Colors that Complement…

When Annie first showed up in my sketchbook, I was playing around with the complementary colors Orange and Blue. Complementary colors have a unique relationship… they are opposite each other on the color wheel. When side by side, they make each other stand out or “pop.” When mixed together, they temper, or dull the other color. A whole myriad of tones and hues can be created just by mixing two complementary colors!

It’s possible to paint an entire picture with complements, but sometimes you just want to add a little “zing.” One of the best way to add some extra color in a painting is to use a split complementary color scheme. (One of my young art students LOVED that concept… or maybe just how important it sounded. 🙂 He always wanted to use a split complementary color scheme!) Basically, you choose a main color and its complement, and then incorporate the two colors on each side of the complement on the color wheel. A picture is much easier to grasp than words…

See the Orange? And the Blue across the wheel? On each side of Blue is Green and Purple. Of course there are many versions of Oranges, Blues, Greens, and Purples… but that’s the general idea. Orange is my color of choice, because it makes gorgeous pumpkins. And Blue will be perfect for Annie’s dress. All the mixed up muddy colors will work for skin tones and fall foliage. And then a dash of Green and Purple here and there for the “WOW! factor!

Want to play with color too? Create a simple color wheel on your own, and practice mixing complements to see what combinations you can create! Or, if you want to learn how color can play a huge part in illustrating for children, check out Mark Mitchell’s How to be a Children’s Book Illustrator course!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

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