Color Wheel. How to Read a. Why Color is Important in Art

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1 Level: Beginner to Advanced Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8.5 Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 57.0 Drawspace Curriculum 8.3.R4-8 Pages and 18 Illustrations How to Read a Color Wheel Exploring the color wheel and six popular color schemes to create powerful color combinations Resources: 8.3.A5 Transform One Color into Five 8.3.A8 Make a Color Swatch Tool 8.3.A9 Create an Abstract Artwork This resource has three sections: Why Color is Important in Art Introduction to the Color Wheel Six Popular Color Schemes Why Color is Important in Art Color establishes the mood or emotion that you want to convey. ArtSpeak Analogous: A painting or drawing rendered using three colors that are alongside each other on the color wheel. Color Scheme: The placement of colors around the color wheel. Color Swatch: A tool used to compare color choices, their relationships, and their values for each color group on the color wheel. Dry-mixing: The process of using a dry medium such as colored pencil to mix two or more different colors together to make a new color. Monochromatic: A drawing or painting rendered with a range of values (or tints) of a single color. Tetradic: A painting or drawing rendered using two pairs of complementary colors placed around the color wheel forming a rectangle. Thumbnail Sketch: A preliminary sketch that s usually smaller than the planned size of the final drawing. Artists render thumbnails before beginning a drawing to work through potential problems with composition, values, perspective and/or proportions. Triadic: A painting or drawing rendered using any three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel forming a triangle. Abstract: A style of art that may not depict a person, place or thing. In some cases, the subject exists in reality but may be unrecognizable in the artwork. Artists use line, color, value, form, pattern and/or shape to create the subjects of abstract drawings.

2 2 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel Bright colors tend to may make people feel happy, while darker colors tend to make them feel sad. Cool colors like blue are reminiscent of water, the sky, or sitting in the cool shade on a veranda. Warm colors like red are reminiscent of hot things like fire, love, or anger. In some cultures, purple symbolizes royalty. Color affects everyone in a personal way. For example, pale pink might make you think of little girls; whereas it might remind someone else of sun-burned skin or a certain food they disliked as a child. Green might make you think of lush cool rainforests, but to someone else, it might symbolize envy. Using color strategically adds depth to your drawings. You can use it to make some aspects of your artwork appear close up, and others appear far away. Understanding how color works helps to create a mood and the illusion of depth in your colored pencil drawings. How do you know what colors you like? 1. On a sheet of paper, list six or more colors. 2. Beside each color, write down the things or feelings that you associate with it. Does it make you happy or sad? Does it remind you of something? Tip! Creating gray with colored pencils is challenging. To compensate for this, manufacturers premix many different grays for you. For example, Prismacolor has 18 different grays to choose from. Introduction to the Color Wheel Figure 1 Sir Isaac Newton invented the first color wheel in the mid- 1600s. Throughout the years, many artists and scientists have designed variations of it; however, for art, the basic twelvecolor wheel shown in Figure 1 is the most common. The layout of the color wheel helps you: mix colors. see relationships between different colors. create harmonious color combinations.

3 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel 3 To help you read the color wheel, examine Figure 2 and note the following: The three points of the solid gray triangle in the centre point to the primary colors. The three points of the dotted gray triangle point to the secondary colors. Two primary colors are mixed together to create a secondary color. For example, mix yellow and red together to make orange. In between each primary color and secondary colors is a tertiary color. A primary color and a secondary color are mixed together to create a tertiary color. For example, mix primary yellow and orange together to make yellow orange. Half of the colors are warm and half are cool. The warm half includes all of the colors with red in them and the cool half has all the colors with blue in them. Yellow and purple are either warm or cool depending on which primary color they sway towards. Complementary colors are opposite each other. For example, the color purple is directly across from (opposite) yellow in the color wheel. Yellow is the complement of purple. The following process is ideal for dry mixing colors: Step 1: Shade a square evenly using a primary blue colored pencil like 903 True Blue. Step 2: Evenly shade a primary red colored pencil like 924 Crimson Red over top to create secondary purple. Step 3: Add another layer of red colored pencil overtop to create tertiary red- purple. Now you are ready to create more secondary and tertiary colors! Figure 2 File # Aekikuis

4 4 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel The characteristics of color include: Figure 3 hue (color) value (lightness/ darkness) and chroma (intensity/ saturation). Make a colored pencil swatch (Figure 3) to easily compare all of your colors. Apply each colored pencil to quality paper using heavy, medium and light pressure so that you can compare values as well as the brightness or dullness of each color. Refer to 8.3.A8 Make a Color Swatch Tool for detailed instructions. Tip! You can darken, lighten, and create many new colors by layering (also known as dry-mixing) one or two colors overtop of another. Refer to 8.3.A5 Transform One Color into Five for detailed information on dry mixing techniques.

5 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel 5 Six Popular Color Schemes The color wheel has another very valuable purpose. It helps you to create color combinations (also known as color schemes) that look great together. The color wheel and your color swatch are handy reference guides. The color wheel shows the relationships between colors. Your color swatch helps you to choose hues, values, and intensities for a well-designed, harmonious artwork. There are many different color schemes available; the following are six of the most popular. Monochromatic A monochromatic color scheme (Figure 4) is rendered using a range of values of a single color on the color wheel. Artworks using this color scheme are easy to balance and simple to use. Figure 4 Figure 5 The monochromatic abstract drawing (Figure 5) uses light and dark values of primary red. Figure 6 Figure 7 Analogous An analogous color scheme (Figure 6) uses three colors that are located directly beside one another on the color wheel. Colored pencil artworks using this color scheme look vibrant. One of the three colors dominates the artwork (covers large areas). Another is a supporting color (covers medium-sized areas) and the third color is an accent color (used in very small areas). The analogous abstract drawing in Figure 7 uses different values of blue, blue-green, and green.

6 6 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel Complementary A complementary color scheme (Figure 8) uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This creates vibrancy and makes the colors sing. Choose one color, along with its darker and lighter tones, to dominate (cover larger areas). Its complement provides accents (used in smaller amounts). Figure 8 Figure 9 The complementary abstract drawing in Figure 9 uses purple and yellow. Split Complementary A split complementary color scheme (Figure 10) uses three colors: a main color along with two colors on either side of its complementary color on the color wheel. Figure 10 Figure 11 This color combination provides more harmony and less tension than the complementary color scheme. Tip! Colors that are warm, bright or light in value appear close up to the viewer. Colors that are cool, dull or dark in value appear to be farther away. The split complementary abstract drawing in Figure 11 uses different values of green to dominate and red-purple and red-orange as split complementary colors.

7 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel 7 Triadic A triadic color scheme (Figure 12) uses any three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel forming a triangle. Artworks designed in this color scheme have vibrancy and contrast. One color is usually chosen to dominate the other two. In the triadic abstract drawing in Figure 13, the yellow-green color dominates redorange and bluepurple. Figure 12 Figure 14 Figure 13 Figure 15 Tetradic The tetradic color scheme (Figure 14) uses two pairs of complementary colors. It is the richest of all the schemes and requires careful balance to be successful. One color is chosen to dominate the other three, which are subdued in comparison because their lighter and duller values are used are subdued by using their lighter and duller values. In the tetradic abstract drawing in Figure 15, the orange dominates green, blue and red. Choose one of the six color schemes to create your own abstract drawing similar to Figure 16. Refer to 8.3.A9 Create an Abstract Artwork for detailed instructions.

8 8 8.2.R4: How to Read a Color Wheel Figure 16 To experiment with a variety of colors and color schemes quickly and easily: Step 1: Draw a rough thumbnail sketch of a subject (Figure 17). Step 2: Decide on a color scheme. Step 3: Choose colored pencils from the color groups. Step 4: Lay a piece of tracing paper over a small rough thumbnail sketch of your drawing. Step 5: Try out the color scheme using the thumbnail underneath as a guide (Figure 18). Figure 17 Step 6: Move the tracing paper over to a clean area to try out a different color scheme. Continue this process until you ve decided which colors work best. Figure 18

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