A good color wheel is useful any type of time you’re making shade decisions in your art. This holds true whether you’re working through a limited number of colors (a minimal palette) or via many kind of colors.

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Most suppliers offer color wheels and also shade charts of their commodities, as carry out many print shops, art supply stores, and digital carriers. Instead of buying a color wheel, one more option is to make your own, which may be much even more valuable. Not only will certainly it be a beneficial studio tool, but making a color wheel is an excellent means to learn exactly how colors mix with each other.

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The layout I usage for my colored pencil shade wheels (displayed below) features major, secondary, and also tertiary colors. Its external “ring” is for shade applied through heavy press, the middle ring is for shade used through light push, and also the center ring is for mirroring exactly how each color mixes via its opposite (complementary) color.


Step 1: Main colors

Key colors are colors that cannot be developed by mixing other colors. There are three major colors: red, yellow, and also blue. All various other colors are combinations of these colors. For this demonstration, I provided Process Red, Non Picture Blue, and Lemon Yellow and applied color right into each of the slices labeled “Key.”

I used light push in the inside rings. For the external ring, I supplied heavier push and multiple layers, then burnished via the colormuch less blender.

This is the color wheel through the major colors.


Step 2: Secondary colors

Secondary colors are a one-to-one mix of 2 primary colors. For instance, one layer of yellow and one layer of red develop oselection.

I added additional colors to my color wheel by glazing (making use of light pressure to apply color) a solitary layer of two primaries right into the additional slice between them. I glazed one layer of Process Red right into the second slice at the bottom of the wheel. I then glazed Non Picture Blue over the very same slice to develop purple. I used light to medium pressure through both colors.


To end up the outer ring, I applied alternating layers of Process Red and also Non Photograph Blue at tool press. I then used hefty press to include a last layer of each color, then burnimelted the outer ring via the colormuch less blender.

Environment-friendly and Orange were added to the shade wheel in the very same way, using Lemon Yellow and also Process Red to make Ovariety and also Lemon Yellow and Non Picture Blue to make Environment-friendly.

Finish this step by including each color to the inner ring of its enhance. Using light or tool pressure, glaze Lemon Yellow over the inner ring of the purple slice and also so on. Each color have to be glazed over its complement. Yellow must be glazed over the inner ring of the purple slice and purple need to be glazed over the inner ring of the Yellow ring. The difference will be subtle, but you will check out a distinction in the resulting 2 colors.

Do the exact same via the second colors. Layer each of the colors that consist of the secondary color over the complementary color. Keep the push about the same for each color to gain the a lot of specific outcomes possible. You have the right to also burnish the inner ring as soon as all the vital colors have actually been used to that area.

NOTE: Make sure to clean the colormuch less blender in between colors to protect against carrying the color from one slice right into the next. This is especially essential if you burnish darker colors initially. It is better to begin burnishing via the lightest colors, but you still must clean the colormuch less blender typically.

(To clean the colormuch less blender, either sharpen it choose any various other pencil, or wipe it on a clean piece of paper until no color remains on the reminder of the blender.)

Tip 3: Tertiary colors

Tertiary colors are the combicountry of one second and also one major shade. For instance, Blue-Environment-friendly is a mix of Environment-friendly (additional color) and Blue (major color).

One simple method to remember what colors to layer is to remember that tbelow are 3 layers of shade in a tertiary color. Blue and also Yellow (additional color Green) and also Blue (primary shade Blue). To mix a tertiary color, layer blue-yellow-blue.

Glaze one layer of Non Picture Blue right into the proper tertiary slice between Environment-friendly and also Blue on the shade wheel. Use light to medium press. Next, usage light to tool press to glaze Lemon Yellow over the blue, followed by one more layer of Non Photo Blue, likewise with light to tool press. Finish the outer ring via blue-yellow-blue through a tool to heavy pressure followed by burnishing through the colormuch less blender.

Do each of the remaining tertiary colors the same method. Then finish the color wheel by glazing the match of each color over the color’s inside ring. Notice that the enhance of a tertiary color is constantly another tertiary color. The enhance of Blue Eco-friendly is Red Oselection, so red-yellow-red needs to be glazed over the complementary ring of Blue Green and also blue-yellow-green demands to be glazed over the complementary ring of Red Orange.

Add the complements to the shade wheel. If you favor, you deserve to then burnish each section. If you pick to burnish the shade wheel, burnish area by section. Otherwise, you will pull color right into the surrounding areas.

This a finiburned shade wheel. The outside ring reflects each shade at full strength and also burniburned. The second ring is each shade through light pressure and also no burnishing. The following ring mirrors what each shade looks prefer via its enhance glazed over it.


Using stock colors

You can likewise create a color wheel using stock colors. This last shade wheel was developed making use of Lemon Yellow, Crimboy Lake, and also Non Picture Blue for the primaries; and also Oselection, Grass Eco-friendly, and also Purple for the additional colors. I then produced tertiary colors by layering the colors that were on either side.


Tbelow are benefits and also disbenefits to each technique. Making a shade wheel from three colors is advantageous in discovering the range of shade and worth feasible via just the primaries. It is a time intensive procedure requiring layering, mindful decision making, and also planning.

Using stock pencils wherever before feasible is a major time saver. Each of the major teams contain many colors, however. Learning which reds to mix via which blues to get the desired purples deserve to likewise be time consuming.

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Whatever your wanted approach, making a shade wheel is an excellent method to learn just how colors occupational together while enhancing your pencil abilities. It takes a little time, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.