Forget Fifty: 5 Shades of Grey Every Artist Needs

by Cass Art

Fifty Shades of Grey has, whether book-lovers like it or not, become a literary phenomenon. A success story of self-publishing, the rights were acquired by Vintage Books in 2012 and the trilogy became an international bestseller. People loved it, hated it, couldn't wait to talk about it; people read it in secret, on the tube, in their book clubs across the globe.

It was given away for free at the London Book Fair, and there were even documentaries made about it. Suddenly erotic fiction spin offs could be found lining the shelves of every mainstream book shop in the UK. Of course, all of this led to the creation of a film, which was released last week starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey. 

But forget fifty shades! All any artist needs in their life is five shades of grey - beautifully illustrated by Winsor & Newton in this blog. Here at Cass Art, lovers of colour, champions of Payne's Grey in particular (it's one of our beloved tote bags), we wanted to delve a little deeper into the mysteries of...well, the colour grey.

Call us prudes. We're sticking with art supplies.
Payne's Grey

1. Charcoal Gray
A dark grey the colour of oil, or burned wood. The first recorded use of the colour name in English was as far back as 1606.

2. Davy's Gray
Made from iron oxide, powdered slate and carbon black, this shade was named after the English Landscape painter Henry Davy. 

3. Payne's Grey
Hooray - a Cass Art favourite and one of our tote bag colours. A dark blye-grey shade, Payne's Grey is often used instead of black. It's named after William Payne, the late 18th century watercolourist.

4. Silver
A metallic grey that represents the polished metal of silver. It can't be represented on screen but the shine and sparkle is found in all our silver art materials. 

5. Pewter 
Silver-grey and semi-opaque, pewter relates to the grey of the metal alloy and is often used in interior design.

Check them all out, beautifully illustrated by Winsor & Newton...

Winsor & Newton 5 Shades of Grey 


Sick of Christian but still love grey? We've got just the things...

1. ArtGraf Extra Large Watersoluble Graphite Stick

ArtGraf graphite stick

It's big, it's beautiful, it's the innovative ArtGraf homemade water-soluble graphite. Perfect for shading large areas, and for gestural, broad strokes, this is a must-have for life-drawing or any large sketches. 

2. Jakar Charcoal Set of 12 Grey

Jakar Charcoal

With a range of strong, vibrant tones, this is fine quality charcoal that will give you long-lasting results. From light grey to black and at an excellent price, you'll have maximum control over your drawings with this set of 12. 

3. Winsor & Newton Silver Ink

Silver ink from Winsor & Newton

The choice of illustrators and calligraphists since the 1890s, the Winsor & Newton inks are made with soluble dyes. The silver is permanent and water-resistant when dry. Bring some delicate sparkle to your drawings with this little pot of liquid joy.

4. Faber-Castell Pitt Pens Set of 6 Grey

Pitt Pens Grey

 With a mixture of cold and warm greys, the Pitt Artist Pens are great for all kinds of drawing. With brush-like nibs and permanent, lightfast Indian ink, you use them to create both narrow and broad strokes and enjoy the durable nature of these high-quality pens. 

5. Montana Spray Paint Silver Chrome

Montana Spray Paint

Need to shower something with silver? The Montana Spray Paint is quick-drying and offers brilliant, opaque shades, great for covering large areas of colour quickly.

Feeling inspired?

Shop all Winsor & Newton art materials here

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