Red and blue are both rich, vibrant colors found all over. So, as an artist, these colors will frequently feature in your artwork. But what happens when you mix red and blue together?
If you’re wondering what red and blue make when mixed, read on. I’ll cover all the different colors and shades you can get from these two colors.
Mixing colors isn’t always straightforward, and you can have various shades. It depends on the exact colors you choose (including the type of red and blue). And the answer will also depend on whether you mix pigment or light.
The quick answer is: If you mix red and blue, you get purple.
But knowing how to mix colors well will make you a more confident and experienced artist.
So, let’s dive in and see what you get when you mix red and blue.
What is a primary color?
The first thing worth noting is that red and blue are primary colors.
But what is a primary color, anyway? You probably covered this back in elementary school, but here’s a quick refresher.
Primary colors are the only colors you can’t get by mixing other colors together. However, you can make any other color with a combination of primary colors. (Sometimes, you’ll also need to add a secondary color to get the right shade).
You might not know this, but there are two color systems – one for mixing light and one for mixing pigments. Each color system has its own primary colors.
In the additive color system (i.e., when mixing light), the final primary color is green. So, the primary colors in additive color mixing are red, blue, and green.
But you’re more likely to be familiar with the subtractive color system. It applies to any type of paint, pencil, dye, ink, or pigment. And in this system, yellow is the third primary color.
These are the more well-known primary colors red, blue, and yellow. They apply to any subtractive color mixing.
The Color Red
Red is a fiery, bright, and eye-catching color. It can signify many different things, from warmth and love to passion, anger, and even danger.
As mentioned, red is a primary color. So, it’s crucial to have it if you want to mix other colors.
And red is also a warmer color. You’ll find it between orange and purple on the color wheel. Its complementary color (opposite on the color wheel) is green. You can find out more about mixing red and green here.
The Color Blue
In contrast, blue is a calm, soothing color. It’s common in nature, from the sky to the sea, rivers, and lakes.
There are many different shades of blue. Often, artists will use the color blue to create a serene atmosphere.
Blue is a cool temperature color found between green and purple on the color wheel. Its complementary color is orange.
What Do Red and Blue Make When Mixed?
So, what happens when you mix red and blue? These two primary colors will almost always make the color purple when mixed.
You will create violet if you take equal amounts of red and blue. This shade of purple is often called pure or true purple. It sits exactly halfway between blue and red on the color wheel and doesn’t have a color bias. That means it doesn’t have stronger blue or red undertones; it’s equally mixed.
But any other purple shade will lean one way or the other. There are so many different purples, from pale lilac to deep aubergine. Find more than 70 different types of purple here!
How to Make Light Purple
If you want to create a lighter shade of purple, you can add a little white paint to the mix. Stir well, adding a drop at a time until you get the perfect shade.
Another option is to start with a lighter blue and red color. That way, you’ll naturally create a paler purple.
A good color combo is a cerulean blue and a permanent rose. Each of these shades is light and bright, so you’ll get a lighter but vibrant purple color.
How to Make Dark Purple
The best way to create a dark purple is by using a dark shade of red and blue. Then, when you mix them, you’ll automatically make a rich, deep purple.
But if you want to make your purple paint darker, you can add the tiniest amount of black paint. Be very sparing – it can quickly make your paint look too dark or murky.
Or another option is to mix in a little more dark blue paint. Of course, that will also make your purple color cooler, so keep that in mind.
What Happens When You Mix Red and Blue Light?
What happens when you mix red and blue paint (or any kind of pigment) is pretty clear. But do you get the same result when you combine red and blue light?
That’s a good question, as mixing light follows the additive color system.
So, when you mix red and blue light, you’ll create magenta light.
Magenta Vs. Purple: What’s the Difference?
You might be wondering, what’s the difference between magenta and purple? These two colors are very similar, as magenta is a purple shade.
But when compared with violet, the purest purple shade, magenta has more red tones. That means it’s closer to red on the color wheel. In contrast, violet sits exactly between red and blue on the color wheel.
Mixing Red and Blue FAQ
What Other Color Can Red and Blue Make?
You’ll usually get purple when you mix red and blue. But with certain color combinations, you’ll create a different result. And that comes down to which shades of red and blue you choose.
If you mix red and blue with a yellow undertone, you could end up with the color brown. That’s because brown results when you mix all three primary colors.
So, if your shade of blue has strong yellow undertones, it could be enough to make your paint turn brown. The same goes if you pick a red color with a yellow bias.
That’s helpful to know whether you want to make it brown or not. By picking the right shades, you’ll ensure that you create a rich, vibrant purple.
But when called for, it’s easy to create brown paint for your artwork with this tip.
And with certain shades of red and blue, the color will appear more gray than purple.
What Makes Red and Blue?
So, now you know what you’ll get when you mix red and blue. But what colors make red and blue themselves?
As red and blue are primary colors, there isn’t a way to mix them. You can’t create a primary color by mixing other colors. So, you’ll need to have red, yellow, and blue at the very least when painting.
Of course, you can make your red and blue paint lighter and darker, cooler and warmer. Find out more tips for mixing the color blue here.
The Wrap Up
So, now you can count yourself an expert on the colors red and blue. You should feel confident mixing these colors and achieving your desired result.
A smart tip is to create a color mixing chart. This handy tool will show precisely what color you’ll get when you mix different shades of red and blue.
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