When you’re painting, green can add a touch of livelihood and vibrancy to your artwork. Without a doubt, the color of nature is not one you can do away with, but creating it is more complex than it seems. So, how do you make green?
More importantly, how do you make the green shade you have in mind? We’ll help you mix two colors to get your perfect green pigment and understand its composition.
Simply put, you can mix yellow and blue to get a green pigment. And you can tamper with the ratio of these two primary colors and their shades or add another color to get the green tone you want.
Now that we’ve established that blue and yellow make green pigments, let us elaborate on the different methods you can use to make the color.
Yellow and Blue
We’re relying on the Subtractive Color Theory for this method, which defines and composes colors. Not to mention, we have that theory to thank for the color wheel!
But how can we use the color wheel to make a green pigment? Use the yellow shade on the top of the color wheel and the blue one at the bottom of the wheel. Also, you’ll want to start with two parts yellow and one part blue. Then, you might have to adjust the ratio to get the green hue on the color wheel.
However, if you want a dark green, you should use less yellow than blue. Otherwise, you can go easy on the blue to get a light green.
Do you want to take your green a step further? Try out multiple yellow and blue colors to get your perfect green pigment. On the one hand, you can use cadmium yellow with various shades of blue to get slightly different green tints. Examples of these blue varieties are:
- Cobalt blue
- RGH blue
- Ultramarine blue
- Phthalo blue
On the other hand, you can change up your yellow tints by using:
- Cadmium lemon
- Naples yellow
- Saffron yellow
- Yellow ochre
With that out of the way, here are a few keys. Saffron yellow mixed with blue creates a warm green shade because that yellow tone has a hint of orange in it. In comparison, lemon yellow is a cool yellow shade, so you can use it to make a darker green (one that’s more similar to the color wheel’s green).
See also: What Colors Make Black?
Green and Red
You might be wondering why you should use green to make green, which is fair enough. Since most color palettes have green colors, you might not have to make the color from scratch. Instead, you might want a different green shade, such as a more muted one.
In that case, mix a green hue with red, its complementary color. For example, you can choose cadmium red for a muted green, alizarin crimson for an even softer and cooler one, or burnt sienna for a green earth tone.
Green and Light Colors
When you want a light green, an easy hack is to mix white with green; we’d suggest trying out cremnitz white, which will give you a sage tone. But if that light green is a little too pasty for your taste, you can blend green and yellow shades, including cadmium yellow or yellow ochre, for a light but vivid green pigment.
Tip: Aside from white and yellow, any light color can help create a light green.
Green and Dark Colors
On the other end of the spectrum, you might want to darken your green hue. The obvious route is to add a bit of black to your green, but there are other options. We love dioxazine purple for a rich dark green. And if you want that cool green tint but don’t want a darker one, you should use a provence violet blueish color.
An even cooler green is possible with ultramarine blue. Also, consider adding burnt umber to your green pigment if you want an earthy green tone.
Green and Orange
Needless to say, you can create a warm green hue by mixing green with warm colors. Specifically, green and cadmium orange makes for an excellent mix.
Overall, it’s pretty easy to make green because you need to mix the basic blue and yellow colors from the color wheel. If you already have a green color that isn’t what you’re looking for, you can add light, warm, or dark colors to get the green shade you have in mind.
Finally, don’t limit yourself to lightening or darkening green with white and black because there’s an infinite number of green shades, and you can explore as many of them as you like!