Colour theory is a vital component in developing an understanding of the visual arts. Colour is one of the main formal elements.
There are 3 primary colours, red, blue and yellow, and 3 secondary colours to remember, orange, purple and green. Mixing these colours in a variety of different ratios/quantities can create thousands of new colours (hues, tones, shades and tints). Developing basic colour theory and colour wheel knowledge will enhance your work, creativity and ideas. Once you have mastered basic colour theory the possibilities in colour are endless. This can help create individuality and develop your own unique style.
The basic colour wheel is a circular chart which is divided into segments, each showing the main primary and secondary colours. The basic colour wheel below shows the colours in a sequence. The key thing to remember about the colour wheel sequence is the 2 primary colours which make its secondary colour are on either side of it on the colour wheel. E.G. red and yellow are on either side of orange, because red and yellow mixed together create orange.
RED + BLUE = PURPLE, YELLOW + RED = ORANGE and BLUE + YELLOW = GREEN. Mixing all 3 primary colours together makes BROWN.
|Basic Colour Wheel|
There are 2 types of primary colours, warm and cool, 2 reds, 2 blues and 2 yellows. Mixing these can create a basic collection of 4 oranges, 4 purples and 4 greens.
|Warm and Cool, Primary and Secondary Colours|
Once you have mastered the basic colour theory and colour wheel, its time to move on and look at the tertiary colours and complementary colours.
Complementary colours are those least alike on the colour wheel. They appear opposite each other on the colour wheel. Remember if you do not know the sequence of colours on your colour wheel you will not know your complementary colours, here are two other rules to help you remember them. They consist of one primary colour and one secondary colour (a pair). The primary colour can not be used to makes the secondary colour in a complementary pair. One colour is primary and the other is a secondary colour.
|Complementary Colour Pairs|
Below are a few examples of colour wheels showing primary, secondary and tertiary colours.
The best why to understand and develop skills in mixing colour and colour theory is to have a go and mix your own. No cheating... only use red, yellow and blue. See how many secondary colours and or tertiary colours you can come up with!
Until next time :)