Colours I’m bringing to USk Symposium Auckland

The Urban Sketchers Symposium 2023 will be happening in Auckland, New Zealand, from April 19 to 22.

The last time I was at the USk Symposium was back in 2019 in Amsterdam. The symposium for 2020 did not happen in Hong Kong due to the protests, and later with Covid all symposiums were postponed. I’ve been waiting so long to be able to go to another USk symposium.

I’ll be in Auckland from April 17 to 25 and I’m there as the official video correspondent. By the way, subscribe to the Urban Sketchers Youtube channel and my Twitter page to follow my daily coverage.

Since this is a sketching trip for me as well, I will also bring my sketching kit.

I decided to swap out some of the colours I’ve been using for years for some new ones for this trip. By new colours, I means colours that I’ve not use in this particular watercolour box, Portable Painter palette, that I always bring overseas.


My current colours are:

  1. DS Lemon Yellow (PY75)
  2. DS New Gamboge (PY97 + PY110)
  3. DS Yellow Ochre (PY43
  4. DS Quinacridone Red (PV19
  5. DS Quinacridone Magenta (PR202)
  6. DS Permanent Brown (PBr25)
  7. DS Phthalo Blue (PB15:3)
  8. DS French Ultramarine (PB29)
  9. DS Cerulean Blue Chromium (PB36)
  10. DS Sap Green (PO48 + PY150 + PG7)
  11. DS Phthalo Green (PY7)
  12. DS Burnt Sienna (PBr7)

To make this palette more versatile, I’ll be replacing Sap Green, Phthalo Green and Quinacridone Magenta.


The new colours added are DS Azo Yellow PY151, Schmincke Cobalt Blue Deep PB74 and DS Anthraquinoid Scarlet PR168.

Instead of having secondary colours like green, I’m adding three more primary colours. With more primary colours, it’s possible to mix more colours, and it’s also easier to stick to a limited colour palette when mixing. More primary colours also mean the paint should last me for the whole 8 days.


I haven’t been using Quinacridone Magenta much and can’t even remember the reason why it’s in the box. I still have Quinacridone Red PV19 and that can mix a violet or purple with either French Ultramarine or Cobalt Blue Deep.


For mixing darker colours and black, I can use Phthalo Blue with Permanent Brown PBr25 or Anthraquinoid Scarlet. Permanent Brown can be mixed into a nice gray.


Cobalt Blue Deep PB74 is a nice alternative to Ultramarine except it’s very expensive. I like PB74 for the intense granulation. You probably can’t see the difference in the comparison above with Cobalt Blue Deep vs French Ultramarine but trust me when you’re colouring your sketch with Cobalt Blue Deep, you will see a clear difference.

When painting colour swatches or mixes, it’s difficult to see the potential of the colours. You really have to use them for your art to see how the colours behave in the real world. That also means when it comes to sketching trips, it’s better to bring colours you’re familiar with.

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