The color wheel

For most artists, one of the first concepts you’ll learn is how to use the color wheel. So, we thought we’d give a crash course on the color wheel…right here on our blog. The color wheel, based on the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, is divided into 12 quadrants, as shown here. Red, yellow, and blue are considered primary colors because they can’t be mixed or formed by any other colors. Instead, all other colors are derived from these three hues. Secondary colors, which are formed by mixing the primary colors, are green, orange, and purple. And rounding out the Color Wheel, are tertiary colors – formed by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. Tertiary colors are named by their primary and secondary color combinations, and include yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow green.

color wheel

One practical application of the color wheel is using it to determine complimentary colors. For example, if you want to repaint a room in your house and would like to use two colors that are pleasing to the eye, you could choose complimentary colors based on the color wheel. To find a match, simply select the colors that are directly opposite from each other on the color wheel. For example, red and green, blue and orange, and red-purple and yellow-green, are all complimentary color matches. For new artists, we hope that gives you a jumpstart into color theory!

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