Watercolor out of the tube or the pan is at its full paintable strength. Seldom will it be used in that manner except when the design calls for it. However, the use of full strength color is by large discouraged due to bronzing when watercolor applied to the paper dries. Diluting and mixing color pigments with water changes its values, depth, and hue. When applying watercolor though, an important thing to remember is that the color will tend to be lighter when the color dries. If you want stronger color, you can make adjustments by applying slightly stronger hues before application or you can dab some more color to the object when the paint is already dry.

Creating test sheets

Before attempting to mix watercolor pigments, it is advisable to test out the colors first on a clean paper to get a good grasp on how it behaves and the color when it dries. Paint on a damp paper the colors that you will use. Maintain a uniform brush stroke starting with the lightest color to the stronger ones. Label the color and maintain a clean brush while doing the strokes. When the paints are dried compare it to the colors in your color well to judge how the final outcome of the colors will be.

Mixing a Puddle of Color

To start your puddle, wet the brush in clean water. This opens up all the hairs in the brush up to the ferrule. At this point, your brush would likely be fully loaded with water, if so, remove excess water by thumping the brush a few times or run the brush across the rim of the mixing well.

Add the first color (blue for example) by touching the tip of the brush across your pigment and dilute it some more with your puddle of water. Start painting and continue the process until you get the color value that you desire.

You do not need to wash your brush if you want to add another color for combination. Touch the tip of your brush to a new color (Green for example), dilute it with your puddle of water, and apply it over the blue or parts of the blue that you painted previously. Continue adding strokes until the correct color is achieved.

To keep tube and pan colors pure, place small amounts of the pigments in a separate well. This way, all your colors stay clean and will not intermingle with another.

Practice mixing primary Colors

To achieve a very good grasp on how colors behave and how it will affect your work, it is advisable to practice with primary colors. Primary colors are the colors Red, Blue, and Yellow. Combining these colors in different degrees will give you infinite color combinations. Most professional artists use only these colors and have created masterpieces out of them.

This is the best practice that you could have in mixing color and making color combinations. Try to produce different color hues. The experience that you will derive here will be priceless.