A good color wheel is helpful any time you’re making color decisions in your art. This stop true even if it is you’re working through a restricted number of colors (a restricted palette) or with numerous colors.

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Most service providers sell color wheels and also color charts of their products, as do many print shops, art supply stores, and also online providers. Rather of buying a color wheel, an additional option is come make her own, which may be much much more helpful. Not only will it it is in a valuable studio tool, yet making a color wheel is fantastic way come learn exactly how colors mix through each other.

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The theme I use for my colored pencil color wheels (shown below) functions primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Its outer “ring” is for color applied with hefty pressure, the center ring is for color used with light pressure, and the center ring is for showing exactly how each color mixes with its the opposite (complementary) color.


Step 1: primary colors

Primary colors space colors that cannot be produced by mixing other colors. There room three main colors: red, yellow, and also blue. All various other colors room combinations of these colors. For this demonstration, ns used process Red, Non photo Blue, and also Lemon Yellow and also applied shade into each of the slices labeling “Primary.”

I used light push in the inside rings. For the outside ring, I provided heavier pressure and also multiple layers, then burnished v the colorless blender.

This is the color wheel with the primary colors.


Step 2: secondary colors

Secondary colors are a one-to-one mix of two main colors. For example, one great of yellow and one class of red create orange.

I added second colors come my color wheel by glazing (using light push to apply color) a solitary layer of 2 primaries into the an additional slice in between them. I glazed one layer of procedure Red into the secondary slice in ~ the bottom of the wheel. Ns then glazed Non photo Blue end the exact same slice to create purple. I supplied light to tool pressure with both colors.


To complete the outer ring, ns applied alternative layers of procedure Red and Non picture Blue at medium pressure. Ns then used heavy pressure to add a last layer of each color, then burnished the external ring through the colorless blender.

Green and Orange were included to the shade wheel in the exact same way, using Lemon Yellow and procedure Red to do Orange and also Lemon Yellow and also Non photo Blue to make Green.

Finish this step by including each color to the within ring that its complement. Utilizing light or tool pressure, glaze Lemon Yellow end the within ring of the purple slice and also so on. Each shade should be glazed over its complement. Yellow must be glazed end the within ring the the violet slice and purple should be glazed end the inside ring the the Yellow ring. The distinction will be subtle, but you will see a difference in the resulting two colors.

Do the same with the secondary colors. Layer every of the color that consist of the an additional color over the security color. Store the pressure around the exact same for each shade to acquire the many accurate outcomes possible. Girlfriend can likewise burnish the inner ring once all the vital colors have actually been used to that area.

NOTE: Make sure to clean the colorless blender between colors to avoid carrying the shade from one slice into the next. This is especially important if friend burnish darker color first. The is far better to start burnishing with the lightest colors, but you still have to clean the colorless blender frequently.

(To clean the colorless blender, either sharpen the like any type of other pencil, or wipe that on a clean piece of record until no shade remains top top the pointer of the blender.)

Step 3: Tertiary colors

Tertiary colors room the mix of one second and one main color. Because that example, Blue-Green is a mix of environment-friendly (secondary color) and also Blue (primary color).

One easy method to remember what colors come layer is to remember the there room three layers of shade in a tertiary color. Blue and Yellow (secondary shade Green) and Blue (primary shade Blue). To mix a tertiary color, layer blue-yellow-blue.

Glaze one class of Non picture Blue into the suitable tertiary slice between Green and Blue top top the color wheel. Use light to medium pressure. Next, usage light to tool pressure come glaze Lemon Yellow end the blue, adhered to by another layer the Non photo Blue, likewise with light to medium pressure. Complete the external ring v blue-yellow-blue with a tool to hefty pressure complied with by burnishing through the colorless blender.

Do each of the staying tertiary colors the very same way. Then finish the color wheel by glazing the enhance of each shade over the color’s inside ring. An alert that the enhance of a tertiary shade is always another tertiary color. The enhance of Blue eco-friendly is Red Orange, therefore red-yellow-red needs to be glazed end the safety ring the Blue Green and also blue-yellow-green requirements to be glazed over the safety ring of Red Orange.

Add the complements to the shade wheel. If girlfriend prefer, you have the right to then burnish each section. If you choose to burnish the shade wheel, burnish ar by section. Otherwise, you will certainly pull shade into the nearby areas.

This a finished shade wheel. The external ring shows each color at complete strength and also burnished. The 2nd ring is each color with light pressure and no burnishing. The following ring shows what each color looks prefer with its enhance glazed over it.


Using stock colors

You can additionally create a shade wheel making use of stock colors. This final shade wheel was developed using Lemon Yellow, Crimson Lake, and also Non photo Blue for the primaries; and Orange, Grass Green, and Purple because that the secondary colors. Ns then produced tertiary colors by layering the colors that were on one of two people side.


There are benefits and flaw to each method. Do a shade wheel from three colors is helpful in learning the selection of color and also value possible with simply the primaries. That is a time intensive procedure requiring layering, mindful decision making, and also planning.

Using stock pencils wherever feasible is a major time saver. Each of the primary groups contain many colors, however. Discovering which reds come mix v which blues to acquire the desired purples can likewise be time consuming.

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Whatever your preferred method, do a color wheel is an excellent way to learn how colors occupational together while boosting your pencil skills. It takes a small time, yet it’s definitely worth that in the end.