April 24, 2020

Color Wheel Basics: Color Mixing with Creativebug

Color Wheel Basics

By Dorothy LaFara

Color Wheel Basics 2Learn how to mix colors and build a personalized color palette by exploring Creativebug, one of the new resources available to HEPL cardholders. At Creativebug you will find thousands of art and craft video classes for people with all levels of experience. One of the basic skills classes is “Color Wheel Basics: Working with Paints and Colored Pencils.” Once you have registered as a user, search for “color wheel basics” to find this short video course.

The only art materials you need to complete this course are either watercolors or colored pencils—cheap kid sets are fine. For the complete list of materials, click on the Materials icon under the video.

Color Wheel Basics Toolbar

Explore each icon to get an overview of the class and become familiar with how Creativebug classes work. Other important sections to review are Description, Chapters, and PDF Download. You will find videos for the class, along with play times, listed in Chapters. Before starting any Creativebug class, you can get a sense of it by reading the Description and viewing the Overview video.

Color Wheel Basics Hand Drawn

Color Wheel Basics makes heavy use of the PDF download, which includes four color-mixing pages and one coloring book page. If you don’t have access to a printer, you can easily make your own color-mixing pages with plain paper and a pencil and replace the coloring book page with your own design drawn by hand or traced from a book. To conserve paper, you can draw four squares with circles in the same patterns as in the PDF file and draw a grid for the Tints and Shades exercise at the bottom.

If you are using watercolors, you may want to keep in mind that some inkjet printer inks run when wet, which may be a good reason to go the paper and pencil route.

Tips for Each of the Video Chapters

  • The basic colors needed to complete all exercises are red, blue, yellow, black, and white.
  • Optional colored pencil colors include green, orange, and purple.
Mixing Color
  • Print these pages from the PDF: Primary Colors and Secondary Colors (two copies), Tertiary Colors, and Full Color Wheel. You will need two sets of the pages if you are using both watercolor and colored pencil.
  • The colored pencil tertiary color exercise will be easier if you have orange, green, and purple colored pencils.
Tints and Shades
  • If you don’t have white watercolor or gauche, you can make tints by adding water instead. Start by making a large puddle of blue. Gradually add water to the puddle to make progressively lighter tints of blue.
  • The video only shows using paint, but you can create tints and shades with colored pencils, too. For tints, vary the pressure on the colored pencil to get lighter and darker tint values. Here you are using the white of the paper instead of a white pencil to get tints. For shades, mix black into the color by increasing pressure on the black pencil for darker shades.

Color Wheel Basics Tint

Create a Color Palette
  • Print at least two copies of the coloring page from the PDF to experiment with palettes of color.
  • Optional supply: scrap paper for testing mixed colors

What’s next? Now that you know about color mixing, go on to the four-part class “30 Coloring Pages” with Courtney Cerruti, Lisa Congdon and Pam Garrison to learn even more techniques!

Coloring Pages


To access Creativebug through HEPL’s website, scroll down on the homepage and click See All Databases. If you don’t have a library card yet, click the link on the homepage to apply online for instant access to our digital resources.