Making the color gray

This is probably a really silly question. But how do you make light versions of colors, ie: gray?

My obvious first thought is to mix white with whatever color. In grays case, with black. All I have is transparent white. Will that work?

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Yes. Start with transparent white and slowly add a little of the color to it. It often doesn’t take a lot to get to the tint you need. It’s far harder to cut it back if you go too dark than to slowly work up to the color you want.

Thanks so much!

I use Opaque White ink. In my opinion, it gives a more ‘solid’ version of the pastel.

Start with a pea size of white and add just a whisper of black and you’ll get a fantastic gray.

Mixing with transparent white has always left the colors… well… transparent.

You can buy a can of opaque white at NA Graphics. If Dave Robison still sells ‘ink in tubes’ you could fetch a small tube for under $10.00 I believe.

That’s what I was thinking would happen…and well it did. I’ll buy some opaque. Thanks for the info!

Dont forget adding your colur to white should be done in tiny amounts slowly building towards what you want. If you go to dark theres no going back, by adding more white!

I didn’t know that. Thanks!

You can also make gray by mixing the primary colors.(red, yellow, and blue) No white is needed. In painting, you seldom mix white and black as it produces a lifeless gray, while the primary color mix produces beautiful “colored” grays depending on your ratio’s. Mixing complimentary colors and white also produce beautiful grays.


I often find that transparent white gives a bit of a yellowish tint to colors, so if you want to keep it strictly gray, opaque might be a better choice.

I thought when you mix all the colors you get brown…not grey or even gray

Bye the way what IS the colour when black is burned?

I’ve mixed silver and black for some really nice grays.

GwaK: If desiring gray or even grey and you can get brown, the ratio is off. (too much red) Just add yellow and blue to compensate.


I agree John

You can make fantastic Grays (Neutral Grays) from mixing opposite colours on the colour wheel and then adding a bit of the resulting colour to white until you get the desired tone that your after.
Blue + Orange
Red + Green
Purple/Violet + Yellow
They are the Grays that occur in nature as opposed to making Gray from Black + White.