Complementary Colors

By: Staci Srebro

In drawing, painting, or basically any art form, I feel using complementary colors to your advantage is extremely important. Colors can set the mood for a piece and add interest. Complementary colors are very striking against one another: one color causes the other to pop. This effect can be used to your advantage in your art.

Complementary colors are colors opposite from one another on a color wheel. To study complementary colors, you first need to draw a color wheel. 



Start with the primary colors in a triangular like pattern. Primary colors are the three colors which all other colors can be made from by mixing them. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.







Next, add the secondary colors: colors that are made from mixing two primary colors together. These are green, violet, and orange. Orange goes across from blue, violet goes across from yellow, and green goes across from red. These are some complementary color pairs.



Finally, add tertiary colors; colors made by mixing one primary color with a secondary color on the color wheel. For example, yellow green is made by mixing yellow plus green, and on the color wheel it is placed in between yellow and green.






To find yellow green’s complement, you would think “what is the complement of yellow? Then, what is the complement of green?” You will find its complement is violet-red, and it is opposite of yellow-green on the color wheel.

Next week, I will give an example of a drawing that mainly uses complementary colors.

Happy drawing!

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