Gouache colour wheel

Tutorial using gouache paint to create a colour wheel using your 3 primary colours and white.


For this project you will need;

  • Watercolour or mixed media paper. ( I used a square gummed block, but you may want to use an A4 sheet/pad)

  • Gouache paint; Red, Yellow, Blue and white (only use these colours)

  • Mixed media or synthetic brushes. (I used a small round brush)

  • Mixing palette and water pots.

  • Pencil

This project can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the amount of detail you want to add.

First draw out your template. I used a jam jar lid. Creating one centre circle and three overlapping circles. Then in between those circles I added three more. The template is at the end of this tutorial if you want to trace it down.


On a scrap of paper test your three primary colours and make sure your paint is at the right consistency.

It needs to be a nice and strong colour with only a little water to lubricate the brush, but not too thick and dry that it sticks to the paper and drags as you pull the brush along.











Now paint your three primary colours Red, Yellow and Blue on the large inner sections.








Next I mixed some white into the primaries to create a lighter version of these colours. I painted these on the outer sections in line with the first primary colours.





Next I created my secondary colour mixes. Mix Red and Blue to make Purple. Red and Yellow to make Orange. Yellow and Blue to make Green. Paint these in the three remaining outer sections.





I wanted to experiment with using the white, so added a white glaze over the lighter primary colours, just at the tips. A glaze is a thin (diluted with water) layer of paint over the top of another. I washed the white on at the tip and used the brush to blend it out the further I went up the section.











You could stop here. But next I created some further mixes of those secondary colours.

Normally you would try to mix 50% of two primaries to make a secondary colour.

Here I took 75% of one colour and only 25% of the second colour. This allowed me to create variations of the secondary colours; Green, Orange and Purple.



Orange variation.

Mostly Red—Vermilion

Mostly Yellow— Gold







Purple variation.

Mostly Blue—Indigo

Mostly Red—Magenta








Green variation.

Mostly Yellow—Ochre

Mostly Blue—Viridian Green








Lastly I mixed my three secondary colours together to create a dark brown, tertiary colour.

You can play about with this if you want. If you mix secondary colours that are predominately Blue you will create Greys. If you mixed secondary's together that are predominately Yellow you will tend to get more Browns.

Everything mixed into everything will eventually mix a Black!


Download tutorial:


Tricia Johnson Gouache Colour Wheel tuto

Download template:


Tricia Johnson ArtwithTricia Colour Whee

Share your finished project on the Student Chatroom!


#Colourwheel #Gouache #Primarycolours #Painting #Exercise

© 2000-2020 Tricia Johnson

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