In This Chapter, you’ll learn on:
Describe what the colour wheel is
List and explain:
o Primary colours
o Secondary colours
o Complementary colours
Explain the relationships between primary colours,
secondary colours and complementary colours
The colour wheel
A color wheel is the arrangement or organization of
color hues around a circle which illustrates the
relationships between primary colors, secondary
colors, complementary colors. Most color wheels
consist of 12 main divisions, basing on three primary
colors, three secondary colors, and the six
intermediate colors formed by mixing a primary color
with a secondary color. These intermediates colors
are known as tertiary colors.
Mixing colour hues and mixing colour lights are
different. In this unit, we will learn more about colour
mixing theory (traditional colour theory).
A 12 division
In colour mixing theory (traditional colour theory),
there are 3 pigment colours that cannot be mixed or
formed by any combination of other colours. All
other colours can be derived from these 3 hues. They
are called the Primary Colours.
When two of the primary colours are combined the
result is called a secondary colour.
Orange ( Yellow + Red)
Green (Blue + Yellow)
Violet (Red + Blue)
When a primary colour is combined with the
secondary colour next to it, tertiary colour is formed.
The primary colour is always named first followed by
the secondary colour. For example, the colour
between yellow and green should be named
yellow-green, not green-yellow.
• Red –Orange
The term complementary colors refers to two colors
which are of “opposite” hue in the color wheel.
When two complementary colors are mixed in the
proper proportions, they will form a neutral color
(grey, white, or black). When one stares at a single
color for a sustained period of time (roughly thirty
seconds to a minute), then looks at a white surface,
an afterimage of the complementary color will
appear. For example, after looking at a red colour
for roughly thirty seconds or more, you will see cyan
when you look at a white surface.
Relationships between Primary, Secondary and
The 12-part Color Wheel describes the relationships
between colors. The relative positions of colours are an
indication of how they will work together. The simplified
wheel opposite consists of the primary, secondary and
Between each of the primary colours are the secondary
colours, which result from mixing the two primary colours.
The tertiary colours are obtained from mixing the
primaries with their respective secondary colours. As the
colours progress around the wheel in any direction, each
one is a gradual change from its adjacent colour.
Complementary colours refers to two colors which are of
“opposite” hue in the color wheel.