What Colors Make Orange? - How to Mix Different Shades of Orange (2022)

Are you a budding artist trying to understand colors? Want to gain knowledge on how to make orange? There are many instances where you can apply this knowledge, from oil to watercolor painting, creating amazing frosting for cakes, or working with polymer clay. All follow the same simple rules when it comes to what colors make orange. However, as with all colors, there is not only one clear-cut color, but many shades of orange. So, let us now investigate a few of the fundamentals of how to make orange, with a special focus on paint.

Table of Contents

  • 1 A Quick Look at the Origins of the Color Orange
    • 1.1 The Color Orange in the World Around You
  • 2 What Two Colors Make Orange?
    • 2.1 Color Value
    • 2.2 Color Bias: Creating Cool and Warmer Orange Colors
    • 2.3 Making Shades of Orange Technically
  • 3 The Color Orange and Painting
    • 3.1 Creating Shades of Orange
  • 4 Tips for Using Different Shades of Orange
  • 5 Frequently Asked Questions
    • 5.1 What Two Colors Make Orange?
    • 5.2 How to Make Red Orange?
    • 5.3 How to Make Dark Orange?
    • 5.4 How Do You Create a Bold Orange Color?
    • 5.5 How Can You Make Orange Stand Out?
    • 5.6 What Happens When Mixing Complementary Colors?
    • 5.7 What Are Analogous Colors?

A Quick Look at the Origins of the Color Orange

The color orange has been around since the beginning, but it has not always been known by this name. In ancient times, materials like mineral powders were used to make paintings. However, many of these were toxic and contained ingredients like arsenic.

The ancient Egyptians used a mineral known as realgar for their paintings in tombs. The mineral was also known as a poison and was used as a form of medicine by the Chinese.Ancient Romans used another toxic mineral known as Orpiment, which produces a yellow-orange, almost golden pigment color. The color orange was referred to as yellow-red for many years and was only called “orange” in Europe in the early 1500s.

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The name, quite evidently, comes from the citrus “orange” fruit. Many only became familiar with these citrus trees when they were brought from Asia by merchants at this time. Over the years, many artists like Monet, amongst others, have successfully included orange and shades of orange in their paintings.

Today, orange is a color you can find in art, clothing, décor, and all types of design elements and arts and crafts.

For example, orange is a color that stands out, making it ideal for use in things like traffic cones and life jackets. Bright orange jumper suits are also worn by prisoners to make them more visible. Some countries like the Netherlands have orange as their national color. Buddhists wear orange robes and the color is seen as a symbol of religion throughout Asia.

The Color Orange in the World Around You

Whether you like the color orange or not, it has a place all around you, from beautiful, natural sunsets to basketballs and carrots. Orange is a warm, vibrant, and bold color that has energy and cheerfulness. The color is often associated with autumn colors and, in America, is closely linked to Halloween. Studies have also found it to be a color of value and, since it is such a cheery color that draws attention, it has been used in many marketing strategies for improving sales.

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Many good foods are orange, like citrus fruits, pumpkins, and carrots. These are seen as a color that can help stimulate the appetite. Orange is also a color of energy, positivity, and health. Since it is closely associated with nice flavors and healthy foods, many food items are even artificially colored with orange. Are you wanting to paint your room orange? The color is warm and will provide a feeling of upliftment. In work areas, the color may even help to improve productivity.

What Two Colors Make Orange?

The very basics of how to make orange are simple. Since it is a secondary color, you need to combine the primary colors of yellow and red. When adding equal portions of these two colors, you will come out with a true orange. However, you can also produce a selection of shades of orange. Adding more yellow will naturally lighten the overall orange color and more red will darken it.

Two of the more basic color shades include yellow-orange, which incorporates two parts yellow with one part red. Red-orange uses two parts red and one part yellow, these shades are also known as tertiary colors. To get more possibilities, you can also use different forms of the basic red and yellow. For example, you can combine a lemon yellow with a cadmium red or deep red to get burnt orange.

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When it comes to what colors make orange, you do not necessarily have to have the two primary colors. You can use other colors to create the primary colors. For example, you can combine red and green to create yellow or yellow and magenta to create red. You can even combine several colors to create orange if you do not have all the primary colors.To create orange, combine red and green, which should give you yellow. You can then combine the yellow with more red to create orange. A color wheel will help you to understand how these colors work together more clearly.

The color wheel is simply a visual representation of the primary and secondary colors with various shades, tints, and tones in-between. The color wheel helps to show which colors work together or are complementary to each other.

Color Value

How to make dark orange? This describes the hue, shade, or tint of color. In other words, describing how dark or light the color appears to be. Creating lighter and darker shades will lend more dimension to a painting. When making the color orange darker, you can simply use a small amount of black. However, this can be tricky, because if you add too much, you will not be able to correct the mistake easily.

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Some black colors have a green base, which can also create an unpleasant brownish orange. You could try using a complementary color like blue; however, it will depend on how much of each color you add and what form of each you use. A few examples of the different forms of blue include navy blue, cobalt blue, aquamarine, and ultramarine, amongst many more. Combining your basic complementary colors cancels each other out and you will be left with brown or a gray-brown chromatic neutral color. So, again, using small amounts can tone the orange down.

Experiment beforehand to see what colors you can achieve. You can also try combining darker tones of red to orange, which should also tone down the color, making it darker.

Note: Complementary colors are colors found on opposite sides of the color wheel. These opposite colors have the greatest contrast. This means that each color, when positioned adjacent to each other, will make the other seem brighter. When mixed, they cancel each other out and create neutral shades, which is great for creating things like shadows.

Color Bias: Creating Cool and Warmer Orange Colors

When looking at orange, how does the color make you feel? Blue is associated more with cooler colors, while reds, yellows, and orange are warmer colors. However, within your red and yellow range of colors, some lean more towards the cooler side as small amounts of blue are included, thus creating a more muted orange. The warmer colors of red and yellow will create a more vivid and brilliant orange.

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Making Shades of Orange Technically

When studying color theory, the above is an extremely basic explanation. When delving deeper into the subject, there are a lot more details you have to consider, especially when it comes to the various percentages of color pigments and color portions.

To ultimately understand color mixing, you will need to learn all the ins and outs of color theory.

Even within the different shades, you have even more options. For example, the color bronze: You can get deep bronze, medium bronze, dark bronze, or antique bronze, each with its own hex number. Below, we have included a simple reference table representing a few of the various shades of orange.

The hex number or hexadecimal code used on computers always starts with a hashtag and is followed by six letters and numbers. These numbers represent the traditional RGB (Red Green Blue) color codes, of which there are millions of combinations. For interest’s sake, you also have a CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Key Black) color space, which is used in printing.

Type of OrangeOrange ShadePercentage of RGB (Red Green Blue)Hex Number
Orange100 % red, 64.7 % green, 0 % blue#ffa500
Apricot / Vivid Orange93.7 % red, 51 % green, 5.1 % blue#ef820d
Pumpkin100 % red, 45.88 green, 9.41 % blue#ff7518
Bronze80.39 % red, 49.8 % green,19.61 % blue#cd7f32
Rust71.8 % red, 25.5 % green, 5.5 % blue#b7410e
Firebrick69.8 % red, 13.3 % green, 13.3 % blue#b22222
Honey / Gold92.2 % red, 58.8 % green, 2 % blue#eb9605
Goldenrod85.9 % reed, 64.7 green, 12.5 blue#dba520

The Color Orange and Painting

The most obvious solution is to simply buy the color you want, however, there are so many variations, you will most probably need to adjust the color somehow anyway. An example of using a variation is when painting skin tones. You might not realize it, but orange plays a big role in establishing the look you want. You will most probably not be using the orange we all know, which is a simple combination of red and yellow.

You will need to make many different shades of orange for portrait painting, meaning that you will be using a lot of muted orange shades. However, let us start with the basics.

You will need to mix the two primary colors of red and yellow to get your secondary color of orange. You can start by mixing equal amounts on a palette. You can then change the shade by adding more red or yellow. This will then create a tertiary color, which can either be a red-orange or yellow-orange. The ratio of paint for these is 2:1, so red-orange would be two parts red and one part yellow.

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If you want to make the orange color brighter or darker, in other words, change the color value, you can add white for a lighter and brighter color and add black for a darker color. Be careful when using black and only add in small amounts at a time. A lighter color will create a tint, while a darker color works with shades. To create just the right orange color, you might have to play around with mixing colors until you find what you are looking for.

Creating Shades of Orange

When painting an object from life, it is usually a three-dimensional image on paper. A particular surface on the object will always be closer to the light and the other side more in the shadows. We have already discussed the color value, which is how colors go from dark to light, helping to create dimension. For example, by painting a fruit like an orange with various shades and tints, you can determine the shape.

A color value works on a scale, such as from true black to pure white with varying shades of gray in-between. You can use the color values to determine how to paint your object.

Let us use the example of an orange. Place the orange where there is excellent light, like on a windowsill. In this case, we will use watercolors. When observing the orange, you should notice the value variations from light to dark. For example, you can use the white of the paper and move to a lighter orange, then some mid-tones, and finally create the shadow.

Sketch the shape of the orange on your paper and then begin painting. For the surface that appears closer to the light, a warmer yellow-orange would be best, as this is where the light is brightest. You can use an orange paint from the tube combined with yellow to make it lighter. Otherwise, mix a ratio of two parts yellow with one part red.

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Next, include a little more red into the mix to darken it a little. This slightly darker color can be used as the mid-tone for your orange as the light diminishes across the surface and begins to move into shadow. Do not over-use the brush when painting. Apply each color adjacent to the next, or you can overlap them somewhat. The blending of colors should look natural.

You can now create a darker orange for the surface in shadow by adding a bit more red. Your entire orange should now be painted.

To create a highlighted look on the surface where you started, you can lift a bit of paint to expose the white underneath. Take a clean brush, dampen it and wipe with a cloth, and then use it to remove a small area of damp paint. However, if the paint has dried, wet the brush, and then remove the dry orange paint.

Since the orange is in the light, it will cast a shadow. You can use dark blue to paint at the foot of the orange. This helps to create perspective, so the orange is not merely floating around. Here, you can also follow the color value rules by making it darker the closer you get to the base of the orange where there is less light.

The above is a very simple example of how you can create shades of orange. Keep your colors strong and working well together by using colors that sit directly adjacent to each other on the color wheel and try not to overlap them too much. By avoiding layering colors too much, you can prevent overworking an area or creating a ‘muddy’ look. Practice these methods over and over but remember to have fun while doing so.

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Tips for Using Different Shades of Orange

Mixing and blending colors is a journey of discovery, you will need to experiment and learn as you progress. The most important thing is to have fun and remember to write down what you are doing so that you can follow the same process in the future. There are endless combinations and variations, so have fun while creating the different shades of orange and other colors.

  • If you need to make an orange color appear brighter, a simple way to do this is to surround the orange color with shades of blue. Complementary colors can create a bold contrast.
  • When painting, a cadmium orange might be the most intense orange color available.
  • You do get cooler varieties of orange, so when muting the color rather use warmer reds and yellows, as they lean more towards orange as well as to each other.
  • It is helpful to create a color chart for comparison and write down what you are doing so that you can replicate the process.
  • Always add small amounts of color as you go. A little bit often goes a long way.
  • Never overmix colors,as in most cases, it is difficult to fix.
  • Add dark to light – it is easier to lighten a darker color than the other way around.
  • When using paint pigments, make sure that it is a pure, single pigment to get the most intense colors.
  • Try not to overwork an area, as this can damage the surface on which you are painting.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Two Colors Make Orange?

The main colors that produce orange are yellow and red. You can also use different hues or shades of each red or yellow color to create a variety of orange shades.

How to Make Red Orange?

This is a simple process of adding more of one color than another. Combine two parts red with one part yellow to create a red-orange color. Then, you can simply reverse the ratio to create a yellow-orange color. These are two of the more common tertiary orange colors. You can also add equal amounts of orange and red to create a red-orange.

How to Make Dark Orange?

Orange can be darkened by adding a warm blue or ultramarine color. You can also add black, but this can drastically alter the color appearance if too much is used. Also, adding too much blue color can create a brown or black appearance. This is because blue is a complementary color to orange – they sit opposite each other on the color wheel and cancel each other out, creating a monochromatic color.

How Do You Create a Bold Orange Color?

This deals with color bias or the temperature of a color. You have warmer and cooler colors. So, you can get cooler as well as warmer yellows and reds. By combining warmer colors, you can create a more vivid and bold orange color.

How Can You Make Orange Stand Out?

The color wheel is important in this instance. When looking at the colors, the complementary color (the color directly across from another) will create a contrast. Each color will stand out when placed adjacent to the other. For example, a red-orange will work well when adjacent to an indigo-blue color.

What Happens When Mixing Complementary Colors?

When complementary colors mix, they usually become a shade of brown. This is also dependent on the material used. For example, acrylic paint should become brown, while watercolors can turn a gray or brown-gray color.

What Are Analogous Colors?

Analogous means a collection of three colors usually located adjacent to one another on the color wheel. For example, you have orange, red, and red-orange. These colors work well together and blend harmoniously.

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