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This simple device is very useful for demonstrating the relationships between the different colours of the spectrum and holds true for any of the mediums that you will be using.

The diagram shows an inner circle of colour containing the three primaries, red, yellow and blue. 'Primary' means you cannot break them down into any components. They are the three basic colours from which all others are made.

In the outer circle we have a number of secondary colours which combine two of the primary colours, and also the gradations of the spectrum in between. Starting at the top and moving in a clockwise direction the colours are: green, blue-green (turquoise), the primary blue, violet, purple, crimson, the primary red, vermilion, orange, deep yellow, the primary yellow, yellow-green, and then back to the first colour, green.

Note that the results of mixing each of the secondary colours (two primaries mixed) yield strong red and weak blue in crimson; strong blue and weak red in violet; strong blue and weak yellow in turquoise; strong yellow and weak blue in yellow-green; strong yellow and weak red in deep yellow and strong red and weak yellow in vermilion.

Now have a look at the colours on the wheel that are opposite one another. They 'complement' each other as they render the greatest contrast between themselves and, as a result,have the most impact when placed next to each other in, for example, a picture.

Tertiary colours are mixtures of all three primaries, which make darker, subtler or more neutral colours, such as brown, beige, grey and variations on green and purple.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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