Titanium White vs Zinc White
by WILL KEMP
Titanium White is an opaque white, Zinc White is a transparent white.
If you’re working with more transparent layers or very subtle shifts in tone, such as portraiture, Zinc white can be extremely useful on your palette. It can give you slight shifts in tone for more subtle mixes. However, when you’re first starting colour mixing or building up vibrant solid blocks of colour, it’s the wrong choice of white to use.
Here you can see the comparative covering power of both whites. A swatch of paint is painted over the three black lines manufacturers print onto paint tubes so you can judge the relative opacity/transparency of a pigment.
And here you can see the difference in volume between these two mixes.
I started with the same amount of Phthalo blue (green shade) and then added either Zinc white or Titanium white to lift the value (light or dark) of the paint mix.
I needed about 5 to 6 times the amount of Zinc white to achieve a match for the Titanium white resulting in a massive volume of paint – I should point out that these are both Artist Quality grade paints.
So if you want to shift tones quickly with good opacity, use a Titanium white. If you want a more subtle change of colour mixing opt for a Zinc white.
Hobby Craft Hobby Range – 75ml – £3.00 rrp – found for £1.50 online.
Winsor & Newton Galeria Range – 60ml – A nice range of student quality paints – £3.85 rrp – found for £1.95 online
Daler Rowney Artists’ Acrylic – 75ml – £6.95 rrp £4.20 for 75ml online
Winsor & Newton Artists’ Acrylic £6.75 – 60ml £5.10 online
Golden Artists’ Acrylic paints – 60ml £7.50rrp £5.70 (£4.50 on sale)
So next time you’re at the art store looking longingly at a vivid Magenta, spare a thought for your Titanium white as it can help your painting more than you think!
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