In our daily lives we are surrounded by colour and make choices about it regularly in the way we dress, decorate our homes, even when we buy a car. I laving an eye for which colours work well together is essential for the fashion designer or illustrator, whether you are choosing a scheme for a portfolio project, planning a colour-themed collection or selecting colours for a dramatic fashion illustration.
yellow yellow-green orange-yellow green blue-green green blue-green
orange red-orange blue violet-blue red-violet violet orange red-orange blue violet-blue red-violet violet primary colours
Primary colours are ones that cannot be made by mixing other colours. The three primary colours are red, yellow and blue. They are eguidistant on the colour wheel.
yellow yellow blue blue secondary colours
The secondary colours are orange, green and violet. They are produced by mixing two primary colours. When mixed, red and yellow make orange, blue and yellow make green, and red and blue make violet, The secondary colours are also equidistant on the colour wheel, in between the primary colours.
orange green orange green violet tertiary colours
Mixing a primary colour with its adjacent secondary colour on the wheel produces a tertiary colour For example, mixing red with orange creates red-orange and red with violet creates red-violet. Again, these are equidistant on the wheel,
red-violet violet-blue blue-green violet-blue blue-green red-violet yellow-green warm and cool colours
All colours have associations. Warm colours such as reds, oranges and yellows are associated with sunlight and fire. They tend to stand out in an illustration and seem closer than cool colours, which recede into the background. Cool colours include the blues of the sky and water, and the greens of rolling hills and landscape. Bearing in mind how warm and cool colours affect the viewer enables you to enhance the atmosphere of your artwork.
The opposite colours on the colour wheel are contrasting partners called complementary colours. The partners consist of one primary and one secondary colour. The pairings are red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and violet. I hey appear brightest when placed next to each other. When mixed together complementary colours produce a grey, neutral tone. To make a colour darker, add its complementary partner rather than shading with black. For example if you would like a darker yellow, add a hint of violet.
using colour-wheel theories
Mixing colours yourself in your chosen medium is the best way to discover how the colour-wheel theories work. Start with three primary colours—red, yellow and blue. When the primaries are mixed together they produce a muddy black. Experiment by mixing the secondary colours, then the tertiary colours. The amount of any one colour added to the mix affects the shade produced. Make notes on how you mix the colours so that you can recreate them in the future.
Three distinct characteristics account for the appearance of colours: hue, value and saturation. Each of these can be manipulated by colour mixing or, more subtly, by altering the context in which a colour appears. Hue is the name of a colour—for example, red, green or blue—that identifies it in the colour spectrum. Value is the relative quality of lightness or darkness in a colour. This varies on a scale of black to white. Saturation,, also known as intensity, is the relative purity of hue present in a colour. A highly saturated colour will give a strong sense of hue, and a low saturation will have a weaker presence.
The result of mixing a colour with white is known as a tint. Mixing grey with a colour is known as a lone. Mixing a colour with black creates a shade.
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