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Pastel box


Watercolor set used by Claira Robbins
Windsor Newton artist colors
Indigo powder (Indigofera tinctoria)

An insoluble, dry solid that is pulverized to a fine powder then mixed with a binder to form a Paint, Ink, or Crayon. Pigments can provide both Color and Opacity. The type and composition of pigments has changed significantly over the years. Originating as materials pulverized from minerals, modern pigments are now synthetically processed to ensure purity. Pigments discontinued due to toxicity include most containing Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, and Lead. Titanium, used in Titanium white pigment as a 20th century replacement for Lead white, was listed as possibly carcinogenic in 2006.

Examples of inorganic pigments:

Examples of some organic pigments are:

Synonyms and Related Terms

pigments (pl., Fr.); pigmento (Esp., Port.);


Websites of pigment manufacturers

Resources and Citations

  • R.L. Feller, A. Roy, E. West Fizthugh, B. Berrie, Artists' pigments: A handbook of their history and characteristics (4 vol.), NGA (Washington DC) & Archetype Publications (London)