Mix Paints to Make New Custom Colours

Creating that perfect shade of orange or pink can be a daunting roadblock for the artist who may not know where to begin when putting their colour palette together. Thankfully, nearly all colors in the spectrum can be created from just a few basic colors.

COLOUR WHEEL

Learning the color wheel will give you the foundation you need to produce any hue you desire.There are 3 primary pigment colors: red, blue, and yellow. These colors can’t be “made” by mixing other paint colors. However, they can be mixed together to form the 3 secondary pigment colors: red and blue make violet, blue and yellow make green, and red and yellow make orange.  By learning the primary and secondary colors and understanding how they act when mixed together (whether they’re additive or subtractive), you can know how to mix colors appropriately in any situation.

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COLOUR CHARTS

Colour charts are extremely useful when it comes to painting. They allow you to see every available colour you can make with the pigments you already have. This takes the guesswork out of mixing brand new colours for painting.  Make a colour chart for your next project using the colours you already on hand.  See what new colours you can create!

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TO MAKE BROWN PAINT

Combine all of the primary colors to make brown paint. Brown paint can be made by mixing equal portions of all 3 of the primary colors together. It can also be made by combining any 2 complements.

  • If the brown you are making is leaning too much toward a particular color, neutralize it by adding a little of the color opposite it.

TO MAKE BLACKISH PAINT

Mix brown paint with blue paint to make black paint. The simplest way to make black paint is to mix the brown paint you just made with blue paint until it produces the tone of black you’re going for. You can also make black by mixing the 3 primary colors together but simultaneously adding a greater proportion of blue into the mix.

  • Make sure you don’t add any white or any color that has white in it, like opaque yellow or opaque yellow-green, as this will make your black more like a shade of gray.

 

RYB Color Chart

 

TO MAKE TINTS (PASTELS)

Add white to different pigments to make tints. Tints are are simply lighter versions of a color’s original hue. To make a color lighter and create a tint, add white paint to it. The more white paint you add to a pigment, the lighter the tint will be.

  • For example, adding white paint to red paint creates pink, which is a lighter version of red.
  • If you add too much white paint to a pigment and create a tint that is too light, you can add more of the original hue to the mix to darken the pigment again.

TO MAKE SHADES

Make shades of colors by adding black to them. Darker versions of a color’s original hue are called shades. These are created by adding black paint to a pigment. How dark the shade is depends on how much black paint you add to the original hue; the more black paint you add, the darker the shade.

  • Some artists prefer to add the color’s complement, which is its opposite color on a  color wheel. For example, green can be used to darken magenta, and magenta to darken green, because they are across from each other on the color wheel.
  • Add black paint, or a complement, a little at a time so you don’t overdo it. If your shade comes out too dark, you can lighten it by adding a little of the original paint color to the mix.

HOW TO MAKE TONES

Mix a color with both black and white paint to produce dull, muted tones. Tones are produced by adding both black and white to a color and will appear less intense and less saturated than the original hue. By varying the relative amounts of black and white that you add to your mix, you can obtain whatever lightness and saturation you are looking for.

  • For example, add both white and black to yellow to make light olive green. The black will darken yellow, turning it into olive green, and the white will lighten that olive green. Different light olive greens can be mixed by controlling how much of each is added.
  • For an unsaturated color like brown (dark orange), you can adjust the hue the same way as you would for bright orange: by adding small amounts of nearby colors on the color wheel, such as magenta, yellow, red, or orange. These will brighten your brown as well as change the hue.