Wednesday, April 20, 2011

All Around the Color Wheel: Color 101

Are you afraid of color? Is it difficult for you to pick out fabrics that go together? If so, you aren't alone. Fear of color and buying the wrong fabric combination rank as some of the top concerns for many quilt makers.

Let's take a step back to our elementary school days and review some of the basic concepts of color. We will start with the basics and over the next few weeks we will also review some of the more complex color theories. Hopefully, this review will give you the information you need to walk into your fabric store with confidence and help you make even more beautiful quilts.

You are looking at the most widely used artists' color wheel. It's been around a while. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with developing the circular color wheel in 1666.

This color wheel is based on the three primary colors of blue, red, and yellow. The corresponding secondary colors are green, orange, and violet. Next, you'll find the tertiary colors which are red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet, and blue-green. That gives us 12 main color divisions on our wheel.

Here's a basic rule about using the color wheel that will come in handy for any project. The colors opposite each other on the color wheel are considered complimentary. For instance red and green. So, if you want to play it safe, use your color wheel to pick colors that will go together. However, we are just starting our color journey...and, we won't always be playing it safe.


Unknown said...

Good information. Please continue the series. This is quite basic and completely needed as the basis for experimentation. Thanks for posting it.

Robin said...

Thanks for the lesson. Always good to review those important grammar school lessons. Great advise for (us) beginners.

quilternh said...

Colors opposite each other are complEmentary, meaning to complete.
When the colors are mixed together they form black because they contain all the primary colors. For example, yellow and violet-- violet being a mix of red and blue.

Cathie in UT said...

My quilt group is using the book Color from the Heart to help us improve our color "sense" and the one thing that has stuck in my mind is that an artist who works with traditional mediums...paints etc...has a big advantage over those of us who work in fabric so don't let the color wheel dominate your thoughts of color but help you improve your choices

Quiltelle Danielle said...

And there are different types of color wheels. Are you using a printer's color wheel (Note the presence of cyan)