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Tubing Your Own Colors

When I first started painting my teacher introduced me to tubing colors.  Being a new student I did not quite understand the benefits of tubing my own colors and thought the mixing and tubing process to be fun while being labor intensive.  Later on when I put those tubed colors to use did I realized just how beneficial it was to have an abundant supply of color on hand readily available.  There was no longer the need to be constantly mixing up color hither and thither. All I had to do was reach into my paint box, open a tube of color, squeeze out some paint onto my palette and start painting.  Now I am introducing the concept of tubing colors to my students.  It is a great kick to watch them take out their supply of empty paint tubes, pigments, palette knives and see the amazement on their faces as the pigments get swirled together into large toffee colored mounds of paint that morph into flesh tones that rival makeup foundation products.

When I proposed the idea of mixing and tubing flesh tones to my student Kay, she jumped right at the opportunity.  The series of photographs show her mixing and tubing and occasionally yours truly is shown giving a hand with the work.  


  1. Hi Diana, I recently read a brief article in American Artist magazine concerning the "Prismatic Palette". I'm not sure I completely understand it, and it would be helpful for those of us not on the east coast to have a more in-depth explanation of the specifics concerning the color mixing process. Is ther a source, i.e. book, video/DVD, etc. that would help someone wanting to explore this matter more fully. thanks in advance for any leads. Ray

  2. Hi Ray,

    To my knowledge I don't know of any books or videos/DVD's that offer information about the specifics of the color mixing processes of the DuMond (prismatic palette.) You could look for Frank Reilly's publications for some references to DuMond's prismatic theories (he studied under DuMond and documented his brushwork and their relationships.) Though I think you will find more on the Munsell scale as opposed to DuMond. Probably your best bet would be to find a competent teacher who is from the DuMond lineage and study with them.

  3. What specific color mixtures (percentages) do you use when you tube paint for portraiture? Do you pre-mix both light and shadow colors?

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    To answer your question yes, both the light and shadow colors are premixed and tubed. Some prefer to only pre-mix and tube the light flesh tones, but I find it advantageous to have the shadow colors pre-mixed and tubed as well. The shadow colors are derived through various combinations of blue, red and orange. Whilst the light flesh tones are derived from gray, yellow, orange and various reds. The percentages of what specific colors are applied to what is rather difficult to relay in text. It is something that if seen would translate and be better explained as well as understood. I hope that gives you some information to work with. Sorry I couldn't be more precise with the percentages. :)


  5. I have always wanted to try tubeing my own paints, but have never been able to find the tubes. Do you have a link where they can be found?

  6. Hi Debbie,

    Here is a link to Dickblick's online store. This should bring right to a page that offers empty paint tubes for purchase! Happy tubing!


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