Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (2023)

Seeking a a color mixing chart?

I love seeing all the colors in neat order, like a rainbow.

But do you know how you can use a color chart to get the specific colors you want?

This can be useful for business colors, interior color schemes, or for hobbies like painting and dyeing.

Let’s get to know the color mixing chart, and see what a powerful tool it can be!

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (1)

RYB vs RGB colors

First let’s clarify. This article is about the RYB color wheel used by artists and designers working with paint colors, pigments, or dyes.

Those could be acrylic paints, oil paints, house paint colors, hair or fabric dyes, etc.

But it’s not about the RGB color model that’s based on light.

The RYB color model is subtractive, which means colors get darker as you add more colors or blend them together. This is also true of CMYK ink colors used by printers.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (2)

The RGB system, which we won’t delve into here, is an additive system, which means colors get lighter as you add more color – since they are made of light! Makes sense, right?

You can see in the simple illustration below that the absence of RGB color is black, and the sum of it is white – or white light.

Now on to our primary story!

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (3)

What are primary colors?

Top of the list are the primary colors: the three colors that cannot be mixed from other colors.

In our traditional color wheel (RYB), that’s red, yellow, and blue These three colors are then used to mix virtually every other color.

The exception to this is white. While black is made by mixing all three primary colors together, white is the absence of color. In the RYB system, white is a bit more challenging.

(Video) COLOR THEORY BASICS: Use the Color Wheel & Color Harmonies to Choose Colors that Work Well Together

We’ll discuss black and white more later when we talk about shades, tints, and tones.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (4)

What are secondary colors?

Secondary colors are colors that you obtain by mixing two of the primary colors together.

There are three main ones: orange, violet (or purple), and green.

You mix red and blue to get violet, red and yellow to get orange, and blue and yellow to get green.

Of course, there are yet more colors.

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What are tertiary colors?

Tertiary colors are created by mixing two colors on a color wheel, one primary and one secondary.

These are sometimes known as fractional colors because they aren’t as pure as primary or secondary.

These are the type of colors seen in nature, where the very brightest shades are less common.

The main ones are:

  • Yellow orange or amber
  • Red orange or vermillion
  • Red violet or magenta
  • Blue violet or purple
  • Blue green or teal
  • Yellow green or chartreuse

Each sits between the primary and secondary color on the wheel. So yellow orange is found between yellow and orange, while blue violet sits between blue and violet.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (6)

Admittedly there’s a lot of confusion in the nomenclature of purple vs. violet. You might even be curious to know what color is indigo!

Understanding the color wheel

We’ve mentioned the color wheel as we talked about these types of colors, but let’s take a moment to better understand it.

The color wheel is a color mixing guide that helps to understand how colors work together.

There’s lots of different kinds and styles, but the basics of the colors on them are always the same. The colors always blend from one to the next, like a spectrum, except in a circle.

There are three main ways to combine colors using a color wheel: complementary, analogous, and triadic.

(Video) How To Use The Color Wheel

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Complementary colors

Complementary colors are those that sit directly opposite each other.

They complement each other and produce a bright, eye-catching effect.

For example, yellow and purple, or blue and orange.

These colors are opposites, so the effect is strong. There is no purple in yellow, nor blue in orange. That’s as different as two colors can be.

Our example shows yellow green and red violet.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (8)

Analogous colors

Analogous colors take three colors next to each other on any part of the color wheel.

So you could use green, blue green, and blue.

The effect here is softer and less contrasty, as the three colors will all share one color in common. In the above case, it’s blue (since green is blue + yellow).

Below, the colors all share red, as they are orange (red + yellow), red orange, and red.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (9)

Triadic colors

Triadic colors are evenly spaced out around the wheel. If you were to draw a line inside the circle from one to another, it would form a triangle.

One example is yellow, red, and blue, the primary colors.

The secondary colors are another set of triadic colors.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (10)

What are tints, tones, and shades?

We all know there’s a lot more colors than the ones we’ve mentioned here. There are hundreds of different proportions with which you could mix the pure colors on the color wheel.

Below we show 36 different blends.

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(Video) The Color Mixing Masterclass

Then after these basic ones, there are tints, tones, and shades of them.

A tint is a color mixed with white to make it lighter. If using a transparent medium like watercolor paint or dye, you can also use more water and less pigment to create a tint.

You can add varying amounts of white, or your paint thinner, to get many different tints of the same color! Below we see 50% tints (equal blends of color + white).

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (12)

A shade is the color mixed with black to make it darker. If you don’t have black pigment, you can mix it yourself as I discuss in the next section.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (13)

A tone is produced by mixing a color with grey, or sometimes by tinting and shading. So you can add both black and white to the color to make a tone. This provides a similar effect to adding gray, which is black + white already mixed.

Now we have hundreds of different colors. There are even more that the human eye can discern. But you’ve got a great start!

Check out 240 different color names and swatches.

Color Mixing Chart and Complete Guide to the Color Wheel | LouiseM (14)

Mixing colors: equal parts

When it comes to mixing colors to build a wider color mixing chart, you’ll need to understand the ratios or parts used.

Mixing equal amounts is the most basic format.

For example, if you mix equal parts of the three primary colors, you get black.

Equal parts of the two of them produce the secondary colors.

And equal parts of one primary + one secondary color makes the tertiary colors.

You can also mix equal parts of the color plus black, white, or grey to get basic tints, tones, and shades.

Be sure to see the full chart at the end of this article!

Mixing colors: proportional parts

The best way to get a whole range of related colors is to mix in proportional parts.

(Video) Watercolor Mixing Charts: DON'T Make This Kind

This also makes it easier if you need to recreate the color when using paints or other physical mediums, because you know what went into it.

Proportional mixing involves using simple ratios of the colors. You might add two parts white to one part red to create a pink tint. Or add one part black to two parts blue to create a dark blue shade.

Mixing colors: warm and cool shades

Finally, when thinking about mixing colors, remember that some colors are seen as warm and some cool.

Warm colors are ones like yellow and red, while blue is considered cool.

But you can use color mixing to create a warm blue or a cool red. Tone down red with a touch of blue to cool it off.

How to mix difficult colors

Some colors are a little tricky to mix – with brown and grey being top of the list.

These are both classed as compound tertiary colors that are created by mixing each of the primary colors in different ratios with other colors.

How to mix brown

To make a warm brown such as the color of tree wood or bricks, then you want to take a warm green (mix a yellow with some red with a blue with a touch of red) with a warm red.

For a cool brown, use red and green then make it cooler with blue. It is ideal for things like dark brown hair.

Darker brown is best made by adding red or blue to your existing brown, not by adding black. Light brown is simply adding white to the brown you have.

How to mix grey

Like brown, grey is a little tricky. You can’t just add white to black to get it just right.

That’s because black is technically a mix of the three primary colors!

Instead, it is better to add orange and white to a blue until you get the right shade. You can often add a little red or green for a more delicate shade or purple or yellow for a warmer shade.

Making the Most of the Color Mixing Chart

There are lots of reasons you would use a color mixing chart.

From understanding the range of colors that work together for a branding palette, to choosing colors for a bedroom or a painting, it can help.

Learning your primary or base colors and how they mix with others helps you understand things like warm or cooler colors.

And it is very important if you are interested in any artistic hobbies that use color!

Before choosing your colors, be sure you understand color symbolism, as this is a critical part of visual communication.

(Video) How to Mix Watercolors Like a PRO! Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Pin the color mixing chart to Pinterest for future reference, or share this post on Facebook with your friends and followers via the buttons below.

Visit to buy your own printable poster of the color mixing guide below.

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What are the 12 colors in the color wheel? ›

There are 12 main colors on the color wheel. In the RGB color wheel, these hues are red, orange, yellow, chartreuse green, green, spring green, cyan, azure, blue, violet, magenta and rose. The color wheel can be divided into primary, secondary and tertiary colors.

How do you memorize color wheels? ›

If you follow around the color wheel, you will find the same order of the color spectrum- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo(blue-violet), and violet. Some remember it by the acronym ROY G. BIV. The color wheel is made up of three different types of colors - Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.

How is the 12 step color wheel organized? ›

Colors can be organized into an arrangement forming a circle, or wheel of 12 colors. Nine of these can be produced from three colors mixed in a variety of combinations. The colors are divided into three groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

What are the colors in order? ›

The colours of the rainbow are: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

What are the 6 warm colors? ›

Warm colors: Red, yellow, orange, gold, beige, creamy neutrals, brown, tan.

How can I learn colors fast? ›

Here are some simple tips to teach your toddler their colors:
  1. Start simple. ...
  2. Use small, colorful objects for sorting. ...
  3. Distinguish contrasting colors. ...
  4. Color puzzles. ...
  5. Use the same objects. ...
  6. Label EVERYTHING with a color. ...
  7. Color with crayons and markers. ...
  8. In their natural environment.
May 11, 2020

What color wheel is best for beginners? ›

The most prevalent is the simple Triadic wheel with its three primary colors. It has worked well for centuries and is a good place to begin. Its primaries of yellow, blue and red are easily understood and simple to apply.

What color is easiest to memorize? ›

In fact, color scenes help our brains organize, compare and recall information more efficiently than colorless (black and white) scenes. Do certain colors improve memory? In one study, students in British Columbia scored higher on memory tasks when completing them on a red background.

What is the color wheel rule? ›

Its simple rule is to choose two opposite colors on the color wheel to create a complementary color scheme. The complementary color scheme is based on contrast, and, therefore, it attracts a lot of attention. However, one must use it with great care and precision since it can overturn a graphic design layout.

What are the 3 basic color theories? ›

However, there are three basic categories of color theory that are logical and useful : The color wheel, color harmony, and the context of how colors are used. Color theories create a logical structure for color.

What is it called when you mix white with a color? ›

In color theory, a tint is a mixture of a color with white, which increases lightness, while a shade is a mixture with black, which increases darkness.

What colors Cannot be mixed? ›

Primary colors include red, blue and yellow. Primary colors cannot be mixed from other colors. They are the source of all other colors.

What are the 3 best colors that go together? ›

If you're looking for a few basic but perennially popular 3 color combinations to kickstart your color palette, think about combinations like:
  • Yellow, red, and blue.
  • Green, orange, and purple.
  • Teal, magenta, and gold.

What two colors do not go well together? ›

7 Worst color combinations to avoid
  • Yellow and green. Yellow and green are two of the most popular colors in the world. ...
  • Brown and orange. ...
  • Red and green. ...
  • Neon and Neon. ...
  • Purple and yellow. ...
  • Red and purple. ...
  • Black and Navy.
Aug 18, 2022

What are the 11 colors in order? ›

English has 11 basic color terms: 'black', 'white', 'red', 'green', 'yellow', 'blue', 'brown', 'orange', 'pink', 'purple', and 'grey'; other languages have between 2 and 12.

Is Grey considered a color? ›

Grey (more common in British English) or gray (more common in American English) is an intermediate color between black and white. It is a neutral or achromatic color, meaning literally that it is "without color", because it can be composed of black and white. It is the color of a cloud-covered sky, of ash and of lead.

Is the color gray or GREY? ›

Grey and gray are two different spellings of the same word. Gray is more common in the U.S., while grey is more common in other English-speaking countries. In proper names—like Earl Grey tea and the unit Gray, among others—the spelling stays the same, and they need to be memorized.

What are the 5 basic colors? ›

François d'Aguilon's notion of the five primary colors (white, yellow, red, blue, black) was influenced by Aristotle's idea of the chromatic colors being made of black and white. The 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein explored color-related ideas using red, green, blue, and yellow as primary colors.

What are the 6 basics colors? ›

Why are there only six fundamental colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet? There are an infinite number of fundamental colors, if by "fundamental" you mean "spectral". Spectral colors are also known loosely as rainbow colors.

What colors make white? ›

A simulated example of additive color mixing. Additive primaries act as sources of light. The primaries red, green, and blue combine pairwise to produce the additive secondaries cyan, magenta, and yellow. Combining all three primaries (center) produces white.

What is the rarest color? ›

Blue is one of the rarest of colors in nature. Even the few animals and plants that appear blue don't actually contain the color. These vibrant blue organisms have developed some unique features that use the physics of light.

What's the most famous color? ›

A worldwide survey reveals that blue is the most popular colour in 10 countries across four continents – including China.

What is the best color learning? ›

Blue is best used for learning situations which are challenging. Blue paper, blue ink, or blue highlighting can be used to help improve reading comprehension too.

How can I improve my color skills? ›

How to Get BETTER at COLORING! 7 Easy Tips you NEED to Try
  1. Learn How to Blend and Shade with Coloured Pencils. ...
  2. Learn How to Hold & Use your Pencils. ...
  3. Mix your Media. ...
  4. Upgrade your Paper. ...
  5. Add Highlights to Your Coloring Pages. ...
  6. Practice! ...
  7. Take Risks.
Mar 10, 2022

What colors do you teach first? ›

If you are confused about what colours to teach to pre-schoolers first, you can start with basic colours like red, blue, yellow, and green, and then add in more colour names as your little ones get more comfortable.

What color compliments green? ›

It pairs well with a wide variety of colors including neutrals like brown and gray, as well as vibrant shades of yellow, blue, pink, and more.

What color compliments blue? ›

Light blue looks great with yellow and shades of pink. Royal blue looks great with bold colours such as red, white, pale pink and yellow. Baby blue looks great with complementary colours such as white, grey, peach, pink, and dark blue. Sky blue looks great when paired with jewel tones, cream, white and gold.

What is the most accurate Colour wheel? ›

The Pigment Color Wheel, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), is usually used for ink and printing. It is a very accurate color wheel like the light color wheel, and is actually closely related to it.

What is the hardest color to recognize? ›

17 Obscure Colors You've Never Heard Of
  • Gamboge.
  • Glaucous.
  • Sarcoline.
  • Skobeloff.
  • Smaragdine.
  • Wenge.
  • Vantablack.
  • Zaffre.
Dec 3, 2021

What is the smartest color? ›

Psychology of Color: Black

Black is the color of authority and power, stability and strength. It is also the color associated with intelligence (doctorate in black robe; black horn rimmed glasses, etc.)

What color makes you sleepy? ›

Research studies discovered red to be the best color light to help you sleep, because it increases production of melatonin as well as full darkness. On the other end of the spectrum, blue is the worst. Despite being a calm-inducing color on most occasions, blue is not suitable for lighting a bedroom.

What is the 3 color rule combination? ›

The premise of the 3-color rule is not combine more than three colors in your outfit at any one time. The exceptions are black and white — they don't count, as they aren't technically colors, so they can be intermixed without actually adding a color to your outfit.

How do you mix colors to make other colors? ›

Colour Mixing – How Are Different Colours Made?
  1. Blue and red will make purple.
  2. Blue and yellow will make green.
  3. White and a tiny bit of red will make pink.
  4. Yellow and red will make orange.
Apr 19, 2023

What 3 colors look best together? ›

Sets of 3 colors that go great together
  • Yellow, red, and blue.
  • Green, orange, and purple.
  • Teal, magenta, and gold.

How do you mix colors for beginners? ›

If you're trying to create a secondary color, you'll need to combine two of your primary colors. Red and blue make purple, red and yellow make orange, and yellow and blue create green. The shade will be determined by the proportions or ratios of each primary color that you use in the mix.

What is the 6 3 1 rule in colors? ›

While using the 6:3:1 Rule, designers have to choose a dominant color and use it in 60% of the space, a secondary color in 30% and a final color in the remaining 10%. The 6:3:1 rule eases the eye of users to move from one point to another comfortably.

What color to mix all colors? ›

When all three colors overlap, they blend to make white.

What colors Cannot be mixed to be made? ›

Primary colors include red, blue and yellow. Primary colors cannot be mixed from other colors. They are the source of all other colors.

What color does blue and pink make mixed? ›

Now you may be wondering what color you will get when you mix pink and blue. The answer to this question is that you will get a shade of purple.


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2. Color Theory Basics
(Simple Art Tips)
3. Color wheel chart mixing theory painting tutorial HD Version - Color Wheel Tutorial
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4. How to Match Acrylic Paint Colors Using a Color Mixing Chart and the Color Wheel || The Social Easel
(The Social Easel Online Paint Studio)
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6. How to Use a Color Wheel | LittleArtTalks
(Little Art Talks)


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