View Full Version : Prismacolor Color Wheel

07-19-2006, 11:39 AM
I have been searching high and low for a Color Wheel based on Primacolor Colored Pencils and was unable to find one. So I made my own. I just thought I would share it just in case anyone else has the same problem. Our new white project prompted me to start this. The colors may not be exact and the catagories were based on a thread by Anne called Prismacolor and complements. I might change some of the catagories for some of the colors. But it was a great place to start. Some of the newer colors are not listed but I'll keep working on it in my spare time.:)

07-19-2006, 12:37 PM
What a great reference - Thanks so much, Janet!

I put a link to this thread in the "Multicolored White"-Project-Thread.


07-19-2006, 01:03 PM
You're are welcome Amira!:) I'm glad you like it.:D

07-19-2006, 02:27 PM
What a wonderful job you did on this. I think this gets printed on photo-paper so it lasts a while. I know I will be using it A LOT!



07-19-2006, 03:02 PM
You're welcome Anne!:) Thank you for the wonderful thread that helped me get this started.

07-20-2006, 08:30 AM
This is great Janet. I gave it a merit point. What a lot of work you did!!

07-20-2006, 08:34 AM
Thank you JoAnn!:) It did take a while to complete but I found I learnt alot about color as I was completing it.

07-20-2006, 10:34 AM
If you have any suggestions for changes I would be very interested in your feedback. I would like to create the perfect color wheel.:)

bearded bob
07-20-2006, 12:09 PM
Check out an old thread of mine called "Colour Theory Work" (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=261931&highlight=Colour+Theory) Janet - there is no such thing as a perfect colour wheel as we all perceive colour differently. Unless you get all scientific, in which case you end up with a three-dimensional blob, not a wheel. Scroll down to post #4 and there is my Prismacolor wheel. I would ask you to look again at the tonal values you have though. The colours should be arranged in rings of equal tonal value, usually getting lighter towards the middle, though this is optional. If you look at your outer rings in the Orange, or Red Violet sections and compare their tones to the ones each side, I think you will see these are misplaced. One thing you learn very quickly when you start doing wheels is that it is a construct, it is your decision where you put things - why did you only have 12 sectors for instance? You chose 12, it is your wheel, and if it helps you that is fine.

07-20-2006, 12:46 PM
Wow great thread Bob!:) This is very helpful, I certainly will use your advice and information to come up with a wheel that I am content with. Thank you soooo much. I chose the 12 because that appears to be the norm.

07-20-2006, 02:07 PM
Oh wow, thanks for doing this. I printed mine off.:D Wanda

07-20-2006, 02:08 PM

07-20-2006, 03:52 PM
You're welcome Wanda!:)

Thank you NothingButPencils!:)

07-23-2006, 11:35 AM
Here is the final version of my Prismacolor Color Wheel. The results are based on the RGB values of the colors and I purchased a program called ColorImpact3 to help with the placement of colors and RGB values of the complements. When I have the time I will be following up with as much information as possible on how a color wheel can assist you in determining what colors to use. The color of the color group names are either red for warm colors and blue for cool colors. The near complements will be found directly opposite on the wheel on the same ring. Sorry some of the color names are fairly small. I'll try to upload it to my gallery to see if I can get a better resolution.:)

07-23-2006, 02:38 PM
Here is some of the information that I could find regarding color theory that may be helpful especially for beginners like myself.


Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue – cannot be mixed from any other colors.
Secondary Colors: Two primary colors mixed together resulting in orange, green and violet.
Tertiary (Intermediate) Colors: One primary and one secondary mixed together.
Aggressive (Warm) Colors: Reds, oranges and yellows.
Receding (Cool) Colors: Greens, blues and violets.
Hue: Another name for color.
Tint: Color + White
Tone: Color + Gray
Shade: Color + Black
Key Color: Dominant color in a color scheme or mixture.
Neutral Grey: Combination of black and white.
Intensity or Chroma: The brightness or dullness of a color.
Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
Mono-chromatic: Using any shade, tint, or tones of one color.
Analogous: Using any shades, tints, or tones of colors that lie adjacent to each other on the wheel.
Achromatic: A colorless scheme using, blacks, whites and grays.
Complementary Colors: Combing a shade, tint or tone of one color and the color opposite on the wheel. Example blue and orange.
Split Complementary: Choosing one color and using the color on each side of the complement on the color wheel.
Diad: Using two colors that are two colors apart on the color wheel. Example red and orange.
Triad: Color scheme in which three colors equally spaced from each other. Example the three primary colors – red blue and yellow.
Tetrad: A contrast of four or more colors on the wheel.

Quoted from Pocket Color Wheel

Refer to the Color Wheel for color combination ideas and to see which colors complement each other. With colored pencils, you are layering semitransparent pigment, so colors change when placed one over another. Use the color wheel to inspire you to try some interesting and unusual combinations.

Quoted from Realistic Pet Portraits by Anne deMille Flood

Color and light: subdued evening and candlelight create a distortion of color. Under these circumstances light colors need more intensity and dark colors less.

Colors and distance: Distance causes receding (cool) colors to “black out”. Consequently lighter values of color should be employed for greater emphasis.

Quoted from Pocket Color Wheel

Mixing two bright colors will reduce the brilliance of both. With analogous colors, the reduction will be very subtle; with near-complementary colors, it will be more pronounced. By combining two low-intensity colors, you can attain a look of complexity similar to that achieved by mixing several colors.

Quoted from Basic Colored Pencil Technique by Bet Borgeson

By superimposing the three primary colors together, we get something akin to black.

The juxtaposing of complementary colors, that is, placing one color beside another, produces the maximum chromatic contrast.

When we mix the three primary colors in unequal proportions or two complementary colors also in different proportions, we obtain lighter or more defined colors, depending on the proportion applied. By breaking down the basic colors, we obtain a variety of browns, greens, and grays.

Quoted from Barron’s Colored Pencil

Secondaries obtained by mixing adjacent colors from the primary colors, which have a slight bias towards each other make the most intense mixtures.

Example: Lemon Yellow and True Blue

Striking differences in color and tone can be achieved by overlaying the same two colors in different ways. Varying the pressure of the pencil point is an obvious way of affecting the depth of color, but the end result can also be affected by the other order in which the colors are laid. Although the top color tends to be dominant, a light color can still make an impact when covered by a darker one.

Quoted from Colored Pencil Artist’s Pocket Palette


07-24-2006, 12:10 AM
I jumped the gun!!! I got so excited over the first wheel that I colored in the squares with my pencils. (My printer didn't give true colors). Anyway, thanks for sharing this. Now, I have to start on the new one.:rolleyes:

bearded bob
07-24-2006, 06:59 AM
Thanks for doing all this work Janet, it is very impressive. You see now that there are many more reds and oranges than yellows and greens? A couple of things I would still quibble with. In some of your rows with more than one colour in, I feel you could better arrange the colours - look at the outer Red ring for instance - Clay rose is nearer to Lavender than to Light Peach, and the colours in that segment work much better if you change them round. There are a couple of other segments where that is true. Think about how the colours relate to their neighbours, should they go on the blue side or the red side of the arc? Each row should follow round smoothly with no big jump in colour or tone between neighbours - like Dahlia Purple and Blush Pink for instance. Your tonal values are much better, but I would like to have seen more gradations - for me Tuscan Red is not the same tone as Poppy red, and I am sure people could argue over lots of others. But as I said before, this is your chart and if it works for you, thats fine.

My big problem comes with your definition of a Primary colour and your placing of Process Red. Which are your Primary Red, Yellow and Blue? There can by definition only be one of each - there is only one PURE red - any other red is made by adding other colours to that one. It comes as a surprise to most people that Process Red is the nearest to a pure red in the PC range, with Magenta a close second, but it is slightly too blue. Try making purple for instance from Poppy Red and True Blue - you get a good grey! Now try it with Process Red and True Blue - Purple! This is because Poppy Red - which most people will pick out as "Red" if you ask them to pick a typical red from the box - actually has a lot of yellow in it, it is not a Primary colour but a mixture. You can make Poppy red by adding some yellow to Process Red. Similarly the purest yellow is Canary Yellow, and the purest Blue is True Blue.

For me this was by far the most useful result of doing this colour wheel work - seeing colour in terms of RYB instead of names. You start thinking " I need a redder green" instead of " Do I need Limepeel or Olive Green or Marine Green?" Also thank you for showing me the new PC colours, over here in the UK we have not seen these yet!

07-24-2006, 08:08 AM
Spritzer, I'm glad you liked it.:) Would it be useful to anyone if I posted a blank color wheel that you could color yourself and just use these wheels as reference and color in your own color choices?

Your welcome bearded bob!:) I did learn alot. Some of the results were suprising for me. I see what you mean about the placement. I was not thinking of the placement in terms of their neighbours; however, that certainly would improve on the wheel. I will take another look at some of the placements such as the Tuscan Red and Poppy Red. I think that some ended up in certain areas because there was no colors that were a close enough near complement. Not sure but I certainly will take another look at it.

I will take a look at the Process Red again. Thank you sooo much for the help.:)

07-24-2006, 10:46 AM
It appears I'll be working on this some more based on your feedback. bearded bob's suggestions were wonderful and rite on. I tested the Poppy Red and realized it was in the wrong category and moved it over to the rite category and moved peacock green as well as it is its complement and is more of a Blue-Green.

The Process Red was a very important change and was moved to the Red with True Green as its complement it is much better. The swatch that I included represents the mix of Process Red and True Green as you can see toward the middle which would represent an even mix is a Warm Gray.

I have included the new wheel with updates I changed some of the font sizes hopefully making it easier to see. I have included a blank color wheel for anyone who would like to use it.

All feedback is appreciated. Changes and suggestions will be analyzed and I will continue to try to give you the best wheel possible.:)

07-24-2006, 01:47 PM
Janet, I've been watching this thread since the beginning. It's an awesome thread. It's very informative. I've printed the blank one so that I can color it when I get home, and tape it to a page in my sketch book opposite from all the information that you typed up about the color wheel. Thank you for putting so much work into this! :)

07-24-2006, 02:44 PM
You're welcome Jenna!:)

07-28-2006, 09:08 PM
Worked on the color wheel a bit more and here is what I cam up with.:)

07-28-2006, 09:51 PM
Thanks for your hard work. I am trying to make one for my Oil color pencils. The differences in the oil pencils across brands makes it hard to do.

07-28-2006, 10:29 PM
You're welcome Spritzer!:) What brand of oil based colored pencils do you use?

bearded bob
07-29-2006, 06:39 AM
this looks a lot better Janet - well done for sticking at it!:clap: :clap:

07-29-2006, 09:54 AM
Thank you Bob!:) Your feedback helped me to keep striving for better.

07-29-2006, 10:18 PM
I use Walnut Hollow and Faber Castell polychromas. I haven't been able to find the WH individually. I have been buying a few of the FC at a time. I like both the same but have found they don't intermix too well.

Since I've worked with them enough now, I think I will go ahead order a lot of them. I love Prisma's skin tones but like the feel of the oils.

07-30-2006, 08:50 AM
Spritzer, I have the Lyra oil based colored pencils not the whole set though and I am thinking of working on a color wheel for the colors I have of those. I'm thinking of buying a set of Faber Castells so if I do I probably will work on a color wheel for them. I will make sure and post any of the color wheels that I do make in order to share my results with everyone.:)

07-30-2006, 09:47 PM
I have the 36 set of Lyra but have found them to be a little bit harder than the others. I would love to see how you compare them.

07-30-2006, 10:23 PM
Janet, would you please list the colors in each catagory? When I print this off everything is too blurry to read. I hate to ask you, but it would sure be a blessing to me if you could do that. Thanks in advance. Midge

07-31-2006, 08:02 PM
Spritzer, I'll have to put the color theory stuff aside for a while. I'm working on a piece of my cat Gizmo and have not touched in a while and was doing the wheel for the white project which I hardly started.

Midge, I understand no problem.

Here is a list of the colors and their corresponding categories.

Yellow – Cream, Ginger Root, Canary Yellow, Deco Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Chartreuse, Sunburst Yellow, Limepeel, Marine Green, Kelp Green, Olive Green

Yellow- Green – Pale Sage, Chartreuse, Spring Green, Apple Green, Dark Green

Green – Caledon Green, True Green, Peacock Green

Blue-Green – Sky Blue Light, Jade Green, Light Green, Light Aqua, Muted Turquoise, Electric Blue, Non-Photo Blue, Parrot Green, Aquamarine, Grass Green, Peacock Blue

Blue – Powder Blue, Blue Slate, Periwinkle, Light Cerulean Blue, True Blue, Slate Grey, Mediterranean Blue, Copenhagen Blue

Blue-Violet – Cloud Blue, Blue Violet Lake, Imperial Violet, Indigo Blue, Violet Blue, Ultramarine

Violet – Lilac, Parma Violet, Violet

Red-Violet – Hot Pink, Lavender, Dahlia Purple, Black Grape, Dark Purple

Red – Deco Pink, Greyed Lavender, Pink Rose, Rosy Beige, Clay Rose, Pink, Carmine Red, Mulberry, Process Red, Magenta, Henna, Mohagany Red, Raspberry, Tuscan Red, Crimson Lake, Black Cherry, Dark Umber, Crimson Red

Red-Orange – Light Peach, Blush Pink, Peach, Salmon Pink, Pale Vermilion, Chestnut, Terra Cotta, Scarlet Lake, Poppy Red

Orange – Putty Beige, Beige Sienna, Yellowed Orange, Orange, Pumpkin Orange, Mineral Orange, Sienna Brown, Burnt Ochre, Dark Brown, Chocolate

Yellow-Orange – Peach Beige, Beige, Sand, Jasmine, Spainish Orange, Goldenrod, Yellow Ochre, Light Umber, Green Ochre, Bronze, Sepia

08-01-2006, 10:14 AM
Janet, you've done an outstanding job on theses wheels! With Bob's added experience I've really learned a lot more about color relations!!

Thanks for all your hard work on this!

08-01-2006, 11:10 AM
Chisaii, Thank you and your welcome!:)

08-23-2006, 04:30 AM
I've had requests for a larger version of the color wheel so I started a blog where the color wheel can be saved in a version that is much larger.

Here is the URL: http://janet-coloredpencil.blogspot.com/

08-23-2006, 09:36 PM
Hi Coutrouj
thank you very much for all the time you put into creating the prismacolor color wheel...:thumbsup:
i have ordered and am waiting for my 1st prismacolor pencils to arrive...so i was very excited to discover your color wheel.:clap:

08-23-2006, 10:16 PM
SD&P Wanabee, You're welcome!:) I hope to see some of your work with those new pencils.

08-26-2006, 06:23 AM
I am new to CP and have a LOT of things to learn.
This would definitely help a great deal in my learning process.
Thank you so much, Janet ^^

08-26-2006, 08:52 AM
coffee-lin you're welcome and welcome to the forum!:)

08-31-2006, 01:16 PM
Thank you so much for the colour wheel. I am just learning and I have prismacolour pencils now. I will probably be studying it all evening. x from Ronnie

08-31-2006, 02:04 PM
You're welcome Ronnie!:)