A Lesson in: THE COLOR WHEEL

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1 WEdesignstudios.com A Lesson in: THE COLOR WHEEL Let s take a look at the color wheel! Most people have probably seen the color wheel before. But perhaps it s never been explained. This lesson will help you understand the color wheel and begin to see the true colors around you. Let s get started!

2 There s a lot happening on the full color wheel, so let s take a look at the primary colors: Red, Yellow and Blue. Primary colors are the three basic colors that our eyes can see. These three colors can not be created by combining other colors. Red Yellow blue However, with these three colors you can make an endless array of other colors. It is totally possible to create a painting with all the colors of the rainbow using only red, yellow, blue and a little bit of white. You can create all of the darks and lights you need by altering the color ratios!

3 Next, let s look at the secondary colors: Orange, Green and Purple. These three colors are created by combining the primary colors. orange VIOLET green Yellow + red red + blue blue + Yellow = orange = violet = green By using just the primaries you can have a total of six colors!

4 Now let s check out the rest of the colors. These other colors are called tertiary colors. They are created by combining a primary with a secondary color. red orange red violet yellow orange blue violet yellow green blue green Notice that the primary colors are listed as the first color in the combination. They are listed first because they are the dominant color. This doesn t mean that when you mixed up your paints you added more red than orange. What it means is that orange is made using yellow and red and therefore the resulting tertiary color you mix up will have more red. Think about it, there is no possible way to create a red/orange that is predominantly orange.

5 Next we ll look at the complimentary colors. They are the colors across from one another on the color wheel: Red + Green Yellow + Purple Blue + Orange Together, these two opposite colors can do a variety of things. For example they compliment each other, they look good together. They offer balance and make each other appear brighter. And when combined equally they create a neutral grey/black or brown.

6 One of the best things you can do with complimentary colors is create a wide range of different colors by combining more of one than the other. When you do this you will be able to change the hue of the dominant color. For example, if you want to create a darker red, add a bit of green. You ll be surprised by how the color changes: + = However, be aware that the way the red is darkened depends on the type of green used. If the green is more of a yellow-green, the resulting red will have a more orange look to it. If the green is more of a blue-green, the resulting red will have a more purple look to it. This is true with all the colors on the color wheel and presents a great opportunity to experiment and see just how many values you can create. + = + = blue green yellow green

7 By using the information on the color wheel you can begin to train your eye to see colors in a whole new way. Let s take a look at this leaf for a moment: Upon first seeing it, most would say it was green. But take a moment to really look at it. Can you see the yellow in it? What about the blue? If you were to draw this leaf with colored pencils, you wouldn t just color it flat green. You may add some brilliant blue to help define an edge, or color an entire area yellow because that s the color it really is, even though your mind sees it as all green. The more you observe your surroundings the greater the variety of colors you will notice in everyday objects.

8 For most people who aren t familiar working with color, their first instinct may be to add black to a color to make it darker. When you are painting or drawing, you may see a shadow on a red table cloth and want to add black to make it darker. But really take a look. If you just add a bit of green to that red, you will achieve a much more realistic shadow. Try it out! I never use black in my paintings and drawings, even if I am painting an object that is black. I find that I can create a much richer, interesting black by combining colors rather than just using what comes out of a tube. It provides variation, which is a more accurate portrayal of the object. If you look at a dark or black object, it s not all black. You will notice different colors. Begin to train your eye to look for these different colors.

9 Understanding the color wheel and how different colors work together will inform your art and design. It also comes in handy when putting together an outfit! Print out the chart on the next page and keep your color wheel by your desk, in your creative space or on your fridge. Get to know it well. Color is everywhere, so take notice and enjoy it!

10 red orange orange yellow orange yellow yellow green red red violet Violet blue violet blue blue green green wedesignstudios.com

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