The secret to understanding the chromatic circle

In this article, we will explain the benefits of using the chromatic circle in the composition of a drawing.

As you can see, there are several types of it, find out what they are, and master the secret to understand the chromatic circle, read on!

The secret to understand the chromatic circle, and its influence on Illustration

We have all heard of the famous chromatic circle, and its many benefits when it comes to using it to organize and compose the color in a drawing, painting or illustration.

It is a graphic representation that organizes colors according to their tone and hue, however, we can find within it, various combinations, these will help us to properly decide on the color for our works.

There are several types of chromatic circles, however, they all maintain the pattern of color formation from combinations among them.

In principle, we must observe the different color possibilities that arise from the initial, primary colors, and from there, the respective combinations.

Images that will serve you as a reference.

El secreto para entender el círculo cromático, imagen de circulo cromatico a color

● In this image we observe how Red, Blue and Yellow stand out, the so-called primaries, due to the fact that it is not possible to get them, mixing other colors.
circulo cromatico

● In this second image, we can observe the colors obtained by mixing the primaries with each other: the secondaries.
  • The quality of the tone of the latter, depends on the type of pigment we use at the beginning, it is likely, that we do not get a violet as vibrant as the one in the image by mixing red and common blue, since, that violet, depends more on a different blue and reds.
circulo cromatico con colores primarios y secundarios mezclados
● Then, we get the tertiary colors, derived from mixing between primaries and secondaries close to each other.

● Here, the variability of tones is greater, since, it depends on the quantities. Although we always try to use the same percentage of each color, there are certain pigments, which will take us more by default, for example, with yellow.

circulo cromatico completo
Now we have our complete chromatic circle with 3 primaries, 3 secondaries and 6 tertiaries, in this way, we obtain a greater perspective at the time of choosing.

But how to understand the use of the chromatic circle and how to choose combinations that will be useful in our works?

The secret is to take advantage of the graph made circle, to make the necessary combinations:

1. If we place ourselves in a color of the wheel, we can observe that it has in front of it another very different color, this is called complementary opposite.

2. Red and Green, for example, are located one in front of the other, one is primary, and the other is the secondary resulting from the combination of the others.

3. The complementary opposites are very useful when it comes to generate shadows between them, both to design environments and to create characters.

Another good option is to use the analogs, that is, the colors that are next to each other in the circle.

By taking three or four, we obtain harmonious palettes for any illustration we want to do. It should be noted that they are also widely used when making series or comic pages.

5. Returning to the selection of the complementary opposites, one option is to use the Adjacent, that is to say, we place ourselves in a color of the circle, and instead of adding its complementary opposite to our palette, we use the colors that are on both sides of the opposite, thus creating a much more varied palette.

circulos analogos o adyacentes, el secreto para entender el circulo cromatico


To understand how the chromatic circle works, you need that secret, or rather, those secrets that we mentioned during the article, so if you missed them, don’t hesitate to go back to the beginning of the post to review them!

The combinations that highlight your work, will be the most representative, and I assure you, everything changes with a more harmonious color, for that, the famous chromatic circle.

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