This article is for you if you’re curious about what happens when you mix purple and brown.
We’ll answer the question, what color do purple and brown make? But it’s not as simple as you might first think.
Color mixing can be straightforward when it comes to primary colors. But when you move on to secondary and tertiary colors, it gets a bit more complicated.
So, I’ll explain the color science behind mixing purple and brown. And you’ll learn what you can make with these two colors.
Understanding color mixing and its theory is crucial for any artist. So, let’s dive in and learn about mixing purple and brown together.
The Color Purple
Purple is a beautiful color with shades ranging from pale lilac to dark aubergine. It’s also one of the most popular colors, ranking second or third worldwide according to one survey.
According to color theory, purple is a secondary color. We can make the color purple by mixing two primary colors, red and blue.
Another name for violet is true purple, as it has equal amounts of red and blue. So, it sits equally between red and blue on the color wheel.
But every other shade of purple will have some color bias, either leaning towards red or blue.
Purple has many meanings, from mystery and mysticism to sadness and grief. It can look fresh and whimsical or muted and serious depending on the shade. It was even the color of royalty in various cultures over time.
The Color Brown
Brown is a much more muted color, with only 2-3% of the population choosing it as their favorite color. In contrast, 20-27% of people voted it their least favorite color.
But despite this, brown is still a crucial color. It is a common color in the natural world, from the soil beneath our feet to tree trunks and branches.
And brown can play an essential role as a neutral color. It works well as a backdrop for brighter colors and when making a balanced color palette.
However, you won’t find brown on the color wheel. That’s because it’s a composite color made by mixing different pigments together. As the color wheel is a tool for understanding color mixing, brown doesn’t appear on it.
We consider brown a warm color and yellow, orange, and red. It has a variety of meanings, from safety and stability to boredom and loneliness.
What Color Do Brown and Purple Make?
So, now you know about these colors, including where they are (or aren’t) on the color wheel.
But what happens when you mix purple and brown together?
When you mix brown and purple, you’ll normally create a deep, dark purple color. It’s often a plum shade that’s rich and warm.
However, you could also make a brown shade. It depends on what colors of purple and brown you use and the undertones of each shade.
That’s because purple is made by mixing blue and red. But brown is made by mixing all three primary colors together. So, when they mix, your purple color could also become brown.
Making Your Plum Color Lighter
If you want to lighten your paint mixture, you can add a little white to it. Go easy with it, as you don’t want your color to lose its saturation. That will make it look washed out and dull.
Or, you could choose a very pale purple and mix it in. That will lighten your plum color and make it appear brighter and more vibrant.
Making Your Plum Color Darker
On the other hand, you might want to create a darker plum shade. In that case, you’ll need to choose a darker color to mix with it. Black is the obvious choice, but take care with it.
When using black, it’s easy to add a bit too much. Then, the black paint will overwhelm it, and you’ll lose that nice plum shade.
Mixing Brown and Purple Light
When we think about mixing colors, we usually mean mixing paints or pigments.
This type of color mixing is simple and practical – you’ve probably done it in school. So, you might have a good understanding of how it works.
But there are actually two color systems. The subtractive color system is what you know best – it applies to mixing pigments.
But when we’re talking about mixing different colored lights, it doesn’t follow the same rules. Instead, it falls under the additive color system and works slightly differently.
However, you don’t need to worry about what color purple and brown light make. And the reason is that brown light doesn’t exist. So, you can’t test it out for yourself.
Why Can’t You Make Brown Light?
If you’re confused about why brown light doesn’t exist, here’s a quick explanation.
When we’re mixing lights, the additive color mixing rules apply. The primary colors are green, blue, and red. And when mixed, they create magenta, yellow, and cyan.
But when you mix these colors, you won’t create brown – unlike in the subtractive color system.
Instead, when you mix all three primary colored lights, you’ll create white light.
And so it’s impossible to make brown light as a result.
But we’re not limited to seeing colors on the visible light spectrum. That’s because our brains can do a lot with context. So, for example, it can depend on the colors around a specific color, making it look darker or lighter.
And that’s why we can see brown things, even if there isn’t such a thing as brown light or wavelengths.
What Colors Make Purple and Brown? FAQ
Can You Make Purple Paint?
If you run out of purple paint, making your own quick and easy. Plus, you probably already have the colors you’ll need.
As purple is a secondary color, you’ll need to mix two primary colors to make it. In this case, you’ll need red and blue.
Choose your red and blue paints for your mixture carefully. Avoid any shades with a yellow undertone, or your paint could become a murky brown.
Can You Make Brown Paint?
Making brown is one of the easiest paints to mix. That’s because you can use a range of different colors.
But it can also get complicated, as there isn’t one simple formula to follow.
You can make brown by mixing the three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow.
But you will likely make brown by mixing almost any color you have. For example, you can make brown by mixing red and green together. That’s because green contains yellow and blue already. So, add red, and again you’ll have a combination of all three primary colors.
The same is true for purple and yellow or blue and orange.
The more colors you mix, the muddier your paint will look.
You can play around with different combinations to create specific shades of brown. For example, you might want to use lighter or darker colors.
The Wrap Up
Now, you’re an expert on mixing brown and purple together. You know what purple and brown paint make when mixed, and why we can’t mix brown and purple light.
So, you should feel more confident when mixing your own colors for your artwork. Knowing the science behind these colors will also give you a deeper understanding.
If you have any questions about mixing colors, drop them below.
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