Colors have been around since the literal dawn of time, but the color wheel was invented in 1706 by Isaac Newton.
Isaac Newton was known for being a mathematician, scientist, and astronomer, but I’ve always thought of him as the color wheel guy with way too much hair.
He arranged the colors red, yellow, and blue in equal parts on a circle and then spun the circle very fast so that the person looking at the spinning wheel couldn’t see the colors and their eyes only saw white. There’s a science reason behind that, but we won’t get into that.
The color wheel is important because it shows colors relationships with each other.
Let’s start with the primaries! The primary colors are Red, Yellow, and Blue are so special because these are the colors that can’t be made. They are all by themselves. You can mix the primary to make any of the other colors, and you can add white to lighten them up, but you can’t mix green and purple to make red.
Secondaries are fun because you mix two primaries to get a secondary. These colors are orange, green, and purple. If you have all of the primary colors you can use them to make any secondary or tertiary colors.
The third category isn’t really talked about outside of an art class, but it is important. Tertiary colors are a mix between a primary color and a secondary color. Fun Fact! When talking about the tertiary colors the name is always written of spoken with primary color – secondary color. So its ALWAYS Red-Orange, and not Orange-Red.
Black, white, grey, and some browns are considered neutral colors. These colors can be used all by themselves or added to another color to add depth and contrast. Another way neutrals can be used, these colors can be mixed into any other color to create shades, tones, and tints. A shade is created by adding black to a color. A tone is created by adding grey, while a tint is created by adding white.