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Creating a Watercolor Glazing Chart

glazing chart supplies, watercolor

A Quick Catch Up

Hello again! So I have been quite negligent with this blog the past few months. In that time I started a new job, was working on a book collaboration, had that collaboration fall through and am back to working on my solo projects. I let myself get sidetracked by the hope of a successful partnership, but when that fell through I realized something important – I had let my own work fall through the cracks. So here I am again, just starting to get back in the swing of things.

glazing chart finished, watercolor

What is Glazing?

Glazing is a painting technique of layering transparent, colored washes over one another to create subtle color differences, effects, luminosity, and control. The colors and effects created through glazing can add depth to a work that a single, opaque layer of color cannot. Traditional glazing is made by adding new layers over dried layers.

Charging - sometimes called wet glazing - is adding layers and layers of color upon wet paper. I will discuss this process and the different effect it produces in a future entry.

A glazing chart is used to see what color effects can be made with the colors you have at your disposal. It is a learning tool, or cheat sheet, for future reference. It is a great way to see the significance color order makes on the end result.

glazing chart pencil, watercolor

What I Use

Heavy, white paper

Sharp pencil


Fine point paint brush (watercolor if you have it)


Watercolor paint set

The Set I used for this Chart: Kokuyo Camlin Ltd., formerly known as Camlin Ltd., is well known for its "Camel" and "Camlin" brands. Below is a list of each color name and brand code, with one exception replaced by Winsor and Newton. The numbers reflect those in the final glaze chart.

1. 062 - Crimson

2. 393 - Scarlet

3. This should be white but I have burnt sienna by Winsor and Newton

4. 031 - Burnt Sienna

5. 241 - Lt. Red

6. 283- Orange

7. 492 -Yellow Ochre

8. 153 - Gamboje Hue

9. 236 - Lemon Yellow

10. 391- Sap Green

11. 117 - Emerald Green

12. 453 - Viridian Hue

13. 056 - Cobalt Blue Hue

14. 436- Ultramarine Blue

15. 071 - Cerulean Blue Hue

16. 032 - Burnt Umber

17. 367 - Raw Umber

18. 016 - Black

glazing chart in progress, watercolor

The Steps I Take:

  1. First I clean my paint set so that all the colors are those of the original palette design. This exercise won't work well with dirty paint colors.

  2. Next comes the measuring. You need to divide your paper into a grid with enough rows and columns so that each paint color gets one column and that there is one empty column between each color. Basically, you the number of paint colors plus one less of that number for interior empty space. I used 18 colors and needed 17 empty rows. The rows and column numbers will be the same, but their dimensions will be different based on the shape of your paper. The actual dimensions do not matter as long as they are big enough for you to paint in. You will note, may chart is not perfectly clean and straight. This is because, for me, this is a reference and learning process - not a finished product in itself.

  3. Next comes the numbering. Number the X and Y axis 1-18 (or your number of colors) starting in the upper left corner working right and down. It is important for reading the chart with ease that the paints stay in the labeled order.

  4. Now the fun part, the painting. For consistency try to use the same amount of water in each mix and clean the brush thoroughly between colors. I started with my horizontal rows. You can start either way as long as you remember which came first.

  5. Let this layer dry completely.

  6. And now for the columns. Repeat step five in the same order with the same attempt at precision. You want to use the same amount of water and paint as in the first layer, to the best of your ability, to get the most reliable results.

  7. Let dry.

  8. Finally, label which side you painted first and take a look. Observe how the order of the colors produces different effects. Where you maybe messed up, like on my final black lines. And what combinations surprise or delight you. I personally love the different greens created in my chart.

glazing chart detail, watercolor

Using My Glazing Chart

For me, the most useful part of creating a glazing chart is to be inspired by new color combinations I may not have been aware of or thought of recently. It is a great activity to learn from but also to refer back to for inspiration.

I recently bought a new watercolor set, so I will have to make a new chart for that palette. Each brand of colors is ever-so-slightly different, and may produce different effects. Next time, I will try to leave room to write the names of the colors by each row, rather than just numbers.

Thanks for tuning back in and good luck with any future glazing charts!

About Me, Fia Sutton

Hi & welcome to my blog! I am a children's illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. I create handmade collages, 

watercolors & books that celebrate color, acceptance, & discovery. I am a creator of messy mistakes & happy surprises.

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