Colour Harmonies – Analogous Colours

Analogous colours are a set of colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel. Images and designs using analogous colour schemes are usually easy on the eye, coming across as natural and somewhat mild.

While reading Colour Harmonies by Rose Eding and Dee Jepson. I came across the technique of using a set of analogous colours in place of a single (local) colour to create more interesting and dynamic effects.

So, instead of painting a tree different shades of green to represent the light and shade, you can use the colours beside it on the colour wheel, blue and yellow. Layer the blue as shadow and yellow as highlights. Allow them to run into each other naturally on the paper.

In the end green will still be the dominant colour perceived but having the yellow/blue highlights peaking out creates quite an eye catching effect. I played around with a couple of examples, here are the results. The local colour version is on the left, the colour harmony version on the right.

Blue and yellow in place of green.

Red and yellow in place of orange.

Blue and red in place of purple.

What do you think of the effect? Perhaps it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but what kind of feeling does it leave you with? Do you prefer the local colour version or the analogous colours version?

Note, the experiments focus on the secondary colours – green, orange and purple. I tried a few with primaries. I don’t think it works in the same way since you can’t combine two secondaries to make a primary colour. Things just ended up looking a little messy.



4 thoughts on “Colour Harmonies – Analogous Colours

  1. Interesting! Read lots of random things about colour theories, but never got around to testing them out.

    I think the effect definitely makes the image more interesting – really like the orange one, seems to make the tree stand out a lot more!

    Shall try to keep this concept next time I draw stuff 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback. Got any colour theory ideas to share? There’s lots of interesting stuff out there but it’s always good to have a friend motivate you with something that they found interesting 😉

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