Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Understanding the Basics of Colour Theory

Knowing the theory behind colour is essential for any artist as an understanding of colour theory will help you when selecting and applying colour. Having an eye for colour and knowing what colours work together should also give you more confidence as a makeup artist.

Using a colour wheel can help you when designing makeup looks by guiding you when deciding on a colour palette or when looking for colours that will work to enhance a particular eye colour for example.

Here are the basics you should know about colour theory and the colour wheel.

Primary Colours
The Primary Colours are Red, Blue and Yellow and they cannot be made by mixing any other colours.

Secondary Colours
Two primary colours can be mixed to produce the Secondary Colours.
Red + Yellow = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green

Tertiary Colours
Tertiary colours can be made by mixing a primary with its adjacent secondary colour. See the wheel above for examples.

Warm and Cool
Red, Orange and Yellow tend to seem closer and stand out more than the cool colours Blue, Violet and Green which can appear to recede.

Complimentary Colours
Colours that are opposite each other on the wheel are complimentary colours and consist of one Primary and one Secondary colour. When these colours are placed next to each other they appear brightest and when mixed together will produce a neutral grey tone. To make a colour darker don’t add black but add its complimentary partner
The complimentary partners are Blue and Orange, Yellow and Violet, Red and Green.

Do you find the colour wheel helpful when designing makeup looks? Let me know if you found this post useful or if you have anything else to add by leaving a comment.

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