The simple Tint-to-hue method

Here are the three steps to quickly mixing your color:

  1. Look at your subject and generalize the color area you’re interested in. Arrive at a color in your mind that is a summary blend of the tonal area.
    In some ways, this is the hardest step. You have to train yourself you see color areas, not just distinct color points. This means that when you look at mid-tones in a cheek, you think of one color that is the foundation for that tonal range. It helps to squint. Here’s an example:


  1. Depending on how light or dark that color is, pick one of the tint charts. Locate the tint swatch that is the closest approximation, and trace to the hue at the top. It will have a number.
    For example, you’re looking at a flesh tone and decide that the closest color on the chart is a tint under the color 10 (a slightly warm red).
  1. Find the tube color for 10, and mix in a pure neutral of the right value (lightness).
  • Note that if the hue is of a darker value, the mixed neutral should compensate by being lighter.
  • An alternative to mixing in a neutral is to mix the direct compliment, which in this case is hue 190 (slightly blue-teal). For this to work, the compliment has to be of exactly the right value, however.

That’s it! With this simple process you can quickly zero in on your color. I call it ‘Tint-to-hue’ because you start by identifying the tint, and then look up the hue. This is much more efficient than the ‘hue-to-tint’ method described earlier. 

The devil is in the details, of course. It is one thing to look up a tint on a computer chart. It is quite another to be able to map that to mixtures of your tube colors. We’ll explore applying this theory to the studio experience next. 


Copyright (c) 2014 Roy Zuniga