Color Wheel

The color wheel or color circle, based on red, yellow and blue, is traditional in the field of art and is studied in all art educational institutions. Sir Isaac Newton developed the first circular diagram of colors in 1666. Since then, scientists and artists have studied and designed numerous variations of this concept. But what does it mean for us? Let’s take a look at the diagram


As you can see, all  Colors are divided into three groups: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary

Primary Colors:

Red, Yellow, and Blue In traditional color theory (used in pigment paint), primary colors are the 3 pigment colors that can not be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these 3 hues.

Secondary Colors:

Green, Orange, and Purple
These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors:
yellow + red = orange
red + blue = purple
blue + yellow = green

Tertiary Colors:

Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green
These are the colors formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color sitting next to each other on the color wheel. That’s why the hue is a two-word name (name of primary+name of secondary)


So, as you can see, using only primary colors, you can mix almost any other hue!


Paint your own wheels! Cut paper circles, divide into 12 segments, and color it and using only red, blue, and yellow. I highly recommend painting at least 3-4 color wheels using cooler and warmer primary colors. It’s a great experiment and a perfect way to explore the interplay of colors! Mixing your own secondary and tertiary colors rather than using ones from the tube will make your painting look more expressive.

Tip: When you are mixing dark and light paint together, always start with lighter color and gradually add dark into it.

Another Color Theory Must-knows:


Hue is the attribute of a color by virtue of which it is discernible as red, green, etc., and which is dependent on its dominant wavelength, and independent of intensity or lightness


Saturation is the amount of gray in the color, from 0 to 100 %. Reducing the saturation toward zero to introduce more gray produces a faded effect.

Sometimes, saturation is expressed in a range from just 0–1, where 0 is gray and 1 is a primary color.

Value (also Brightness)

Value works in conjunction with saturation and describes the brightness or intensity of the color, from 0–100 %t, where 0 is completely black, and 100 is the brightest and reveals the most color.