Differences in black acrylic paints

In acrylic paints, there are various types of black with distinct characteristics. These differences arise from variations in pigments used, additives, and the manufacturing process.

Ivory Black:

  • Warmth/Coolness: Neutral to slightly warm.
  • Transparency/Opaque: Generally opaque.
  • Tinting Strength: Moderate. It can be quite powerful, so use it cautiously when mixing to avoid overpowering other colors.
  • Additional Info: Ivory black is typically derived from charred animal bones, but modern formulations might not use animal products.

Mars Black:

  • Warmth/Coolness: Neutral to slightly cool.
  • Transparency/Opaque: Opaque.
  • Tinting Strength: Strong. It can easily dominate mixes, so use it carefully.
  • Additional Info: Mars black is synthetic and typically not made from animal sources.

Lamp Black:

  • Warmth/Coolness: Cool.
  • Transparency/Opaque: Opaque.
  • Tinting Strength: Very strong. A little goes a long way, so be cautious when using it in mixtures.
  • Additional Info: Traditional lamp black was made from the soot of burned oil lamps. Modern formulations of lamp black, especially those used in art materials like acrylic paints, are generally synthetic and do not contain animal-derived materials. This makes lamp black a vegan-friendly pigment.

Carbon Black:

  • Warmth/Coolness: Cool.
  • Transparency/Opaque: Opaque.
  • Tinting Strength: Extremely strong. It’s one of the most potent black pigments, so use sparingly.
  • Additional Info: Carbon black is made from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, and most modern formulations are free of animal ingredients.

Oxide Black:

  • Warmth/Coolness: Oxide Black tends to be a neutral black, neither strongly warm nor cool.
  • Transparency/Opaque: It’s generally opaque, meaning that it covers underlying layers well.
  • Tinting Strength: Oxide Black has a moderate to strong tinting strength. It can influence other colors significantly in mixtures, so use it thoughtfully.
  • Additional Info: Oxide Black is derived from iron oxide compounds. It’s often considered a more environmentally friendly alternative to some other black pigments because it doesn’t typically contain heavy metals or hazardous materials. Oxide Black can be made synthetically or from natural sources, and it’s known for its stability and lightfastness.

Like with any color variations can exist between brands and specific product lines. To fully understand the characteristics of a black acrylic paint, it’s a good idea to check the product label or the manufacturer’s website.

Additionally, when working with black paint, consider its strength and the impact it can have on mixing other colors. Always perform your own tests and experiments to become familiar with how each black behaves in your particular painting techniques and styles.

Categorised as blog