transparency-zinc-whiteHello and welcome to Art A&A number 17. This is Lezley Davidson with

Today I’ve got a question off of the blog.

Amit from Toronto asks:

“What’s the difference between zinc white and titanium white and when should I use them?”

K, good question, it’s one that I get all the time and the answer will help you make choices while painting.

Titanium White is Opaque

Titanium white is a white that we normally use – it’s a very opaque white, it’s got a lot of whiting in it which is the opaquing pigment and titanium oxide which is also white. Its really good coverage so it’s opaque and you need less of it to lighten up a color.

But if you thin it down and use it in a glaze, it’s very very chalky and it’s very foggy in glazes –  I don’t know how to describe it – it’s chalky and foggydsc00411_800 (and sometimes you want that!). Thin down titanium white and glaze it over top of of a dark color and you’ll see what I mean. Titanium white is also a cracking like it tends to crack more. If you use pure titanium white and put it on especially in oils – it will crack more often. Which is why it’s used at the end and used as a highlight, so you just need a little bit of it.

And it may be different now in acrylics because the  polymer is a different kind of binder and it may not crack as much. I have never been having issues with big gobs of white cracking.


Zinc White (also called Soft Mixing White or Transparent Mixing White) is More Transparent

Zinc white is more of a transparent white. Okay so its less successful at adding to colors to lighten them, but it is better for using white in a glaze because it’s less chalky, less opaque and it will lighten the colour and have it be less well, less chalky. So it’s really good for mixing skintones.

It’s often called soft mixing white because it is not so intense of a white, it’s more muted. Skin tones are great with zinc oxide for further glazing when you need a white. I posted a video onto YouTube regarding color index names and those are the names of the pigment that on the backs of the tubes. You should check that YouTube video out its under Lezley Davidson, on my channel on YouTube and its color index names or CIN.

Colour Index Number


It’s a pretty informative video it’s very dry, it’s not fun, but it’ll teach you how to identify pigments regardless of what the tube name is called. You’ll be able to find the pigments that you want – and it works across mediums because pigments are the same regardless of whether it’s water color oil or acrylic so if you’re looking for you know, a weird name – because Winsor Newton calls their Phthalo’s – Winsor, Winsor blue is a Phthalo Blue Winsor Green is a Phthalo Green, so if you’re looking for Phthalo Green or Phthalo Blue in Winsor Newton colours its called Winsor.
phthalo blues
And you’ll know that by looking on the back of the tube in the color index name Colour Index NUMBER, I’m sorry, it’s not a name. Anyway check out the video you can also,  I also have a video regarding warm cold and blacks-identify those using the color index number.

Single Pigments

220px-Indian_pigmentsIts important to look at the back of the tubes that you’re buying and to identify whether the colors is a single pigments or a multiple pigment colour. Single pigment is always a better idea because then you know exactly what you got and what you’re mixing.

You can get a light blue from Liquitex and it’s actually got three different pigments in it a blue and white and yellow or something maybe purple I’m not sure.. but if you’ve got a multi-pigment tube you’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen when you mix it with other colors.

So if you’re used to mixing a particular blue and a particular red for a particular purple and you substitute this other multi-pigment blue – you’re gonna get a mystery color as a result. So that’s another thing to keep in mind and good to look at… Read the back of your package to find a pigment names numbers.

Anyway – go look at the video.

Alright, thanks a lot for your time and I will see you next week!

Want more tools to help grow your successful art biz?
Get in the Library for TONNES of videos, downloads & resources!
We hate spam just as much as you


Discussion (2) ¬

Comment ¬

You must be logged in to post a comment.