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New Colours In The Block...

Block Ink group new

You probably already know that this non-toxic, water based ink, with its dense pigment and smooth texture, is completely Australian made and works beautifully with rollers on lino, rubber, metal and wood. But you may not know that we’ve made a few changes ,...for the better.

While the Derivan Block Ink range is already available in 10 brilliant colours, we’ve added three new hues including the addition of a cool red –Crimson– and a cool yellow –Lemon Yellow. We already had a warm red –Red– and a warm yellow –Yellow– in the range, so we wanted to pair them with their “Cool” counterparts to make mixing colours easier, as warm and cool colours work best when mixed with members of their own bias. So while we are only adding two actual options to our primary colours, the colours mixing possibilities are numerous!

go to cool and warm


Other major improvements to Derivan’s Block Ink colour range, is the introduction of an extra new colour and a make-over for another.

change over


We updated our Brown colour. Previously, it was just, well… brown. So what we’ve done is to slightly fine-tune its pigment content and changed its name to reflect this adjustment and better place it within the colour spectrum wheel - now named Burnt Umber. This natural brown tone or reddish-brown earth colour has more depth and versatility, and dries to a deeper, but in some ways, softer brown distantly reminiscent of sepia pigments.

Then there’s our new Turquoise, a colour description taken form the stone with the same name - did you know that the word Turquoise comes from the French word for Turkish, as the stone was originally imported from there.
Use it to add alternative blue colours to your prints or mix with either our Cool or Warm blue to create interesting colour gradients.



Like all Derivan Block Inks, Burnt Umber and Turquoise can be mixed with any of the colours in the range and is water-soluble when wet.
The one thing that has not changed is that our entire Block Ink range remains water based and is easily cleaned up with soap and water. No need to use any chemical nasties!

So check out the new additions to Derivan Block Ink range at your local art store. When it comes to creating the ideal block colour palette, we’re definitely getting cooler.

New Derivan Block Ink Colours hue comparison

yellow vs cool yellow   red vs crimson
New Block Ink Lemon Yellow (cool) on the left and existing Yellow shade on the right
New Block Ink Crimson (cool red) on the left and existing Red shade on the right


What are Warm and Cool colours

Generally speaking, from an artistic point of view, there is no universal classification or agreed standard rating system that, with certainty, will designate colours as “warm” or “cool” within the colour spectrum wheel.
Colour temperature classification is relative but in a broad sense, it is perceived that warm colours can be found within the yellows, oranges and reds range, while the cool colours are found within the greens, blues and violets range.
But the warm and cool differences don’t really stop there. Each colour itself can actually have a warm and a cool version, depending upon how close it is on the colour wheel to the warm and cool designations.

One of Derivan’s publications, THE COLOUR BOOK – Keeping It Simple, has a comprehensive but yet clear and concise explanation on colour theory. It is all about colour, its properties and relationship between the light colour spectrum, pigments and paint.


warm cool wheel
From one of the pages of this book, the diagrams above shows the colours of the spectrum turned into a basic circle shape, or colour wheel, to represent the association between warm and cool colours.


At the point of meeting, red is the warmest colour and violet is the coolest. Therefore a warm tone of yellow is closest to what is designated as the warm side of the colour wheel, where as a cool tone of yellow is closer to the cool side of the colour wheel.
In terms of colour mixing, the warm yellow will have more red in it and the cool yellow will have more of a blue undertone.


Why are Cool and Warm Colours Important?

The use of either a cool or warm colours can create a different mood on an artwork. As the name suggests, warm colours produce a sense of warms and heat. They also are more prominent to the eye and appear to “come closer”. By contrast, cool colours recede more and have a colder, sombre feel about them. Think about what you want the viewer to feel when they see your print.

Warm and cool colours can also be linked to the subject of your artwork. For example, if you were creating a block print of a woman crying silently, the use of Derivan Phthalo Blue Block Ink, instead of Ultra Blue Block Ink, might enhance the emotion of the subject that you want to convey. Phthalo Blue has a cooler undertone and will therefore promote the dark desperate emotions of the woman more than a more lively blue with a warmer undertone like Ultra Blue.

In some cases the alternatives may not be as evident as one might expect. If you did a print of a sunset, for example, straight Yellow or Red Derivan Block Ink might seem to be obvious choices. But what if that sunset was in a winter area? Perhaps a cool red (Crimson) and cool yellow (Lemon Yellow) in its range could be a better option.

Although these are not defined rules, they are worth considering in relation to your subject and the emotion you want to convey. The idea is to experiment and see what works best for you.

That is where real creativity starts…, begins when you start experimenting!