Primary and Secondary Colours and How To Use Them
The Primary Colour Wheel
As you may or may not have realised by now, i'm English and so I will be typing 'colour(s)' with a 'u'. Sorry about that if you're American.
Anywho, the three primary colours are Red, Yellow and Blue. These colours are primary in the fact that they are the basic colours, the beginning of any colour. These three colours cannot be made using any other colours, they can only make more colours.
Secondary colours are what can be made from mixing two of the three primary colours. This is more easily explained below:
Red + Blue = Purple
Red + Yellow = Orange
Blue + Red = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green
Yellow + Red = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
So which ever way you choose to mix 2 of these 3 primary colours you can only ever produce 3 secondary colours: Orange, Green and Purple.
The Primary and Secondary Colours, Colour Wheel
Above is the primary and secondary colour wheel. It shows the secondary colours slotted in the original primary colour wheel next to their makers. For example, red and yellow make orange, so orange is slotted in-between red and yellow.
The Itten Colour Wheel
When researching primary and secondary colours, you may easily find yourself looking at one of the most famous colour wheels. The Itten colour wheel. Johannes Itten (11 November 1888 - 27 May 1967) was a Swiss expressionist painter.
He created his wheel which effortlessly shows the primary and secondary colours, and the effect they have on each other. If we look at the red and blue primary colours in the center for instance, we can see how they blend to make purple. On the outer ring of the wheel the purple goes from light to dark. It's more towards red on the right, with the more red added, making it lighter. It's more towards blur on the left, with the more blue added, making it darker. An this is replicated with all three of the primary and secondary colours.
However, as well as showing the relationship between the primary and secondary colours, this wheel helps to show which colours complement each other, and which do not.
We'll use purple as an example again. Either side of purple is red and blue. Therefore, you know that red and blue go well together with purple. This relationship is repeated for all of the secondary colours and has several practical applications. Artists for instance may refer to this wheel when painting, as well as interior decorators - they need to know what colours go well together. Fashion designers may also refer to this wheel when designing clothes. You get the idea, - it's a useful wheel.
How The Colour Wheel Works, and How to Use It
- Color wheel chart mixing theory painting tutorial - YouTube
This video will help you to understand how the colour wheel works, and how to use it. This video is not my own, credit goes to 'PaintBasket' who have a selection of videos on Youtube.
So if you got here by typing 'What are the primary and secondary colours?' into a search engine, then the short answer is:
So go fourth and enjoy your art! For top quality art products, visit Mr Art!