Basic Color Theory for Artists

Basic Color Theory for Artists

It’s important to know color theory when you are creating, especially when you are using paint. If you don’t understand how to mix colors, which colors look best next to each other, or the way they are perceived, you may end up with an underwhelming piece of art.

Primary colors cannot be made by mixing other colors. These colors are:

RED

BLUE

YELLOW

It is best if your palette has at least these three colors.

Secondary colors are made by mixing two of the three primary colors. These colors are created by mixing:

YELLOW + RED = ORANGE

BLUE + YELLOW = GREEN

BLUE + RED = PURPLE

To create brown, mix all three primary colors together.

To create pink, mix white and red together.

Other ways of mixing colors include using white to make a color lighter and black can make a color darker but you have to be careful with it because it can become muddy.

Colors across from each other on the color wheel are called complementary colors. These include:

ORANGE AND BLUE

GREEN AND RED

PURPLE AND YELLOW

When using these together, be careful not to overwhelm the art with them. They can create a very jarring look.

Colors next to each other on the color wheel are called analogous colors. These colors work nice with each other and create a softer look. Think of a sunset having yellow, orange and red.

These are the basics of color theory for you to get started on your creation. There is a lot more to it but I just wanted to provide you with the basics so you could get started right away.