Colour Theory 101

Hello! So in today’s blog we thought we’d go through some basic colour theory and how to mix our inks. If you already have some of our inks you can buy a 4kg empty tub here to mix in (you always want a bigger tub so you avoid spillage!). We recommend sticking to the same ink base; standards with standards and opaques with opaques.

Basic Colour Theory

Lets start down to the very basics. We’ve got primary colours, red, yellow and blue. Then we have secondary colours, which are basic hues achieved by mixing two primary colours. Then we have tertiary colours which is made by mixing primary and secondary colours (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet). These tertiary colours can vary a lot since you can tweak each to your liking! A blue-green can lean more green than blue for example.

Colour Wheel

Colours can look very different when matched with other colours. So when pairing and mixing hues it’s important to take their placement into account. Is it next to a lighter or darker colour, by itself or next to a complimentary colour? Colours that are opposite one another on the colour wheel are called complementary colours. Orange and blue, red and green etc. here are three examples of combinations from the use of a colour wheel

Analogous – This combines three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel for example violet, red and orange. 

Split complementary – This one is done by selecting the complementary of a hue but instead of using that you use the colours on either side. So for example if your base colour is blue you the complement would be orange but instead of orange you will use blue, yellow and amber. 

Triadic – This scheme is achieved by choosing hues that are evenly spaced on the colour wheel. 

Colour mixing tips!

Tip 1: So with our inks you can pretty much mix up any hue you desire. The exact proportion of how much of each colour to use is completely dependent on what end result you desire. For e.g. if you are mixing an orange, if you pop a little more yellow than red you will get a yellowish orange and conversely if you mix more red than yellow you’ll achieve a more reddish orange! Remember to write down how much of each ink you put in so you can recreate it later on! 

Tip 2: When mixing colours, it’s important to note that you only need a very small amount of a dark colour to change a lighter colour but you need far more of a light colour to change a dark one. So always add a dark colour to a light colour and not the other way around! E.g. you would add an orange to a white.

Tip 3: Since every colour is considered to be more warm or more cool (oranges and reds are generally more warm whilst blues are cool), you can have tints and shades of each colour that lean warmer or cooler depending on its properties! You could have a warm strawberry red or a cool raspberry red. If you add a warm colour to a warm colour you produce what is called a warm secondary. If you mix a warm colour with a cool colour it’ll produce a more neutral tone.

Tip 4: You can reduce the opacity of our inks with our print base [buy here]. 

Tip 5: Try not to use black to darken your colours. Black can make colours look muddy or murky so try using colours like brown or dark blue to create shades of your colours! 

Tip 6: Mix colours a shade or two lighter than the outcome you want to achieve. Paint dries ever so slightly darker than it looks in the tub so bear that in mind. It’s best to test the mixed colour by doing a swatch on a piece of your fabric!

You can purchase our inks here:

We hope you enjoyed this little 101 on colour theory!

If you have any questions please comment down below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

On our next blog will be a Tales from a Print Room and an in-depth look into our inks, the bases we use and how we mix the our colours!

Stay safe,
From the team at Publisher.

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