Helpful resources on the Munsell color notation system

Albert Munsell created this numerical description of the three attributes of a color over 100 years ago. Understanding the principles behind the Munsell color notation system helps you as an artist to see and mix paints. It is a helpful tool for your art.

This is a collection of valuable Munsell resources for learning to define, see and match colors. Find websites on color theory for artists & instructional videos below.

Buy the Hue Value Chroma Munsell Color Charts now and use these along the presented exercises.

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Munsell resources / instructions / links

Color theory for Artists:

The Dimensions of Color by Dr David. J.C. Briggs

Color Theory Simulation – Online tool & exercises

Color IQ Test – Test your color vision with this online tool

Free eBook (Public Domain) – “A Color Notation” by Albert H. Munsell (different file formats; Project Gutenberg)
Munsell Apps for iOS – Munsell DG (AppStore), Grayscale Converter (AppStore)


Demystifying color theory – Detailed descripton of a Munsell workshop by Graydon Parrish with insights into exercises to master color mixing.

Carrol Lamberts attended a Munsell workshop by Graydon Parrish and wrote a review about her experiences and the exercises

Color mixing principles

Paul Foxton ( talks in this video about general color mixing principles and how to get the realistic look. This video is from this great post “A Blue Lemon: Why Understanding Colour is the Key to Realism“. Read how Paul painted a realistic appearing blue lemon by controlling color with Munsell.

Make sure to check out his website where he gives inspiration and practical advice for aspiring realist artists. He also offers courses on color mixing.

Introduction to Munsell

Paul Foxton explains in this video the attributes hue, value and chroma of any color as described in the Munsell color notation system.
Some general advice and how Paul learned about color mixing after Munsell in the post “Colour is Easier to Learn Than You Think: Here’s How“.


Only by mastering values an artist is capable of greating a realistic looking image. Watch how Paul Foxton paints a still life with simple shaped objects just in tones of grey and how he makes a realistic representation of the still life – just without color.

A two part video: Mixing neutrals Exercise – Making a value scale Part 1, Part 2 (YouTube)

Matching a Munsell neutral chip (Vimeo)

Matching a specific color

See how a specific given color (5GY) is mixed. First comes the value of the color then the hue and eventually the chroma will be adjusted in the mixing process.

Read in the post “Three Simple Steps to Mixing Any Colour You Need” how Paul is mixing a skin tone from start to finish with detailed step by step explanation.

Matching colors

Watch this quick demonstration of how to mix the color of a lemon.

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Not sure if your printer is capable of printing these color charts? Download this reference and print it out. If all swatches are visible and the print looks like the file on the computer screen then your printer should be capable of printing the color charts.