How to Mix Colors to Make Pink

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Lighter pink tints are created by adding more white paint.
Lighter pink tints are created by adding more white paint. (Image: severija/iStock/Getty Images)

Pink is not a color on the traditional color wheel. Pink is actually a tint of red, which is created by mixing red with a lot of white pigment. It isn't always this easy to create pink, especially when using watercolor paints. Different red hues in each of these mediums affect the final look of a pink tint.

Mixing Pink in Watercolor

Watercolor pigment is meant to be diluted with water. On a sheet of paper, it is semi-transparent and not at all opaque. The key to creating the perfect tint of pink in watercolors is to select the correct shade of red. Magenta is a great color to dilute into tints from a vibrant hot pink to a very pale pink. There are white pigments that can be mixed with red, but this is a better option to use against watercolor paper in darker colors. All that is needed for this process is a soft brush, paper towels and plenty of water.

Mixing Pink in Acrylic

Acrylic is a quick drying, opaque paint popular with beginners and expert artists. Creating pink tints in acrylic is possible by mixing white acrylic paint with a hue of red acrylic paint. Red is a very intense pigment, so a little bit goes a long way. It is better to start with a base of white paint and mix in red until the desired shade of pink is achieved. Do this right before painting, as the paint dries fast. If planning on a long painting session, consider mixing small amounts of pink at a time. A palette, palette knife, paper towel and clean water are the necessary materials for this project.

Mixing Pink in Oil

Oil-based paint takes much longer to dry, but can provide an opaque appearance or be thinned down to create semi-transparent washes. Pink tints are also created in oil paints by mixing red hues with white. Start with an amount of white and slowly mix in red until the desired tint is reached. A larger batch of pink can be mixed in oil since it takes up to weeks to dry completely. Just cover the unused paint on the palette with a piece of plastic wrap between sessions. A palette knife, palette, turpentine, brushes and paper towels are needed to make pink with oils.

Hues of Red in Paint

Paint colors are somewhat standardized across the different mediums, including the many hues of red available. A basic red is rarely available in oil and acrylic, but it may be found in watercolor paints. Instead, artists have options like Cadmium Reds, Alazarin Crimson, Quinacridone Red (also called Permanent Rose in watercolors) and many other hues. Cadmium has a more orange tone, while Alazarin Crimson and Quinacridone have hints of blue. Nearly all paint mediums rely on a classic Titanium White.

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