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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

How to use different colour schemes for backgrounds

Let’s delve a little deeper into how we can use colour to enhance the primary subject. Using different colour scheme concepts will create various effects in our work. Using these concepts can help create unity in our work or contrasts, we can also evolve the atmosphere of a picture.


The first step is to understand how colours relate to each other. Personally, I like to use my colour wheel, you can pick them up from most art shops. I love mine and would be lost without it. Basically it has a wheel dissected into triangles. Each colour is a cool colour or a warm colour and a primary colour or a secondary colour. PRIMARY COLOURS: You can not mix paints to create primary colours. If you are considering purchasing your first set of pain or pencils, I suggest you buy the best that you can afford, and stick to the primary colours. Most colours can be blended to create variations- which are known as the secondary colours. SECONDARY COLOURS: These are created by mixing two of the primary colours that are directly across from eachother on the colour wheel. TERTIARY COLOURS: These colours are made by mixing a primary colour and a secondary colour.


Now we know how to make our colours from the basics, let’s learn how to apply them. This is where a colour wheel comes in really handy; it basically has the arrows that point to where the complementary, split complementary, triadic and primary colours.

Below you will find 6 different schemes, illustrating this theory. MONOCHROMATIC: Illustrations made up of varying shades of one colour. In my example, I used vary shades of brown. ANALOGOUS: Uses a variation of colours next to one another on the colour wheel. SPLIT COMPLIMENTARY: Uses one main colour, and then uses the colours adjacent to it. PRIMARY: Using just the primary colours next to each other makes for obvious contrasting effects. COMPLIMENTARY: Create a vibrancy in the colour scheme when they are placed next to each other. TRIADIC: Uses three colours on that are equally spaced on the wheel . Now, get experimenting!

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