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The Essential Guide to Colour Theory for Arts and Crafts

Colour theory is an essential aspect of arts and crafts. It is the study of how colours interact and how they can be combined to create harmony and visual interest.


Colour theory has its roots in the ideas of artists, philosophers, and scientists dating back to ancient Greece and has evolved over time to become a fundamental principle in the world of art and design. In this article, we will explore the basics of colour theory and how it can be applied to arts and crafts.

Colour Theory Wheel

hat is a colour wheel?


The colour wheel is the cornerstone of colour theory. It is a visual representation of the relationships between primary, secondary and tertiary colours.


The traditional colour wheel consists of 12 colours arranged in a circle, with the primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) and the secondary colours (orange, green, and purple) in between.


Tertiary colours, which are created by mixing a primary and secondary colours together, are located between the primary and secondary colours on the wheel.


Did you know? Primary colours are the only 3 colours that cannot be made using other shades on the wheel.


The principles of colour theory


One of the main principles of colour theory is the concept of complementary colours. Complementary colours are colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. When used together, they can create a strong visual contrast and enhance the vibrancy of both colours.


For example, the complementary colours of red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple can be used to create dynamic and eye-catching designs.


The importance of analogous colours


Another important principle is the use of analogous colours. Analogous colours are colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. When used together, they create a harmonious and cohesive colour scheme.


For example, blue, blue-green, and green are analogous colours and can be used to create a soothing and calming effect in a design.


Warm & cool colours


The use of warm and cool colours is another important aspect of colour theory. Warm colours, such as red, yellow, and orange, are associated with emotions such as excitement and passion. They can be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in a design.


Cool colours, such as blue, green, and purple, are associated with emotions such as calmness and serenity. They can be used to create a cool and relaxing mood within a design.


How to create contrast?


Colour value refers to the lightness or darkness of a colour. The value of a colour can be adjusted by adding white to lighten it or black to darken it. The use of high contrast in value can create a dramatic and eye-catching effect in a design.


On the other hand, the use of low contrast in value can create a more subtle and harmonious effect.


What is colour intensity?


Colour intensity refers to the purity and saturation of a colour. A colour with high intensity is bright and vivid, while a colour with low intensity is muted and subdued.


The use of high intensity colours can create a bold and energetic effect in a design, while the use of low intensity colours can create a more relaxed and peaceful effect.


Colour theory is a crucial aspect of arts and crafts. By understanding the relationships between colours and how they can be combined to create visual interest, artists and crafters can create dynamic and harmonious designs.


Whether you are working with paint, fabric, paper, or any other material, the principles of colour theory can help you bring your creative visions to life.


Take a moment to look around and write down what you notice. Specifically take a look at nature, she is a true colour theory master, and next time you are stuck on choosing your colour palette, bring up a colour wheel and create both a complimentary and analogous palette with your yarns and fibres before you start.


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