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Artists Quality Pigments Blacks

Note on making oil colours: Every pigment requires a different volume of oil to bring it to the desired consistency. This varies enormously, so a pigment like Alizarin, for instance, requires almost twice as much oil by volume as White Lead. In practice, it is advisable to avoid fast-drying colours that require a large amount of oil, such as Umbers, Siennas and Cobalt Blues, in underpainting, unless they are applied thinly or in tints reduced with white.

Toxicity Ratings:
The Classifications used are based on those intended for guidance of artists’ colour manufacturers where large quantities might be involved along with sustained, frequent use. We recommend that necessary safety precautions should be followed for best studio practice. Wear a dust mask and work in a well-ventilated space to avoid breathing in the dust. Do not eat, drink or touch your eyes while handling these products, and make sure that your work area is easy to clean at the end of the day. 

Code:
A - Non-hazardous.
B - Relatively harmless.
C - Very low toxic hazard – some precaution necessary.
D - Defined physiological hazard – appropriate precautions necessary.

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  1. Carbon Black Pigment

    Carbon Black Pigment

    Starting at: £10.80

    PBk7

    Carbon Black is an inorganic synthetic pigment, created by burning natural gases to form an almost pure carbon. It is semi-transparent, and in oil dries very slowly to a soft, brittle paint film. It requires a wetting agent, and can show in streaks, even when mixed with other colours. 

    Larger quantities are available by request. 

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  2. Vine Black Pigment

    Vine Black Pigment

    Starting at: £4.70

    PBk8

    Vine Black is derived from charred vines, forming an organic pigment of pure carbon. It has been in use since antiquity, providing a cold black with bluish undertones, which creates a blue-grey when mixed with white. It is a very lightfast, slow-drying colour with a medium tinting strength. It requires a wetting agent to disperse properly, and is not suitable for use in fresco, mortar or cement, as the water-soluble impurities within the pigment can create efflorescence. 

    Toxicity: A

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  3. Spinel Black Pigment

    Spinel Black Pigment

    Starting at: £8.00

    Spinel Black, sometimes known as Manganese Ferrite Black, is a synthetic mixed-metal oxide pigment. It provides a deep, cool, transparent black, which dries quickly in oil.

    Toxicity: C

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  4. Mars Black Pigment

    Mars Black Pigment

    Starting at: £5.70

    PBk11

    Mars Black is an artificial mineral pigment composed of hydrated ferric oxides. Like other Mars colours, it provides a very opaque, permanent colour, which is stable in all media. It has an average drying time in oil, forming a hard, fairly flexible film, making it more suitable for impasto application than carbon-based black pigments, which tend to be brittle. It also wets more easily than other black pigments, and possesses a warm, brownish undertone.

    Toxicity: B

    Limeproof

    Larger quantities are available by request. 

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  5. Lamp Black Pigment

    Lamp Black Pigment

    Starting at: £6.70

    PBk 6

    Lamp Black is an inorganic, synthetic, pure carbon pigment. Originally made from soot collected from oil lamps and fireplaces, its modern equivalent is derived from partly combusted mineral and vegetable oil. It is a cool, transparent, bluish black, with a good tinting strength, and stable in all media. It requires a wetting agent, and in oil it has a very high absorption drying very slowly.

    Larger quantities are available by request. 

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  6. Ivory Black Pigment

    Ivory Black Pigment

    Starting at: £4.00

    Ivory Black is a natural pigment of impure carbon, derived from charred animal bones. It is semi-transparent, very lightfast, and offers good tinting strength. It is a particularly slow-drying pigment, which forms a soft, rather brittle paint film in oil.

    Compared to other blacks, such as Vine Black, Ivory Black possesses warmer, brownish undertones. It should not be used at full-strength in an underpainting, as subsequent layers are likely to crack. Otherwise, it is a very useful all-purpose black for many types of paint, excluding mortar, fresco or cement.

    Toxicity: B

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  7. Graphite Powder (Sri Lanka)

    Graphite Powder (Sri Lanka)

    Starting at: £5.50

    PBk10

    Graphite powder is an allotropic form of pure carbon, ground to 200 mesh. It is transparent and lightfast, with a slight sheen. It can be applied directly onto a paper support.

    Larger quantities are available by request. This variety of graphite is sourced from Sri Lanka.

    Toxicity: A/B

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  8. Spinel Black pigment in a 15 ml jar.

    Pigment 15 ml Spinel Black (10g)

    £8.00

    Spinel Black, sometimes known as Manganese Ferrite Black, is a synthetic mixed metal oxide pigment. It provides a deep, cool, transparent black, which dries quickly in oil.
    Learn More

  9. Ivory Black pigment in a 15ml jar.

    Pigment 15 ml Ivory Black (11g)

    £4.00

    Ivory Black is a natural pigment of impure carbon, derived from charred animal bones. It is semi-transparent, very lightfast, and offers good tinting strength. It is a particularly slow-drying pigment, which forms a soft, rather brittle paint film in oil. Compared to other blacks, such as vine black, Ivory Black possesses warmer, brownish undertones. It should not be used at full-strength in an underpainting, as subsequent layers are likely to crack. Otherwise, it is a very useful all-purpose black for many types of paint, excluding mortar, fresco or cement.
    Learn More

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