What are complementary colors for brown

Mix brown - simply mix beautiful brown tones yourself

Brown is not the most colorful color, but brown is an important part of painting. The color is needed, for example, to represent wood or hair in a natural way, and brown is a color that is often found in nature. Brown tones can also be used to create a delicate gradient from light to dark, which makes your works of art more realistic. Due to the proximity of the brown color to nature, strength and warmth can be associated with it. Here we show you how to mix brown color.




Brown color palette

What image comes to mind when you think of the color brown? Maybe you see wood in front of you, your garden or the color of another person's eyes. The term brown is very general for this color, but it includes many shades and intensities. The color is also perceived differently by everyone and is therefore very subjective. There are light brown and dark brown colors and shades in between. Brown color can be perceived as warmer or cooler. However, it is more of a warmer color, as it consists of the primary colors yellow and orange.

If you want to describe a color, you can use the following three ways:

  • Hue: This is the most dominant color group. The colors red, yellow and blue are for example the primary hues.
  • Color value: The color value indicates the lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Saturation / Intensity: The saturation or intensity indicates how bright or matt the color is.

You can change the value of a color by adding white or black paint. If you want to change the intensity of the color, i.e. make the color appear brighter or more matt, you can mix it with its complementary color. As you can see, there are a few things to consider when mixing brown.



What colors do you mix brown from?

There isn't just a single way to blend browns. If you want to mix brown paint, you should first deal with the different types of paint. You will be amazed at how many different colors and their intensities and shades there are. You will find the different colors clearly displayed in a color wheel. The color wheel gives you information about the relationship between colors. In this way you can find out which colors are primary, secondary, tertiary or complementary colors. If you understand these basics, you can make your own mix colors and create unique works of art.


Primary colors

If you want to buy a set of colors for painting, it should at least contain the primary colors. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. With these colors you can mix various other colors as well as brown. The easiest way to mix brown color is to mix all of the primary colors together in equal parts. If you want to create a light brown shade, you can add some opaque white to the mixture. Depending on how much color you add, you can mix different hues and shades of brown. So you can create a variety of different shades of brown, ranging from light to dark.


Secondary colors

The secondary colors can be created by combining two primary colors, creating shades of orange, purple and green.

How to mix the secondary colors:

  • Green: Mix yellow and blue
  • Purple: Mix blue and red
  • Orange: Mix red and yellow


Complementary colors

Complementary colors are in Color wheel opposite each other and complement each other. By combining complementary colors, you can not only mix brown color, but also influence the intensity of the color. By combining different complementary colors, you can create different shades of brown.

The complementary colors of the basic colors on the color wheel are:

  • Blue and orange
  • Red and green
  • Yellow and purple

By mixing these colors you can create different shades of brown. With regard to the secondary colors red, violet and orange, the complementary color is the primary color, which is not used to mix the secondary color. For example, the complementary color to green is red, because yellow and blue result in green and red is not used. The other secondary complementary colors are purple and yellow and orange and blue.

In addition to these basic colors mentioned above, there is also a large number of color gradients between the colors. However, the complementary color is always the opposite color in the color wheel, regardless of the hue or intensity.



Which colors make brown?

If you don't have all the colors available, or if your supplies of colors are limited, you may be wondering if you can make brown from the secondary colors. The answer to this question is yes, but you need a basic understanding of how colors are mixed.

To clarify which colors to mix brown from, we have already given you information about the primary, secondary and tertiary colors. Now you will learn how to mix brown by using only two colors that are not primary colors. To do this, you mix a secondary color with its complementary color.



How do you mix brown?

Here are some examples of how you can mix brown:

  • Purple is mixed with the complementary color yellow
  • Green is mixed with red
  • Orange is mixed with blue

If you have mixed your shade of brown and want to lighten it to get a light brown color, you can add some opaque white.


How do I make brown color lighter or darker?

To mix brown with the primary colors, put the same amount of each of the three colors on a palette and stir them with a spatula or brush until you get an even brown shade. To make the color lighter, mix in some white. Add a small amount of white at a time, until you achieve the desired shade.

To make your brown color darker, you can add black. While black is not a primary color, most color sets contain that color. You should also only add a small amount of black to get a darker shade of brown. If you add too much black color, you will have to lighten your brown again. If you want a chocolate brown shade, you can add dark blue paint instead of black paint.

The so mixed darker brown tones are well suited for evening scenes. To create a nice dark brown tone, we recommend, for example, Ultramarine Blue or Dioxazine Purple. You can also experiment with the colors and mix different shades of brown together. This may give you new and better shades of brown.


How do I mix brown warmer?

Color also has a temperature. When painting, it is important that you understand these so that you can create mood and depth in your works of art. As a rule, orange, red and yellow tones are considered warm colors, while green and blue colors appear cool. You can take advantage of this effect of the colors to mix different shades of brown. For example, if you add some yellow or red color to your brown, you get a warmer shade of brown. These colors often work well for outdoor scenes. Make sure to always blend the colors gradually until you reach your desired shade. If you have added a little too much red, you can try to compensate for this with a little blue paint.

If you want to create a cooler shade of brown, you can add some blue paint. This makes your color darker and is ideal for shadows, for example in forest scenes. If your color has become too cool, you can compensate for this by adding a small amount of yellow or red paint again.



Mix brown for acrylic painting

Brown is an important color in acrylic painting, which is suitable for various purposes such as trees, hair, skin and shades of color. If you use primary colors, you can easily create a shade of brown of your choice and create so many beautiful and individual works of art. The following guide is ideal for beginners as all the materials you need are readily available.

You need:

  • brush
  • palette
  • Acrylic paints: The basic colors and opaque white
  • spatula
  • water
  • Kitchen towels
  • Ground for testing the colors

Put three equally large blobs of the colors red, yellow and blue on your palette at a distance from each other. Depending on your needs, you can also add some white paint. Mix the primary colors with the spatula. It will be a muddy brown shade. Once the colors have blended evenly, you can make the brown color a little lighter by adding a little white.

As soon as the color has taken on your desired shade of brown, you have to start painting. Often a different shade or intensity of brown color is needed. If so, you can adjust the color accordingly by adding white or a little more of one of the basic colors. You can try out the colors on your test surface before painting on your canvas.

These instructions only give you a rough idea of ​​how to mix brown paint. Since there are many different shades of brown, we can't show you how to make each one. In order to create your desired shade of brown, you have to experiment with the colors and try different ways.



How do you mix brown with watercolors?

Do you want paint with watercolors, you can mix your shades of brown on a plate or palette. Put some water on your palette so that a small puddle is formed and then add your color, if necessary you can add two or three more colors. Make sure you get enough paint to cover the area you want.

Also, keep in mind that you may want to try the color first before you start painting. It is best to mix the colors while painting so that they do not dry out, because then they can no longer be mixed well.

Some artists even mix the watercolors right in their picture instead of mixing them on a palette first. In this case, however, if you make a mistake while mixing, your entire picture can quickly be ruined. We therefore advise against this method. You can mix your brown with red and yellow paint and add orange and blue to the mix.

However, there are many different ways to mix a brown color. So try as much as you can for the best results. For example, ultramarine blue is ideal for creating darker shades of brown, while adding cerulean blue gives you a lighter shade.

If the mixed brown is too blue for you, you can add some red or orange. This will give you a caramel or honey shade. If the brown is too yellow for you, add some red or purple to get a richer brown. You can add a little red to a shade of brown that looks too green. With a little practice, you can easily mix your desired shade of brown and any other color yourself.



Mixing brown paint yourself: the advantages

As a beginner in painting, you may experiment with mixing the colors and hope that you get the shade you want. However, there are some benefits to using the right technique to mix browns and other colors.

  • You will waste less color if you know how to get the right shade. With a basic set of colors you can mix many more colors. So you save money.
  • You can only achieve realistic images if you know how to mix the appropriate colors.
  • You won't always find your desired color already mixed.
  • When you mix, you get to grips with the colors, which can help you become a better artist.
  • By learning how to mix colors, you will increase your creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Not only adults benefit from this, but also children.

If you want to mix brown paint or create other colors, it can be helpful to use a color wheel. You don't have to buy this first, you can either download an app for it or search for it online.



Frequently asked questions and answers


How do I mix brown?

To get brown color, you need to mix other colors together. To do this, you can, for example, mix all the primary colors. Another option is to mix secondary colors with their complementary colors.


What is a complementary color?

If you look at the color wheel, you will see that every color has an opposite; the opposite color. These are called complementary colors. Thus, the complementary color of red is the color green.


Is brown a warm or cool color?

In general, brown is considered a warm color, as orange and yellow tones form the basis for it. Depending on which colors are around the brown, the color will look different. For example, if the brown is next to a matching shade of blue, the brown may appear as a cool shade.


How can I turn a caramel color into a dark brown shade?

To do this, first mix red and green to get a darker shade of brown. You gradually mix this in with the caramel color until you have achieved your desired shade.


Can I make a brown color out of gray?

To turn gray into brown, add some red, yellow, and blue to the color. The color may appear a bit dull at first, so keep experimenting with the color until you get your desired shade.


How can I mix a light brown color?

First mix your brown color and then add a little yellow or white until you have the desired shade.