“Kill Your Artist Block” Series Lesson 1 – Color



Welcome to Day 1 of our 365 Day Series of “Kill Your Artist Block.”

This course is for beginning artists who want to get started but don’t know how to begin or most of all are afraid to begin.

Pssst! Don’t worry, we’re not going to draw today so please don’t get all wrapped around an axle and nervous about it.

I thought I would start out with something very simple at first. This lesson is so critical to the rest of your art career, though.

When I first started, my ability to choose colors that went well together was sorely lacking. I always seemed to pick colors that clashed with each other, and my drawings or paintings just didn’t look very good.

Don’t get too nervous about color theory. It’s really very simple.

Different colors cause us to feel certain ways. Here are some examples:

  • Blue: A relaxing color. …
  • Brown: This is an organic, earthy color. …
  • Green: This is the easiest color for the eyes to focus on for long periods of time. …
  • Orange: This color is friendly, relaxing and ambitious.
  • Pink: This is a youthful, feminine color. … (BUT in my case I tried to work in a room painted pink, and it just was impossible to work in there!)
  • Purple: This color is often associated with royalty.
  • Yellow: Often looks good in sunny places like a kitchen or breakfast nook.

Tip: I really think different colors make different people feel differently, so don’t depend totally on a list like this.

The problem lies in what colors are complimentary and which ones are not.

To understand this, it’s best to look at something called a color wheel.

Types of colors:

Primary colors: Red, yellow, blue

Secondary colors: Orange, green, violet (these are made by mixing two of the primary colors)

Red and yellow = orange

yellow and blue = green

red and blue = violet.

Tertiary colors: 6 of them by mixing one primary color with an adjacent secondary color:

Blue – green

Blue Violet

Red Violet

Red Orange

Yellow Orange

Yellow Green

In fact, you could have only the 3 primary colors and make almost any color you needed for a painting.


I created this color wheel so you can see what I’m talking about. When you mix a color next door with another color, you get a lot of variations. The general rule is to choose colors to go together that are directly across from one another on the wheel. Those don’t normally clash with each other. These are called complimentary colors.

Experiment with color to see what I’m talking about when I say complimentary colors.  See how the arrows point straight across in this example?



If you add white to a color, you get a different tint.

If you add black to a color you get a shade of that color

If you add grey to that color, you get a tone of that color.