Published on March 10, 2014
The color wheel is a chart of colors of the visible spectrum that is used to show how colors relate to each other.
In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments with light helped him begin his invention for the first color wheel when he passed a beam of sunlight through a prism.
The findings: All color is contained within white light. When light passes through a crystal prism, it is dispersed into the spectrum’s range of visible colors.
Newton was able to show the natural sequence of color by joining the two ends of the color spectrum together.
The modern color wheel does not show the full gradation in the spectrum. It shows the whole thing broken up into 12 segments.
INFINITE COLORS In reality, the segments actually smear into one another so we have an infinite number of colors.
Some color wheels show the progression across the middle to a complete neutral in the middle.
The color wheel is made up of three PRIMARY colors, three SECONDARY colors, and six TERTIARY colors.
You CANNOT make the three primary colors! You MUST buy them.
You make the secondary colors by mixing two of the primary colors together.
What primary colors do you mix to make orange? What primary colors do you mix to make green? What primary colors do you mix to make violet?
Tertiary colors are created by combining equal parts of the primary and secondary colors that are closest to their sides.
It is important to note that the primary color name comes first in the tertiary name. • Red-violet • Red-orange • Yellow-green • Yellow-orange • Blue-violet • Blue-green
You can mix any color of the rainbow by mixing with the three primary colors!
Color + White= TINT
Color + Black= SHADE
Color + gray= TONE
Reds, oranges and yellows are considered warm colors. Blues, greens, and violets are considered cool colors.
Warm colors are vivid and energetic, and tend to advance in space.
Cool colors give an impression of calm, and create a soothing impression. Cool colors tend to retreat/recede in space.
Colors opposite of each other on the color wheel.
The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.
These are colors next to each other on the color wheel. They usually create harmonious combinations.
A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.
A monochromatic scheme involves one color mixed with a variety of tints, shades, and tones.
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