What colors together make brown

Mix even brown tones - that's how it works

Mix even brown tones - that's how it works

Brown is created when red and green are mixed together. This is how elementary school children learn in art class. And of course this statement is not wrong. Only brown is not just brown. Rather, there are brown tones in a wide variety of nuances. If you want a very specific shade of brown for your acrylic painting, you have to experiment a bit.

In this post we explain how the painter can mix brown tones himself and what is important:

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Mix even brown tones - the materials

We mix the brown tones from basic colors. Manufacturers of acrylic paints have the so-called primary colors in their ranges for this. These consist of the colors primary yellow, primary red and primary blue. Depending on the manufacturer, the colors are sometimes called primary magenta instead of primary red and primary cyan instead of primary blue. Countless other shades can be mixed from these three basic colors.

In general, the primary colors are best for creating your own colors. It is also possible to use pigment colors in any shade of yellow, red and blue. However, the ready-mixed shades then often appear less clear and clean.

In order to practice mixing brown tones and to use this opportunity to create color cards at the same time, you will need:

  • Acrylic paint in primary yellow, primary red, primary blue, white and black

  • Painting pad

  • Ruler and pen

  • Painting knife and brush

  • Palette, plate or similar object for mixing the colors

  • Kitchen towels and vessel with water

Using a ruler and pen, the painter can draw boxes on the painting pad and color them in different shades of brown. Next to the boxes, he should note the proportions of the acrylic paints used. In this way, he can later understand again and again how the brown tones came about.

A painting knife is the ideal tool for mixing as such. With a brush it can happen that too much color gets stuck in the hair and the brush hairs stick together.

If a shade of brown is mixed, the painter should clean the painting knife and brush well before working on the next shade. It is advisable to first wipe the painting tool in a piece of kitchen paper and then wash it in water.

By removing the paint beforehand, the water does not get dirty as quickly and therefore has to be changed less often.

Mix even brown tones - that's how it works

Brown occurs in a wide variety of nuances. Tree trunks, wood, earth, nuts, coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, honey, amber or cardboard are just a few examples of things that are all brown and yet come in very different shades of brown. This results in a huge range of brown tones that the painter can try to mix up himself.

Brown from the primary colors in the same proportion

If the painter mixes primary yellow, primary red and primary blue in a ratio of 1: 1: 1, a dark, strong shade of brown is created. The color comes very close to what is available as a finished acrylic paint under umber.

The painter can now vary this color tone by gradually adding yellow to the mixture. The higher the yellow component, the lighter the brown tone. In addition, the painter can lighten the resulting color tones with white. This creates further nuances of umber.

Brown with orange as a base

For a brown tone that goes in the direction of ocher, the painter can first mix a very light orange. To do this, he takes yellow and adds a little red and a little splash of blue.

In order to obtain shades of brown, the painter now gradually mixes in a little blue. However, he has to be a bit careful with the dosage here. Because if the proportion of blue becomes too high, the color becomes greenish. If the color is too green, the painter can counteract this with red.

This means that there is no longer any ocher, but the result is a strong brown. The painter can then lighten the various shades of color with white or darken them with very little black.

Brown from red, yellow and black

The painter receives very beautiful brown tones that turn reddish brown with a red tone as a basis. For the shade of red, he mixes red and yellow in a ratio of 1: 1. Then he can gradually darken his original color with black.

The higher the proportion of black, the more intense the brown becomes. A little white acrylic paint then provides additional shading.

Mix your own shades of brown or buy ready-made?

The manufacturers of acrylic paints have quite a large selection of different shades of brown ready. However, colors from different manufacturers may look different when dry, even though they have the same name.

Whether the painter uses mixed or pre-purchased paints himself remains a question of personal preference. It also depends on the painting project. If the painter would like to paint a large acrylic picture, where he needs a lot of a very specific shade of brown, it probably makes more sense to buy the appropriate acrylic paint.

Mixing exactly the same shade of brown twice is almost impossible. But the painter should then also decide on the paint from a manufacturer.

If, on the other hand, the painter only needs a very small amount of paint for his picture or it doesn't matter if the brown tones differ slightly, it can be very interesting to mix the tones yourself.

Especially since the painter can not only design his own nuances in this way and does not have to spend huge amounts of money on high-quality acrylic paints. Instead, mixing colors is a good practice that will help develop a feel for the colors and how they behave.

In addition, the resulting colors and the colored boxes on the color cards often provide ideas and suggestions for further pictures. So it's definitely worth experimenting with colors, not just on the canvas.

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Topic: Mix your own shades of brown - that's how it works

Owner at Artdefects Media Verlag
The two artists and painters RZA & Feryal (Christian Gülcan & Ferya Gülcan) write here. Both built in 1974, with partly different beginnings (grafitti, drawing & design) in acrylic painting. We are the brand owner of the art forge kooZal and mainly paint modern and abstract acrylic paintings in large format. Our own studio or atelier is located in Bremen.

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The two artists and painters RZA & Feryal (Christian Gülcan & Ferya Gülcan) write here. Both built in 1974, with partly different entry points (grafitti, drawing & design) into acrylic painting. We are the brand owner of the art forge kooZal and mainly paint modern and abstract acrylic paintings in large format. Our own studio or atelier is located in Bremen. Show all contributions by editors

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