Thursday, February 24, 2011

Color Theory for Non-Artists Part I: Intro to the Color Wheel

I am writing a series on beginning color theory for my "other" interest, makeup.  Since it's an obvious crossover, I thought I'd post here too.  <3 Krissi  Originally posted at http://www.facebook.com/KrissisMakeup.  Click the badge in the sidebar to follow all of my makeup antics on facebook.

I get a lot of questions about how I choose my color combinations -not only with makeup, but with my art as well. Though I don't look at a physical color wheel every day, I do keep it in mind when deciding on my color combinations. Yes, I know. I already hear you asking, "Krissi, what the heck is this color wheel and how do you use it?" Well, I'm so glad you asked.

Since I'm doing this primarily for makeup, let's use Krissi's Colorful Wheel O' Piggies, shall we?
This fun little tool was put together using 99% Madd Style Cosmetics pigments (only the 'primary red' is MAC - this color contains carmine and therefore isn't vegan and cannot be found in Mo's shop!)

Let's just start out with a basic discussion of color. Primary colors are defined as the three colors which, when their light waves are blended, produce white. Usually when artists think of primaries, they are the colors you use to achieve all other colors. The three primary colors are yellow, red and blue.
There are other shadestints, values and hues of these colors, but we'll save that discussion for their own blog posts.
Primary colors YELLOW (Princess Buttahcup), RED (Brash & Bold by MAC-contains carmine) and BLUE (Aja/Jem Coll. - look for this to MAYBE make an appearance in the permanent collection).


Secondary colors (orange, purple/violet and green) are achieved by mixing two primaries together. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?
ORANGE (Boognish) = yellow + red
PURPLE (Electric Kool Aid) = red + blue
GREEN (Frankenstein) = blue + yellow


Tertiary colors are acheived by mixing a primary with one of its own secondary colors:
YELLOW-ORANGE (Blister In The Sun), RED-ORANGE (Strange Potion), RED-VIOLET/fuchsia (Magenta), BLUE-VIOLET/indigo (Nana's Tea Party), BLUE-GREEN/teal (Tron) and YELLOW-GREEN (Acid Bath)


OK! Now we have a basic color wheel with which to work. Before we move forward with using the color wheel, why not go take a look at your pigment/eyeshadows and see if you can determine where on the color wheel your favorites fit. If you need some visual help, try printing out a sample color wheel (just Google "color wheel," click on images and choose the one you like best). There's no shame in a cheat sheet!


NEXT: Part II - Analogous and Complementary Colors