Iguana Art Academy

Color Wheel Definitions

If you’ve ever taken an art class, chances are you’ve seen the color wheel. It is as close as you can get to anything standard in the very subjective visual arts medium, yet it is essential color theory if your aim is to create something beautiful. Following is the basic P-S-T (Primary-Secondary-Tertiary) color wheel, along with helpful definitions relating to color harmony. If you’d like to learn more, you’ll find instruction in our courses relating to color mediums (e.g. painting, color pencil).

Color Wheel (Primary-Secondary-Tertiary)
Click to enlarge

Color wheel definitions:

  • Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue – cannot be mixed from any other colors.
  • Secondary Colors: Two primary colors mixed together resulting in orange, green and violet.
  • Tertiary (Intermediate) Colors: One primary and one secondary mixed together.
  • Aggressive (Warm) Colors: Reds, oranges and yellows.
  • Receding (Cool) Colors: Greens, blues and violets.
  • Hue: Another name for color.
  • Tint: Color + White
  • Tone: Color + Gray
  • Shade: Color + Black
  • Key Color: Dominant color in a color scheme or mixture.
  • Neutral Grey: Combination of black and white.
  • Intensity or Chroma: The brightness or dullness of a color.
  • Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Mono-chromatic: Using any shade, tint, or tones of one color.
  • Analogous: Using any shades, tints, or tones of colors that lie adjacent to each other on the wheel.
  • Achromatic: A colorless scheme using, blacks, whites and grays.
  • Complementary Colors: Combing a shade, tint or tone of one color and the color opposite on the wheel. Example blue and orange.
  • Split Complementary: Choosing one color and using the color on each side of the complement on the color wheel.
  • Diad: Using two colors that are two colors apart on the color wheel. Example red and orange.
  • Triad: Color scheme in which three colors equally spaced from each other. Example the three primary colors – red blue and yellow.
  • Tetrad: A contrast of four or more colors on the wheel.
Color Harmony Examples
Click to enlarge

October 1, 2017

0 responses on "Color Wheel Definitions"

Leave a Message

© 2013-16 Iguana Art Academy. All rights reserved.