lot of questions about this over the years. I had some time this morning, so lucky you… :;):


First, off, these are not usage-true equivalencies. What do I mean by that? I mean that if I give you an MSP color that is equivalent to Cadmium Red, it will not mix with other colors precisely like a real Cadmium Red. It may not have the same coverage as a real Cadmium Red. However, it is also not toxic like a real Cadmium Red.   :;):


We use only twelve pigments currently at Reaper HQ, plus some colored bases, to make every color in the line. We simply do not have access to all the specialist pigments and blends used by artist paint companies.  :down: 


That said, if you are simply looking for a color that LOOKS like Cadmium Yellow Light, I CAN HELP!   :bday:   Here's how to do it! 


First, make a match card. Some of these are produced by companies, like this handy "Color Matching Guide" produced by The Color Wheel Company.





Keep in mind that this tool is printed by printing inks via a printing process, and these cards will NOT be as accurate as a card you make yourself.


To make one yourself, just paint the artists' tube color of your choice onto a primed index card (yes, prime it first, just like a mini--otherwise the color will shift, because of the absorptive surface of the card). Then, cut out a shape from the center with a hobby knife after it dries.  


Next, prime a paper plate or another piece of card stock. 


Paint some MSP colors that you think might be close to your artist color onto the plate/card, and let them dry. I find it useful to label them so I don't forget which is which. 




Finally, place your color match card over the top of each color to find the one that is closest!




Again, if you are using a mass-printed product like the one I have, do a double-check to make sure their swatches have printed correctly. I found that the "Cerulean Blue" swatch was not nearly as vibrant as actual Cerulean Blue paint.


Also keep in mind that different companies' versions of popular artist colors, such as Burnt Umber, may vary slightly depending on the pigment company and type of base. You're looking for a hue that's in the ballpark; it's rare to find a perfect match. 


Here are some ballpark equivalencies to popular artist colors. Again, these are just hues that look like the colors in question; Your Mixing Mileage May Vary.  :upside:


Cadmium Red: 61108 Republique Red from the Heavy Gear line is closest


Lemon Yellow, also called Hansa Yellow: 9008 Sun Yellow appears to be closest


Cerulean Blue: 9016 Sapphire Blue is closest


Alizarin Crimson: 29801 Crimson Red HD is closest


Cadmium Yellow Light: 9095 Clear Yellow


Cadmium Yellow Medium: 29808 Golden Yellow HD


Ultramarine Blue: 9087 Ultramarine Shadow is actually closest to the artist tube color. The mid tone of this triad, 9088 Ultramarine Blue, is a shade lighter than the traditional pigment, and the highlight, 9089 Ultramarine Highlight, could be very similar to a color produced for the painting of space soldier types made by another company… :;):


One final word on color: DON'T OVERTHINK IT. Choose colors you like, play with them, learn how they tick, note the ones you enjoy. It really doesn't matter if you have an exact match for x or y. What matters is how you use them.   ::):


That's all for today…have fun!   ::D:



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  • Reaper User

Thanks for sharing this information.


Are the 12 pigments available in the MSP or HD lines as individual, unmixed colors? If yes, would it be possible to know which are these straight pigments by bottle name etc?


Some of them are, but not all. Giving you that specific information sadly would violate the company confidentiality guidelines regarding our formula information. However, several of the Clear Bright colors (9094-9099) are as close to single pigments as possible, so those are a great place to start if you are interested in mixing. And obviously Pure Black and Pure White are single pigments. 


I have given information previously on a couple of other colors, so I'll name those here too:


Yellow Ochre: 9074 Palomino Gold is closest

Burnt Sienna: 9071 Chestnut Brown is closest


The rest you guys will need to figure out on your own.  :;):

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You've also given Burnt Umber = Walnut Brown. :poke:

I don't think so. I think that was my speculation, before I had gotten my hands on a bottle of Walnut Brown. I am now of the opinion that they are very different beasties indeed.


I am sorry if my musings have caused confusion.

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