Complementary Color Definition

Hi Pete here again, the following is the dictionary’s description of complimentary color.

com·ple·men·ta·ry col·ors


noun: complementary color:

colors directly opposite each other in the color spectrum, such as red and green or blue and orange, that when combined in the right proportions, produce white light.

(compliments Google search)

And as you can see it’s a noun, and that it basically describes how you can coincide complimentary colors to one another.

To create what the description is calling “white light”

And it usually depends on what theme you choose or what you’re painting or drawing or sketching or tattooing or whatever it is you’re doing, that defines what colors do you use in coinciding with one another.

Example if you’re doing a Medieval theme with dragons and castles and swords and chain mail and bricks and trees and grass and sky. One may want to do the dragons complimentary colors in say, a lighter green with a purple.

There are literally hundreds of combinations that you can do to complement one color with another.





There are no rules

A very cool thing about this is there are no rules this is completely your creation so you can make whatever complimentary colors you choose and it doesn’t matter.

This is your baby, so if you want to make a pink sky with yellow polka dotted moons with blue grassy fields and Green Tree Trunks, purple leaves with red speckles.

See this picture below, of one of my pieces? I was Spraying n playing! It was fun and I created it, quite a few colors, experimenting with what I could do with a spray can, how can’t that be fun right?




Go right ahead! That’s the really cool thing about art.

There really are no rules. However, people are going to be looking at your art so you want it to make sense to some degree correct?

So you’re going to want to stay within the parameters of certain properties to portray what you want to portray and still have fun with it but still you want it to make some kind of


If You Create It-You Stick To It

Beings this is your creation you’re going to want to create some kind of rule map, or something that defines the properties of this world, land, creature or whatever it is you’re creating.

That’s a fairly easy thing to do because again it’s your creation. So either off to the side of your artwork you just start making a list that has properties and principles that you would adhere too so that you don’t deviate from that to make something that would be confusing to the beholder.

Because after all you don’t want people scratching their heads wondering what the hell it is you put down on canvas or paper or whatever.

Again maybe you do, maybe you want to confuse the person that’s trying to observe your art.

Lord knows, I used to love to try to steer the person reading my poetry in the direction that I wanted them to go.

But again that’s what poetry is. It uses fancy words and narratives that could be saying something but totally saying something else or meaning something else.

And I have to honestly say as a poet writing poetry is loads of fun. And also it is a great release for person dealing emotional issues, whether it be sadness happiness anger depression hateful feelings whatever. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

My apologies I’m kind of going off track here. The point I’m trying to make with this section is just stick to your creation so that your art can be appreciated to the degree that it deserves to be.

The reason I write these is that I want you to have the best outcome for what you put into your art. I mean after all it’s only fair right?


Make This Thing Come Alive

The really cool thing about complimentary color definition, and I’m not talking about the description. I’m talking about the use of complementary colors.

And the amazing things that you can accomplish with it if you use it in the right way.

You can make any image that you create literally jump off the page to the person looking at your art.

And anytime you can get somebody to go wow! Then you’ve done your job to the fullest extent that your hand, eye, and brain put it all together, to make something so amazing that it bewilders somebody.

And as an artist for almost 40 years I can honestly say that when you do that, people are going to appreciate your art at a much deeper meaning and level than originally you even thought it could be.

I can’t tell you how many times that when I completed a tattoo piece and my customer was blown away by how real it looked or how clear it came out.

One of the coolest compliments that I heard in reference to my tattoo art was somebody thought that the tattoo wasn’t real and that it was a sticker.

That might sound weird but when you’re actually hearing it and you know what they’re talking about it’s a pretty cool compliment.


Less Is More

I’m sure you’ve heard that said before in reference to other things maybe even the same application were using here.

That was something that was hard for me to learn when I was starting out, I’ve always wanted to overdo everything and that just pukeified it to the point of being completely ugly.

Subtlety of color and slight variance can be a very powerful thing. You’d be surprised how one little line of shade or color will change the Dynamics of what you’re painting or drawing or whatever it is.

If you don’t know the spectrum of the color wheel I would highly suggest that you keep one on hand so that you can use that as a guide for when you’re painting or drawing etc.

There are literally thousands of shades of color out there.

For example if you take a simple blade of grass, and it only looks green to you, than you need to take a closer look at that particular blade of grass.

Because easily it could have four different Hues of green, possibly yellow in there, hints of blue, specs of brown or beige. Etc, etc.

And that’s Nature’s complimentary colors within itself. And anytime you’re doing something that’s realistic you definitely want to make sure what Nature’s colors really are.

But again like I said earlier if you’re not doing something realistic or semi realistic than you can pretty much make up your own color code that you want to.


In Conclusion

Just always remember first of all you want to have fun with your art.

There’s no one standing over you about to smack your hand with the ruler if you don’t do it exactly right, or grade your art while it is still in your possession.

Now if you’re trying to sell it or publicize it, that’s a different story.

They will definitely be able to have the right to say something about it.

But as long as you can afford canvases or paper or pieces of wood or leather or whatever you like to draw or paint on.

Go nuts have fun, explore, play around with the color spectrum, shades and different variants of colors and hues, lines and dimensions man art is just a blast!

Thanks for reading

Please feel free to comment or ask any questions as I am an open book, go ahead read me 🙂





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