How to Mix Oil Paint to Get Charcoal Grey

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Things You'll Need

  • Palette

  • Paint brush

  • Cadmium red paint

  • Pthalo green paint

  • Titanium or zinc white paint

Grey colors are richer if dark colors form the base.

Many professional artists mix their own black paint by combining two dark complementary colors. In this manner, they get a rich, dimensional black that more closely resembles the shades of black we see in the natural world. By extension, these blacks also make richer greys. Whether you are crafting, painting a landscape, a stage set or game figurines, some experimentation with color mixing will serve you well through many projects.


Step 1

Squirt a small dollop each of Cadmium red and Pthalo green onto a palette.

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Step 2

Use a swirling motion with your brush to mix the green paint into the red paint.

Step 3

Continue adding more green into the red until you get a dark color that is nearly black.


Step 4

Add a dollop of white paint to the palette. Position it so that you allow enough space for it to spread as you mix it.

Step 5

Mix the near-black into the white using the same technique as in step 1. To prevent a muddy result, always mix dark paint into light paint, rather than the other way around, according to artist Michael Bunn of Mithril Modelling Guides. Continue adding the dark paint to the white paint, mixing as you go, until you achieve the shade of charcoal grey you want.


A palette can be a paper plate, piece of glass a plate or piece of wood. If the paint has excess oil leaking from it, soak it up with a tissue.


Michael Bunn advises to avoid mixing more than three colors to achieve a color. They are likely to turn muddy if you do.


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