Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Color Theory - Part 1 - The Basics

Learning about color isnt rocket science, its easy, its fun, and ultimately knowing more about it takes the fear out of using it.  The greater goal is playing with it to create better layouts.  As with most things, start the basics.

All colors, aka Hues, come from three Primary Colors.  These three Primary Colors are Red, Yellow and Blue.  Hard to believe, but it’s true, all colors have their roots in these Primary Colors.

Secondary Colors are colors that are created by the mixing of Primary Colors to create Orange, Green and Violet.  These Secondary Colors are found between the Primary Colors that created them on a Color Wheel.

Tertiary Colors (aka Intermediate) are colors that are created by the mixing of a Primary Color with a Secondary Color; Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet and Red-Violet.  Whether you refer to Primary, Secondary or Tertiary Colors, they are known as Pure Colors.

Each color can be grouped together into one of two families of colors.  Reds, oranges and yellows are part of the Warm family, while Blues, Greens and Purples are part of the Cool family.

The final family of colors are Neutrals (non-bright colors); Black, White, Brown and Gray.  We’ll start with Black and White, which are not specifically represented on a color wheel.  In dealing with colors in Science you’re referring to light where White is the combination of all colors and Black is the absence of all colors. Dealing with colors in Scrapbooking you are dealing with pigments so you can’t mix all colors and get white or leave them all out and get black.  On the Color Wheel Black and White are used to create tints and shades. 

Grays are created by combining Complimentary Colors (colors opposite each other on the Color Wheel, but we’ll get into that in another post.)  Grays are either Warm (Browns and Taupes) or Cool (Grays).  Which Complimentary Colors and how much of each you use will determine whether you get a Gray or Brown Hue.

To complete the Color Wheel you’ll find lighter versions of the Pure Colors which are called Tints and are created by adding white to the Pure Color.  Darker colors, called Shades (think sitting in the shade – darker color), and are created when you add Black.  On some wheels you’ll find another version of Pure Colors called Tones which are created by adding Gray.

A Color Wheel is an awesome tool to have as it shows the relationship of the various colors to each another.  They can be found at most large craft stores like Michael’s, AC Moore, Joann and Hobby Lobby.  I highly recommend the small investment (they’re really inexpensive) to add one to your basic scrapbooking tools.  Go cheaper, aka Free, and Google one and print it off.

Next time we’ll deal with how to use color on your layouts.

Happy Wednesday,

A shout out to Mr. Printables for the first three color wheels

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