How Do You Use Color Wheel It in Miniature Painting?

  • By: Richard
  • Date: February 28, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

I was painting a miniature when I realized that the colors didn’t work well together. So, I grabbed my color wheel and found that some of these shades complemented each other while others clashed horribly!

A color wheel is a circular diagram organized by hue, visually referencing primary, secondary, and tertiary colors for your miniature painting project. You can look at the color wheel to determine which shades will fit best into your scheme to paint like a true artist!

We have all learned that the primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. The secondary colors are orange (combining two primaries), purple (each), and green. They’re just as important in understanding color theory as their counterparts- they allow us to combine different shades of these bright hues into eye-catching art pieces like these!

Remember how you learned that? The color wheel! It’s not just kid stuff. There is more to learn about it and how it can bring your miniature painting to a whole new level. At some point, we have all learned that the primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. In contrast, the secondary colors include orange, purple, and green, which combine two of these primaries to create such an attractive hue for your mini-masterpiece – do give this idea a try if you decide on taking up art as one of its many forms.

Color Wheel Basics

Before we get started, take a look at some helpful color terminology to know:

  • Tertiary Colors: These are a mixture of primary and secondary hues, such as brown which is created by combining blue and yellow.
  • Complementary Colors: A good example of complementary colors are yellow and purple. When mixed, they form a vibrant orange color known as “orangered” or an “orangey-yellow.”
  • Analogous Colors: Analogous colors, as their name suggests, are colors that have something in common with one another – they’re situated right next to or across from each other on a color wheel!

To create contrast and add depth, it is best to use complementary colors. For example, if you are trying to pick out the perfect color for painting an orange tree with dark green leaves on its branches, try looking at the complementary colors that exist opposite each other, such as purple or yellow-green.

How To Use The Color Wheel For Miniature Painting

As a painter, have you ever wondered which colors would look best together in your masterpiece? The color wheel can help answer this question by showing us the combinations of hues that complement each other.

Using analogous colors is a quick way to make your main color stand out. For example, if you’re using red as one of your primary colors, consider using orange or purple as analogous accent colors to attract the viewers’ attention.

A triad group consists of three equally spaced colors on the wheel and, if chosen correctly, can look very good together in one composition. An example of this is red, yellow, and blue, which have been used as school colors by many universities, such as the University of Georgia or LSU’s football team.

Using the Color Wheel as a Guide

There are many options for color wheels, including in-store purchases or online options that cater to specific needs.

The color wheel serves as a visual guide to help you understand the relationship between colors. This tool can be used to create a dynamic and visually appealing palette for your miniature paintings. The ability to see how colors blend on the spectrum of light can make it easy to find complementary hues.

In addition to aesthetics, the right color choices can evoke specific emotions or feelings in your viewers. To maximize the impact of your artwork, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the color wheel. With knowledge of the color wheel, you can become a better painter. Just like my own miniature painting skills improved through my understanding of the color wheel, yours will too.

What Are Complementary Colors?

Complementary colors are located opposite of each other on the color wheel. They are considered to be complementary because they enhance each other when used together. The primary colors and their complementary pairs are:

  • Blue and orange
  • Red and green
  • Yellow and purple

In miniature painting, you can use complementary colors for contrast or as an accent color. For example, a blue sky with an orange sunset or a red strawberry with green leaves can create a beautiful, eye-catching contrast. The same goes for a wizard, who can be painted using purple and yellow, two complementary colors.

When mixed in the right proportions, complementary colors can create beautiful neutral hues. By placing two contrasting colors next to each other, your eyes will be drawn towards the focal point. Mixing complementary and neutral tones can produce exciting results, which I encourage you to try.

Tip: Adding a small amount of the complementary color can change the brightness. A small amount of a complementary color added to an extreme shade will make it more subdued, while adding more of it can create unique colors.

Keep in mind that when text is placed on a colored background, it is important to choose a color that makes it easy to read. Mixing all three primary colors will result in black, which can make text difficult to read.

In this table, I’ve compiled the primary colors and their respective complementary colors, as well as the effects of combining these hues. Let’s take a closer look at how we can utilize these color pairs to enhance our miniature paintings.

Complementary ColorsResult When Mixed
Blue & OrangeEnhances Vibrancy
Red & GreenEnhances Vibrancy
Yellow & PurpleEnhances Vibrancy
Complementary ColorsCreates Beautiful Neutrals
Mix of Complementary & Neutral TonesProduces Exciting Results

Note: Adding a speck of the complementary color can intensify or decrease the brightness. Adding just one spot of its complement to an extreme shade will turn it into something more subdued, while adding many spots in succession could make for some unique colors!

What Are Analogous Colors?

Analogous colors are a group of colors that are found adjacent to each other on the color wheel. They are often used to create a harmonious, monochromatic look in a painting, decoration, or miniature.

When using an analogous color scheme, it’s important to choose colors with enough contrast so that they don’t all appear to be the same shade. To avoid this, you can choose one dominant color as the base and use two or three other shades to accent it.

In an analogous color scheme, it’s typical to use the middle color as the dominant one, but this is a personal preference. Experimenting with different options is a great way to find the perfect combination for your project.

What Are The Warm Colors?

As a painter of miniatures, I know that warm colors play a significant role in the overall look and feel of a painting. Red, yellow, and orange are considered warm colors, and they have a bold presence on the canvas, dominating any other color in the vicinity.

I understand that the hue bias of warm colors, such as the yellowish or reddish tints, can influence the mood and emotions conveyed in a painting. For instance, I use warm colors like reds, yellows, and oranges to evoke feelings of anger, lust, or action in a painting.

Moreover, I take into consideration the psychological impact of color temperature in my paintings. Colors are believed to evoke emotions and create a sense of urgency, and warm colors like reds can be either stimulating or comforting. On the other hand, cool colors like blue are perceived to be calming to the eye. It is essential to be culturally sensitive when using colors in a painting, as they may have different meanings across cultures.

What Are The Cool Colors?

I have a soft spot for cool colors. They evoke a sense of serenity and peace that can instantly change the mood of my artwork. The cool shades, such as blue, green, and purple, are often associated with vast, open spaces and can help create the illusion of a clear sky or a calm night.

In my experience, incorporating cool colors into my paintings can bring a sense of calmness to the viewer. Unlike warm colors that evoke emotions like anger and sadness, cool colors promote tranquility and wisdom.

When it comes to creating characters in my miniature paintings, I often turn to the cooler color palette to convey personality. For example, I might use blue, green, or purple on characters who embody intelligence and finesse rather than brute strength. I see these colors as a fitting representation of intellectual, wise figures such as wizards, kings, or archers. However, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to using cool colors in miniature painting – it’s all about personal interpretation and preference!


In conclusion, the color wheel is an essential tool for miniature painters. It provides a visual guide to help understand the relationship between colors and create dynamic, visually appealing palettes. Using the color wheel, painters can determine complementary and analogous colors, triad groups, and make informed choices about color combinations. By using the color wheel as a guide, miniature painters can improve their skills, evoke specific emotions in viewers, and create eye-catching works of art.


What is a color wheel?

A color wheel is a circular diagram organized by hue that visually references primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. It is used to understand color theory and make informed choices about color combinations in art.

What are the primary colors?

The primary colors are blue, red, and yellow.

What are the secondary colors?

The secondary colors are orange, purple, and green, which are created by combining two primary colors.

What are complementary colors?

Complementary colors are located opposite each other on the color wheel and enhance each other when used together. The primary color pairs are blue and orange, red and green, and yellow and purple.

What are analogous colors?

Analogous colors are colors that have something in common with one another and are situated next to or across from each other on a color wheel.

How can the color wheel be used in miniature painting?

The color wheel can be used in miniature painting to determine complementary, analogous, and triad color combinations, create contrast and depth, and evoke specific emotions in viewers. It serves as a visual guide to help make informed choices about color combinations.

Hey there! I'm Richard Baker, a miniature painter who's been in the game for a solid decade now. I've been painting miniatures for ten years and I've got a ton of tips and tricks to share with you all. My website is a treasure trove of knowledge that I've gathered from both my own personal experiences and from reading all sorts of books.

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