Introduction: Color Theory for Everyone!

Understanding color theory will impact everyone who gets dressed in the morning, which is just about everyone. It is especially helpful for beginner artists, but is certainly not limited to artists. Many people brush off color theory as elementary concepts, but understanding the way colors interact with each other can enhance paintings, designs, photographs, outfits, etc, etc, etc. If you think you know all there is to know about color, I encourage you to read on.

This instructable serves as a crash course in color theory. In this excercise, you will learn about different colors and their relationships, hue, purity, and value, and how these all interact with each other. 

This instructable is set up as a visual learning guide. Each photograph has a caption provided that will explain a little bit at a time. The use of paint chips to demonstrate certain relationships between colors enhances the efficacy of this crash course. After clicking through the entire series of photographs, you should have a better understanding and a new found appreciation of colors.

The only way to truly learn color theory is to take a hands on approach. Visit your local hardware or paint store and pick up a large number of paint chips. You want to get a vast variety of colors. Follow along with the pictures and captions, using your own chips to make the similar combinations and observations.

This can easily be taught in a classroom setting. Have your students bring in paint chips. Perform a couple of demonstrations explaining each concept, but then let the students work on their own. The only way to truly learn is to solve these problems on your own.

Outside Resources

A color test - Find out how color blind you are and how you rank among your demographic. A fun extra credit supplement that reinforces the students knowledge of hue.

basic color combinations
  • color schemes
  • monochromatic
  • analogous
  • complementary
  • split complementary
  • triadic
  • tetradic (double complementary)
Hands-on Learning Contest

Participated in the
Hands-on Learning Contest

Back to School Contest

Participated in the
Back to School Contest