Do you ever struggle with which colors to pick when coloring your mandalas? Do you find yourself reaching for the same colors? In this week’s post I share with you an introduction to color design theory.
I personally think it is really cool to see how the colors are mapped out on a color wheel and to see the relationships of colors. To create the examples for this post I drew one mandala and photocopied it so I could illustrate the different color arrangements. It is a wonderful exercise to become familiar with different color palettes. I encourage you to try this exercise.
Any study of color begins with the primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. What makes them primary? Well, you can’t create them. No mixing of other colors will produce these three. From these three colors all of the other colors are made. Cool, isn’t it?
The secondary colors, orange, purple, and green are made by mixing two primary colors.
Orange = Red + Yellow
Purple = Red + Blue
Green = Blue + Yellow
There are six tertiary colors derived from mixing a primary and a secondary color.
Notice how the primary and secondary that we are mixing are next to each other on the color wheel.
Red – Green
Two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are called complementary. In each complementary pair we have a primary and a secondary color. The result is a very vibrant because the colors are so far from each other on the color wheel.
Blue – Orange
Yellow – Purple
Yellow – Orange
Analogous are when two or more colors next to each other are used. In this example we have a “warm color” effect from the yellow, yellow-orange, orange, and orange-red
This color scheme is an example of “cool colors.”
This is another example of a “cool” color scheme.
Tints, Shades, Tones
For any color there are many gradations achieved by mixing white, black, or gray.
Tints = color + white
Shades = color + black
Tones = color + gray.
One of my favorite websites for exploring different color palettes is www.design-seeds.com. I took several of the palettes and colored mandalas based on them.
This “magnolia hue” color palette from www.design-seeds.com is a good example of an monochromatic color scheme using tints and shades of one color.
In the “flora brights” color scheme from www.design-seeds.com we see a combination of soft colors as in the light pink, green, and yellow achieved by tinting these colors with white, arranged with contrasting intense colors like the darker pink and purple.
The “color pier” palette from www.design-seeds.com is a gorgeous combination of blue and brown. Brown doesn’t appear on the color wheel because it is made by mixing complementary colors. Pull out your paints and try it. Red-Green = Brown, Yellow-Purple = Brown, Blue-Orange = Brown.
Heidi Nordtoft from Denmark posted in a Gelli Enthusiast group on Facebook this perfect message for today’s post:
Be the most brilliant color in the box.
The best way to get familiar with color is to pull out your paints and start mixing them together. Some alcohol markers and colored pencils do really well blending too. Whether you mix your own colors or use them straight from a box, have fun! There is so much to learn about color, this is an introduction to get you started.
Want to take your use of color to the next level?
New for 2017 is a Color Workshop from Kathryn Costa, author of “The Mandala Guidebook.” This workshop brings you more color combinations, a look at color ratios and color temperatures, and coloring techniques using a wide range of mediums.