|"Indian pigments" by Dan Brady -
Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Pigments are usually chosen for their high tinting strength relative to the material they are coloring. Pigments differ from dyes in that they are insoluble in the vehicle they are coloring, whereas dyes are soluble, or they dissolve in the vehicle. For art and many commercial applications such as fabric coloration and car manufacturing, it is ideal for pigments to be permanent. Pigments that are not permanent are called fugitive.
In paint-making, pigments are combined with a binder and a vehicle to create a medium. Before the invention of paint tubes, artists used to always make their own paint, purchasing pigments and supplies from local alchemists. These days, pigments can be purchased individually for artists that want to make their own paint or pastels, at the sellers listed below.
"From prehistory through to the present, paint has been defined simply as pigment -- a range of colors in a finely powdered state (from inorganic, natural organic, and synthetic sources) -- in conjunction with a binding medium (such as wax, egg, casein, oil, acrylic resin, or gum arabic) to hold the pigment and fix it to a support. The binding media affect the paints' handling and provide diverse effects. For instance, oil, acylic, and wax bring out the depth and intensity of the pigments, imparting them with a different color quality than they have in the dry state, whereas casein and gum arabic have little visual effect on the pigment colors." pg. 102, Krug.
There are so many fine art resources to find out more technical information about pigments and how they are used in paint and pastel making; I've listed many below, but feel free to share other links in the comments for me to add.
Technical and Chemical Information:
- Forbes Pigment Database via MFA Boston
- Pigments: Historical, Chemical and Artistic Importance of Coloring Agents
- Pigments Through the Ages
- Color of Art: Pigment Database
- Society of Dyers and Colourists
Books & Videos
- National Gallery of Art U.K. -- a beautiful video on the science used to identify the raw ingredients of paint
- Alchemy's Rainbow: Pigment Science and Art of Conservation
- The Creation of Color in Eighteenth Century Europe by Sarah Lowengard
- Colors: The Story of Dyes and Pigments by Bernard Guineau & Francois Delaware
- Pigment Compendium by Eastaugh, Walsh, Chaplin, Siddall
- Artist Pigments: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics (Vol 1.- 4)
- Natural Colorants for Dying and Lake Pigments by Kirby, Bommel, Verhecken
For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.
- Krug, Margaret. An Artist's Handbook: Materials and Techniques. Laurence King Publishing, London. 2007.