How to Tone Down Colors


How to Tone Down Colors Lesson

In this how to tone down colors tutorial I will share an illustration which will help you understand the basic concept. Tone is an important fundamental to master since most of us paint with color, and not grayscale, or monotone.

What You Need To Know

  • Tone will help you control your colors so that you can shift the intensity and saturation of your hues.
  • In the illustration I use Viridian green and Mars Grey to mix into the hue.
  • Note that with each dilution the intensity of the green will fade.
  • Once you learn how to control your colors you gain more control over how you present your subjects & center of interests.

How to Tone Down Colors 101

Get To Work

  • Create a simple color scale using your choice of a base color. Again, I used Viridian but feel free to use what you prefer.
  • be sure to add a swatch of pure color in the very first square. This will give you a good visual on how the grey will impact the original hue.
  • Add a little Mars grey to the mixture and apply a new swatch.
  • Repeat this step until you have 7-10 swatches.
  • Now step back to see the results. Pretty interesting and more importantly useful. Once you see how adding only grey to a color will dull the overall intensity.
  • Take It To Another Level
  • Start with the same base color. Add your starting swatch.
  • Now add a touch of it's complimentary color to it and create a second swatch.
  • Repeat the step and add more swatches.
  • Step back and soak up the results. this exercise is invaluable to the artist.
  • Master manipulating your colors and you are well on your way to becoming a formidable artist.

Color Wheel




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Value & ToneRobert Joyner