There are several ways to give the white clay the desired shade, and now I will tell you about them.
The first and the simplest is to mix a piece of colored clay with a piece of white clay. The proportions are determined by the color saturation - the darker or the color is brighter - the more colored clay we use in this mixture. Pluses - it is convenient, do not get dirty hands and the table. Minuses - we are limited to the colors of colored clay. For example, the red shade of clay is not red, but crimson. You can mix red (crimson) with yellow, it will turn redder, but still not pure bright red. To achieve a red color, you have to paint the petals before the assembly, or the entire flower after, if its structure allows. It is not convenient, and takes a lot of time. Also, colored clay tend to fade when it dries, and a beautiful burgundy color can turn into brown, and purple to gray. But this happens only with dark and bright shades. The light colors is ok.
The second way to get the right color is using dry pure pigments. Take a piece of white clay, tear off a piece of it, dip it into a jar with a pigment, and mix it with the remaining piece of white, mix it until smooth. Repeat the procedure several times until the desired degree of color saturation is obtained. To reduce the volatility of the pigment, the dipped piece can be moistened with water - so more pigment sticks to this piece and denser holds, thereby the process accelerates and becomes a little more convenient, since clay drying and less flowability are prevented.
From the pros - the color turns out very pure and bright, the red shades do not require additional painting, the color does not fade and does not go dark. From the cons-, the process is quite long and dirty, the pigment crumbles, clay can dry out with very long stirring, hands get dirty (but well washed). I recommend mixing a pack of white clay with a pigment of the right color right away and place it into a sealed bag. So you will save yourself some time later. My favorites in pigments are Red, Orange, Ultramarine, Eucalyptus green and Yellow Ochre. Such beautiful colors can not be made from colored clay.
The third way is best used if you need a light, gentle shade - then we put a little acrylic gouache into the clay. Do not acrylic, do not oil paint, but only Acryl Gouache. I'll explain why. Each paint consists of a pigment and a binder, and all have different proportions of these components. Acrylic gouache contains a lot of pigment and little binder, so a small amount of paint is enough to paint a decent piece of clay. We are talking about light shades now, remember? Due to the small content of the binder, the paint does not change the composition of the clay, and, accordingly, the properties. In acrylic paint, the story is different - it has much more binding and less pigment, which means that to get the right shade we need to mix a much larger amount of paint, and therefore a binder, which inevitably changes the composition of the clay, and unfortunately its properties - the clay begins to stick to the hands and molds, loses its elasticity, and it becomes impossible to mold something out of it. The same story occurs if we interpose oil paint in clay-its composition is absolutely incompatible with clay, and when mixed, clay also ceases to be suitable for modeling. Having done a lot of experiments, and having spoiled more than one pack of clay, now I know exactly what should I do and do not.
Regardless of how you achieve the desired color, always make a piece of concentrate. This is a small piece of clay, in which we add colored clay / pigments / paints and make the color brighter than desired. Tearing off small pieces from it, and mixing them into a large piece of white clay, a little bit, you get the right degree of brightness without the risk of "overdoing." In addition, having a concentrate, you can put exactly the same color again, if you do not have enough.
I hope this information will be useful to you)) Next time I will talk about the theory of color and the color wheel, stay tuned!