top of page

How to mix colors in acrylic paint

This post is the continuation of this one: Start painting with acrylics

Have you decided to paint a picture in acrylic? You know that colors can be mixed to create more interesting colors, but you don't know how to go about it? Don't worry, it's easier than you think!

The interest of making your own mixtures

There are dozens and dozens of colors available in acrylic on the market, and you would have to be very difficult not to find your happiness. The problem when you start is that unless you always use the same 4 or 5 colors, you're going to have to spend a lot of money if you want to invest in lots of different colors! And even there, you may have an idea of a painting and damn, you're missing the color you had in mind.

Making your own mixtures then has 2 advantages:

- You can (technically) create all possible colors by just having one tube of each primary color (yellow, red, blue) with you, plus one tube of black and one of white. Minimum investment, maximum creation!

- Making your mixtures is a great exercise to start and understand how acrylic paint reacts.

pots de peintures

Exercise 1

First, you need to understand how the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) combine to create secondary colors (orange, green, and purple).

Your turn now. Starting with your primary colors, try to get purple, green, and orange. Start by mixing in equal proportions (roughly) in your palette. Then readjust until you get a color you like. A little too much blue in your green and you'll get turquoise. A little too much yellow and you will get a very natural greenish yellow, ideal for painting vegetation for example. Experiment!

Exercise 2

Once you understand how primary and secondary colors work, you can start creating more varied colors. The key is knowing how to mix in the right proportions. For example, if you want to create brown, you can mix equal parts red, yellow, and blue.

The color wheel will help you visualize how to get new colors:

roue chromatique

The color wheel is also very useful for finding complementary colors, ie the colors that will contrast best with a chosen color, very useful in painting. Take for example red, look at the color which is directly opposite, hop you know that the complementary color of red is green.

Try to get all colors from the color wheel. That's already a lot of colors for your future paintings!

The following

Finally, you can use more complex mixtures to create more interesting colors. For example, you can mix warm and cool colors to create more subtle tones. By mixing primary colors and secondary colors, you can create richer and more varied colors.

You are now ready to mix colors with acrylics! Once you understand the basics, you can start experimenting to find new, interesting colors. So, enjoy your new paint job and have fun!


bottom of page