rown is one of the most important colors to be able to mix properly. When painting, different shades of brown are needed for things like wood and trees, hair, skin tones, animals, and for creating light effects and transitions in paintings. To really bring your artwork to life, knowing how to make brown paint is essential. Unfortunately, knowing how to make brown paint is a bit more complex than most colors. We will explore what colors make brown paint, and how to get various shades of this versatile color.
Table of Content
- 1 Understanding the Brown Color Palette
- 2 What Colors Make Brown?
- 3 What Two Colors Make Brown?
- 4 Making a Dark or Light Brown Color
- 5 How to Add Warmth to Brown
- 6 How to Make Brown Paint With Acrylics
- 7 How to Make Brown Paint With Watercolors
- 8 Why is Mixing a Brown Color Palette Important?
- 9 Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding the Brown Color Palette
Brown is a vast term to describe a color with many different nuances. A brown eye can be completely different from a piece of light brown wood. There are all kinds of different intensities and shades to brown, so understanding the complete brown color palette is important. Browns can be light, dark, cool, warm, and tinted with other shades – such as yellow or orange.
When looking at any color, there are three essential aspects to really understanding the makeup of that color. These are:
- Hue: The dominant color group or main color. For example, red, blue, and yellow are primary hues.
- Intensity/Saturation: This describes how bright and vibrant the color is, or whether it is dull.
- Color Value: How light or dark a certain color is. For example, you get light brown, dark brown, and many shades in-between. These shades refer to the color value.
For altering the color value, you can lighten or darken the shade using white or black paint. For changing the intensity of the color, the color can be mixed with its complementary color. Therefore, knowing how to make brown and understanding all of these color variables is not that straightforward.
What Colors Make Brown?
Knowing how to make brown colors is a bit more complex than other secondary and tertiary colors. If you ask what two colors make brown, you can find a couple of different answers. You will need to understand the different colors and know which ones can produce which shades of brown. This helps you to realize just how versatile brown can be.
To understand how to make brown colors, take a good look at the color wheel, and notice the relationships between each color. Having a good grasp of this will help you to realize which direction to take when making different shades of brown.
The primary colors are the most important colors to have in any painting set. These are colors that cannot be created by mixing colors, and instead have to be bought as pure colors. There are only three primary colors: Red, yellow, and blue. When mixed together in different quantities, you can make various other colors. So, how can you make brown using only primary colors? Simply mix an equal amount of each to reach a brown shade.
If you do this, but want the brown to be a lighter shade, then you can mix in some white. If you change the ratios of the paints, you will achieve different brown hues and shades. Even f this is very slight, a red-brown and a blue-brown will have very different effects.
Secondary colors are a result of two primary colors being mixed together. These include purple, green, and orange. To make the secondary colors, you can mix the following:
- Blue + red = purple
- Blue + yellow = green
- Yellow + red = orange
When considering secondary colors, what two colors make brown? Orange and blue can make brown, and red and green can also make brown. The secondary colors can also be used to add variations to the brown shade created by the three primary colors. For example, you can make a brown with underlying purple colors.
Complementary colors are the different shades directly opposite each other when looking at the color wheel. These are colors that work well when used alongside each other. When learning how to make brown paint, you can mix together two complementary colors. Doing this allows you to open up an even wider range of brown shades and hues. You can also tweak the brown a bit by adding slightly more and less of each color. When you start to mix brown by using complementary colors, you will realize just how diverse brown can be.
Complementary colors for the primary colors are:
- Green and red
- Blue and orange
- Purple and yellow
A combination of each pair produces a different shade of brown. The secondary color complementary colors are:
- Blue and orange
- Yellow and purple
These are all the main colors, but between them, you can find a wide range of different variations and intensities. Whatever color is opposite one on the color wheel, no matter what the intensity, will always be its complementary color.
What Two Colors Make Brown?
If you do not have such a wide range of colors available, it is possible to mix brown paint from two secondary colors. As long as you have a good understanding of colors, this can be achieved. If you do not want to mix brown from the three primary colors, then you can mix a secondary color with its complement. So, what colors make brown?
- Yellow + purple = brown
- Green + red = brown
- Blue + orange = brown
If you want to make a light brown color, you can simply add some white. Just be careful when doing this, as you can always add more white but taking out white can be a bit more tricky.
Making a Dark or Light Brown Color
If you want to make a light brown color, then start by creating a regular brown using the three primary colors. Once this is mixed together, you can adjust the lightness with a bit of white paint. Only ever use a tiny bit of white paint at a time, and slowly add more and more until you reach the perfect shade.
Making a dark brown is a little bit more tricky. You can use black to make brown paint darker by adding very small increments at a time. However, black is made up of all the different colors, and so black paints can contain multiple pigments. You need to be careful when adding black because it could change the color. Sometimes, it is better to use more of the darker color in the brown mix. For example, if you are mixing blue and orange together, add a little bit more blue for a darker shade of brown. Purple is also great for mixing into browns to darken them.
How to Add Warmth to Brown
Colors help to capture moods and emotions in painting. When looking at brown, there are various levels of depth that you can achieve. Warm colors include tones like yellow, red, and orange. If you add some of these colors to brown, it will provide a greater level of warmth and depth. These tones are often used for sunny, natural, and bright scenes.
You also get cool colors, which are blue and green. These can be used to create a cooler, dark brown color. Mix these colors slowly and carefully, knowing that you can always add more but may struggle to take the color out.
If you do add too much of one spectrum, you can always balance it out with the other. For example, red can be balanced out with blue paint.
How to Make Brown Paint With Acrylics
When painting with acrylics, brown is an important color to have in your palette. One of the benefits of painting with acrylics is that these paints can easily mix and blend with each other. This gives you a good platform for experimenting with different brown shades and mixes. If you have the primary colors in your acrylic set, you can use them to create brown paint and customize the shade with different color additions and ratios.
- To mix the acrylic paint, you will need a paintbrush, palette, and palette knife. Water will be needed for cleaning the brushes, and you should have a test surface – like a piece of paper – to see how the brown mixture comes through. Make sure that you have your primary colors ready as well as an opaque white paint.
- Start by mixing together equal amounts of blue, red, and yellow. Mix these on the palette with the palette knife. Once mixed together properly, the paints will form a muddy brown color. The exact shade of brown will vary depending on the shades of the primary colors that have been used. Then, you can add a very small amount of white to lighten and stretch the paint.
- When the brown is mixed, use the test surface to see how it comes out when painted. As we have covered above, there are loads of different options when it comes to mixing brown paint. The best way to get a good grasp of this is to experiment and try the different combinations for yourself.
How to Make Brown Paint With Watercolors
Mixing watercolor paints can be done on a plate or on a tray. Make a small puddle of water on the surface that you will mix, then add the color. You can mix a number of different colors into this water puddle. You will first need to wet the area that you will paint with water.
Mixing watercolors takes some practice, so just try to experiment and get a feel for it. Always only mix the colors as you need them because they will dry up quickly.
You can also mix watercolor paints directly on the paper without having to mix them before painting. This is only done by experienced artists, though, because if you get the color mix wrong the whole painting will be affected.
When learning how to make brown paint, you could use orange mixed with blue as a good base. However, there are many different varieties and versions of brown that you can paint. If you use a light blue or a dark blue, you will end up with a very different result. If the brown is not right, you can always add in more yellow or red, or purple to balance out the exact shade. With experience, you will soon learn how to make brown paint in various different shades and tones.
Why is Mixing a Brown Color Palette Important?
A large part of learning to paint revolves around trial, error, and luck. Many new artists simply mix paints and hope for the best. However, if you learn the proper techniques and have a good foundation of color theory, then you will be able to enjoy all kinds of advantages.
- It allows you to get a wider range of colors out of a smaller color set, which can save you money on buying paints.
- You will waste less paint when you know the proper mixing techniques.
- In order to create realistic paintings, you will need to have a strong knowledge of how to mix colors.
- You may not always be able to find the exact color shade you want available in a tube.
- Learning how to mix colors properly will help you to become a better painter and artist.
- Being able to mix paints efficiently is a good problem-solving skill for everyone to have.
- One of the best resources that you can have when learning how to make brown paint and mix colors is a color wheel. These can be found online and in apps, or you can buy a physical color wheel from an art store.
Learning how to make brown color paint is an essential skill for any artist. Brown is found all over the place in the natural world, and there are all kinds of different shades of brown available. If you are new to mixing colors, the best way to get good is to experiment and try new techniques until you get a good grasp of color mixing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Make Brown Paint?
Making brown paint will require you to blend different colors together. There are various methods to go about doing this. The most common is to combine equal portions of each primary color. Alternatively, you can mix together secondary colors with their complementary color.
What is a Complementary Color?
Complementary colors can be found by finding a shade on the color wheel and looking at its direct opposite. An example of this would be green and red.
Is Brown a Warm or Cool Color?
There are various shades of brown, allowing the color to take either direction. Some browns have undertones of yellow, red, or orange, making them a warm color. Other browns contain more blue or purple, making it a cool color.
Can a Caramel Brown Become Dark Brown?
Yes. Do this by making a separate dark brown color out of red and green. You can then slowly add little bits of this to the caramel brown until you reach the desired shade.
Can You Turn Grey Into Brown?
Take the grey paint and add a small bit of yellow, red, and blue to it. Mix this up until you reach brown. Grey is a very neutral color, so it can mix into brown. It is best to experiment a bit to find the perfect shade.
How Can You Make a Light Tan Color?
Start by making a regular brown color. Then lighten it up with some yellow and white until you reach the desired shade.