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Understanding Color Theory


Here are a few questions. Is white a color? What about black? Do you remember your primary, secondary, and tertiary colors? Knowing what colors are needed to create other colors can help when painting, using colored pencils, or deciding which colors to combine for your home décor, and in your crafting or scrapbooking projects as well.

Color theory is simply the guidance necessary to mix colors, and the impact color combinations can have on the person looking at a piece of artwork. Some believe color theory began as early as the mid-to-late 1400s, but most agree it developed with the declaration of primary colors. In case you don’t remember, the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. They cannot be created by mixing colors. It is from these colors, however, that all other colors have their origin.

When you mix two primary colors you arrive at a secondary color. Red and blue makes purple, red and yellow makes orange, and blue and yellow makes green. Once you mix three colors together, such as orange, orange, and yellow, you get a tertiary color. Which tertiary color you get will depend on which primary colors you combine and in which proportion.

Most people consider black and white to be colors. Actually they’re not. You can’t make black or white by mixing other colors together. These are considered hues or shades. When you add black to a color, you darken that color; conversely, when you add white, you lighten the original color.

Colors also have a tendency to be either warm or cool. Reds and yellows, as a general rule, are considered warmer colors. Blues, on the other hand, are considered cooler colors. While there are different types of primary colors, you will always get a secondary color when mixing two primary colors together. Look at the colors opposite of each other on your color wheel; those are called complimentary colors. So, the complimentary color for red is green, blue is orange, and yellow is purple.

Why do you need to know about color theory and how will it help you as a crafter or artist? You may not realize what you need to know about color theory if you decide to take up painting. However, what you know and remember can definitely affect the finished artwork, or the overall feeling of whatever crafting project you apply it to.


Image credit: Leopard Print

Some helpful tools for using color in your crafts:

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April 10, 2012 This post was written by Categories: Craft PaintingCrafty TechnologyProject Ideas & Articles Tagged with:

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