Inspiration
Comments 15

Coloring Mandalas – How to Choose Colors to Create Color Harmony

Color Wheel

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.

Primary

Wheel-primary

Primary Colors

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?

Secondary

Wheel-secondary

Secondary Colors

The secondary colors, orange, purple, and green are made by mixing two primary colors.

Orange = Red + Yellow

Purple = Red + Blue

Green = Blue + Yellow

Wheel-tertiary

Tertiary Colors

There are six tertiary colors derived from mixing a primary and a secondary color.

Red-Orange

Red-Purple

Blue-Purple

Blue-Green

Yellow-Green

Yellow-Orange

Notice how the primary and secondary that we are mixing are next to each other on the color wheel.

Complementary-RedGreen

Wheel-complementary-red-green

Complementary Colors

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.

Color Theory - Complementary Blue Orange

Wheel-complementary-blueorange

Complementary Colors

Blue – Orange

This color scheme is very popular in package design. Look for it the next time you are in the grocery store.
Complementary-Purple-Yellow

Wheel-complementary-yellowblue

Complementary Colors

Yellow – Purple

Analagous-YellowOrange

Analogous Colors

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

Analagous-YellowGreen

Analogous Colors

Yellow-Green

Analagous-GreenBlue

Analogous Colors

Green-Blue

This color scheme is an example of “cool colors.”

Analagous-BluePurple

Analogous Colors

Blue-Purple

This is another example of a “cool” color scheme.

Value Scale

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.

Mandala-Color-Pop

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.

Mandala-Magnolia-Hue

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.

Mandala-FloraBrights

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.

Mandala-Color-Pier

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.

11079768_10153117638234019_1753547622_n

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.

color-logo800

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.

Open exclusively to members of the 100 Mandalas Sharing Circle.

 

It’s Your Turn

15 Comments

  1. Maria says

    I have been pinning paint combinations like yours from Design-Seeds.com on pinterest for some time now! I wanted them for inspiration! I am going to explore the site and start playing with the color in my mandalas! Great idea!

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  2. Peggy says

    Love the way you presented this, although I’m very familiar with the color wheel …. feel you gave a better grasp. Thank you!

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  3. Eliana Tomlin says

    Wow. I am new to coloring Mandalas, this is the best article yet

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  4. Barbara Bolton says

    It’s starting to come to light on how to use colors together. Thank you for your explanation, it’s pretty simple. When you use seeds and to choose the color pencil to look like the pallet, do you try to just get as close to the color as you can?

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  5. Omg I have been struggling with what colors to use. This will be the answers to my prayer’s. Have seen color wheels before but still never knew how to put it all together to make my pictures pop. Oh can’t Thank you enough for writing this out so if finally makes sense. I am going to write it all out because don’t have a printer. Keep it close by till I get it in my head enough to do it without thinking if it. I have ruinef so many mandalas because didn’t do them right. Wowzie can’t believe it took this long for me finally to get it and wouldn’t have got it without your help. 😃

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    • This post is just a sampling of what you’ll learn in my new color workshop this spring. There will be 10 lessons. The first 5 are all focused on coloring techniques (how to use markers, colored pencils, inktense pencils, watercolor pencils, papers, etc.) the second week builds on what you learned in this post which is all about picking colors for color harmony. This workshop is available to members of the Sharing Circle. I’ll announce when the workshop is release in May in my newsletter. Are you subscribed? https://mandala.leadpages.co/mandala-coloring-book/

      Have fun coloring your mandalas.

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