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Art & Design

Elements of art


Red, yellow and blue are primary colours, which means they can't be mixed using any other colours. In theory, all other colours can be mixed from these three colours.

Two primary colours mixed together make a secondary colour.


red + yellow= orange
red + blue= purple
blue + yellow= green

Tertiary colours are created by mixing a primary colour and the secondary colour next to it on the colour wheel.

Colour wheel

  • Colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel are called harmonious.
  • Complementary colours are colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. When complementary colours are used together they create contrast. Adding a colour's complimentary colour will usually make a darker shade. This is often preferable to adding black.
  • Warm colours are colours on the red side of the wheel. These are red and include orange, yellow, browns and tans.
  • Cool colours are colours on the blue side of the wheel. These are blue and include green, violet and most greys.
  • Black, white and grey are called neutral colours.

Watch this video to find out more about mixing colours.

Watch more art technique videos.

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