Value is the range of light and dark of a hue, with black at one extreme and white at the other, and includes the pure hue within the spectrum. Tone is the hue always mixed with grey (black and white) to create different values.


It is important to understand tint, tone, and shade in order to be able to create the illusion of depth, space, and three-dimensional form. This helps to communicate the message you, as an artist, want to convey and enables you to more easily mix the colours you want.


A tint is created when you add white to a colour and lighten it. Tints can range from nearly the full saturation of the hue to practically white. Tinting a colour also desaturates the hue, making it less intense.


A shade is created when you add black to a colour to darken it. Shades can range from a barely shaded pure hue to a deep black colour that is in the colour family of the original hue.


A tone is created when you add both white and black (which is grey), to a colour and tone it down, or desaturate it. Tones can either be lighter or darker than the original hue, depending on the proportions of black, white, and the original hue used.

Activity: Create your own tintS,  SHADES & TONES charts

you will need

  • The same paint or ink that you used to make your colour wheel. his time you need red, blue, yellow, white and black
  • Another piece of paper or your sketch book

what to do

Create some charts to show tints, shades and tones for each of the three primary colours.


Your charts do not have to look exactly like these images. You can use any style you want. Search ‘Tints Shades Tones’ online for further inspiration and research.


Add your Tints, Shades & Tones charts to your portfolio

optional extra

Why not experiment and do some of the secondary and tertiary colours too!