The colour wheel is a visual representation of colour theory. It helps to make it easier to see the relationship between different colours. Differences of opinion about the validity of one format over another continue to provoke debate. In reality, any colour circle or colour wheel which presents a logically arranged sequence of pure hues has merit. Typically, primary, secondary and tertiary colours are arranged into a natural progression in a circle of twelve colours.

The colour wheel allows us to see at a glance which colours are complimentary (opposite each other), analogous (next to each other), triadic (three colours positioned at 120 degrees on the wheel from each other) and so on. Each of these relationships can produce pleasing colour combinations. There are many more pleasing relationships between colours based on their position. We will discover more about these colour harmonies later.

Colour wheels also help us to get to know our materials. Different mediums, water colour, oil, pastels, inks, dyes, glazes etc and even different reds, blues and yellows will give variations in results. So a wise craftsman gets to know his materials and palette. It makes good sense to make a wheel before you use a new medium.

Watch this clip to learn how to make a colour wheel.


you will need

Red, blue & yellow paint or ink. Any wet medium, for example water colour or acrylic paint.

White paper or your sketch book

what to do

Paint a colour wheel of primary, secondary and tertiary colours. You don't have to do it exactly like the one in the video. You can use different shapes for the colours.

Browse the web if you want more inspiration. Go on - get creative!

Add your colour wheel to your portfolio