I was painting a miniature when I realized that the colors didn’t work well together. So, I grabbed my color wheel and discovered that some of these shades were complementary while others clashed horribly!
A color wheel is a circular graph organization 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 three 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 three primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. In contrast, secondary ones include orange, purple or green, which combine two of these primaries for them 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: Tertiary colors are a mixture of primary and secondary hues, such as brown, which combines blue with yellow.
- Complementary Colors: A good example of complementary colors are yellow and purple. When mixed, the two form a vibrant orange color known as “orangered” or an “orangey-yellow.”
- Analogous Colors: Analogous colors, like their name, suggests, both 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 what complementary colors exist opposite each other, like purple or yellow-green.
How To Use The Color Wheel For Miniature Painting
Imagine you are a painter- which colors do you use to make your masterpiece? The color wheel can help with that dilemma by telling us what combinations of hues look best together.
Using analogous colors is a quick way to make your main color pop. For example, if you’re using red as one of the five primary colors, try choosing orange or purple for an analogously colored accent that will catch people’s eye and draw them toward it.
A triad group is three equally spaced colors on the wheel and, if chosen correctly, can look very good together in one grouping. An example of this would be red, yellow, and blue, which have been used as school uniforms by many colleges like the University of Georgia or LSU’s Tigers football team.
Using the Color Wheel as a Guide
The color wheel is a perfect guide for choosing colors that look good together. It will help you avoid clashing with intense colors and find more subtle hues to accentuate your decorating scheme.
If you’re looking for a color wheel, there are many options to choose from. You can head over to the store and buy one or look online, where they will have different varieties of wheels that suit your needs.
This color wheel tool for designers will show you how to choose colors that work well together. You can play around with it and see the different results, which is a great way of getting an idea about what goes well together!
A color wheel is an indispensable tool in creating a vibrant and beautiful palette for your miniatures. With the ability to visualize colors as you blend them, it’s easy to find complementary hues that work well when placed next to each other on the spectrum of light.
A color wheel is a visual representation of how colors are related to each other. The right choice can be used for more than just aesthetics; it can also evoke certain emotions or feelings based on what you want your viewers to feel. For help with choosing the perfect palette, watch this video.
Know your color wheel, and you’ll become a better painter. My miniature painting skills have improved because of my knowledge about the color wheel, so yours will improve too if you know more.
What Are Complementary Colors?
Complementary colors are the opposite of each other on a color wheel. Sometimes they can be complementary to one another, with some variance in between.
For the primary colors, their complementary colors are:
- Blue → orange
- Yellow → purple
How you choose to paint a miniature will ultimately help with the overall look and feel. Complementary colors can be used for contrast, or they may serve as an accent color on top of another base color.
Nature is full of beautiful colors. The way an orange sunset contrasts with the blue sky or how a red strawberry sits next to its green leaves can be breathtaking and make for some amazing photos. So many animals have their own color schemes that sometimes I feel like I see art!
I was quite pleased with the spectacular look I achieved when combining purple and yellow for a wizard.
When complementary colors are put together, they seem to bring out the best in each other. By pairing opposite colors such as blue and orange or red and green, we can see that these two contrasting hues enhance one another’s vibrancy.
Keep in mind; if you are putting text on a colored background.
As you may have noticed, with each set of complementary colors, every primary color is represented. If we mix all three primary colors, the result will be black-and, making it difficult for some people to read their messages or documents!
Complementary colors are the ones that neutralize each other when mixed. Without a shadow of any doubt, all three primary colors can be found in both sets, which is why they make for such perfect color combinations on paper – just like pixels do on computer screens!
Tip: 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!
Remember that complementary colors, when mixed in the right proportions, can create beautiful neutrals. To get a focal color to stand out like never before, all you need is an array of different shades. By placing two contrasting colors next to or close to one another, your eyes will be drawn effortlessly towards it while they are distracted by everything else around them as well! Mixing complementary and neutral tones produce some exciting results, which I encourage everyone to try for themselves with this easy guide
What Are Analogous Colors?
Analogous colors are not just a convenient grouping on the color wheel. They can be used to create stunning monochromatic looks that will leave your friends and family in awe of your creative styling skills!
When creating a miniature, you want to think about the colors that have enough contrast when placed next to one another so they can be seen. If not, your mini might appear as if it’s all made of the same color.
To ensure this doesn’t happen in an analogous scheme (two or three shades), pick one shade and use it for most of what makes up your miniatures’ outfit-like clothes.
I usually choose the middle color as my dominant one, but that is just a personal preference. You can try out other colors too to see which you like; best experimentation never hurt anyone!
What Are The Warm Colors?
Red, yellow, and orange are warm colors. They visually jump out at you with their strong presence on the miniature painting; they dominate any other color seen nearby due to being so bold in nature. Warm colors can help convey anger, lust, or action because they add life and movement into your work when telling an emotional story such as these emotions would evoke for our subjects themselves!
Each shade of a primary color can be biased toward one or the other primary color. This is called their hue bias, and it’s often found in nature as well, such as when reds grow bluer with maturity.
For example, red shades are either more yellowish and called a warm red, or red is more bluish and considered cool-toned. The color can be influenced by how much warmth it contains when you mix colors, so if your goal is to get green from blue and yellow, they should have similar temperature hues.
There is also psychology in color temperature.
Colors are said to evoke emotions and provide a sense of urgency. For example, warm colors such as reds can be stimulating or comforting, while cool colors like blue may appear more calming on the eye. Colors also have culturally different meanings; thus, they should always be culturally sensitive when designing artwork for an audience from that cultural group.
When painting miniatures, you may want to use warm colors on your character or environment props for a certain mood. For example – if the scene is of an angry and rage-filled setting with chaos everywhere around them, start by using warmer hues like reds, oranges, yellows to convey that feeling.
What Are The Cool Colors?
From a painting perspective, the colors that are traditionally associated with coolness could be considered to have peaceful effects. They’re also used for making large spaces seem more expansive and create an illusion of blue sky or violet nighttime.
Using cool colors in your work can evoke a sense of calm. They offer an air of tranquility and wisdom that could help you feel healthier or more relaxed, especially when compared to warm colors, which give off vibes like anger or sadness.
I like using the cooler colors to convey personality in my miniatures. I like to use purple, blue, and green on characters that don’t rely heavily on physical strength first. Wizards, kings, and archers mostly have one of those three as their dominant colors because they are more cerebral than strong-willed; however, there is no set rule for painting a miniature with these cool shades!
Bringing The Color Wheel Into Your Miniature Painting
When it comes to using colors, your miniatures deserve the best treatment. Start with a color wheel and watch these small pieces of art come alive in all their vibrancy!
Hi! I'm Richard Baker, a miniature painter who has been painting for about ten years. My website is packed with great advice that I've learned from both books and personal experience on building and painting miniatures.