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Ivory black or Mars black?

What is the difference between Ivory Black and Mars Black?

Ivory black or Mars black?

Which is the best pigment?

Black pigments

There are two categories of black pigments: one based on carbon and the other based on iron oxide.

They have general characteristics that are quite different: Carbon-based pigments, the majority, are slow-drying (unless drying agents are added during the production process) and more transparent.


On the other hand, Mars Black, the only iron-based pigment, is opaque and quick-drying.

So remember:


Ivory Black

(Carbon, Pigment PBk 9) is semi-transparent, the most common of the blacks, a brownish black, high density.


Mars Black

(Iron Oxide Black / Pigment PBk 11) is opaque, fast drying, slightly warm, but the most neutral of common blacks, with very high tinting power.





By mixing white with black, it is possible to produce both warm or cold hues.


I like to have one of each handy so that I can create either a transparent black or an opaque black as I need it.


Noir d'ivoire ou noir de mars
Ivory and Mars Black

Angel, from Mixarts Painting School : beginner and advanced painting classes for all styles.



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