What Colors Make Brown

Technically, when you mix all colors together, you get brown. When you do that, you add a little more orange, or red and yellow. Brown is a tertiary color - which means: mixed by all three primary colors. When yo mix all primary colors (red, yellow and blue) in equal amounts, you'll get neutral grey, and when you add more red and yellow, and just a little blue, you'll get brown.

It's just, there are so many kinds of brown! They can be warm or cold, light or dark etc. And making just the kind of brown you had in mind, can be more difficult than it seems.

So - what colors make brown?

First, you need a strong red. Take 5 volumes. Then some yellow, 2 or 3 volumes, and last you add some blue - drop by drop. The trick is: take your time to stir everything well. Add small amounts of paint (especially the blue), and stir untill you really see one color as a mixing result. After that, you might need black or white paint, to make your brown lighter or darker.

Changing the color brown

Once you made your brown, you can make it look warmer by adding more red. You can make it look colder by adding green (or, yellow and blue). Making it lighter or darker can be done with black or white paint. First try it out in small amounts!

Ready-made pigments to make brown

There are some beautiful pigments available to make brown, most of them consist of ground earth, found in special places. Sometimes this earth was heated (baked) and ground, which shows in the color names (burnt umber, burnt siena). Iron oxyde (rust) can make a good brown too. The 'raw'earth pigments (raw umber, raw siena) are a colder, more greenish brown.

How to make browns in a graphic program

On the computer, browns are just darker versions of orange, golden yellow or red. Of course, these are not very lively colors. Toning these colors on the screen can be done by creating new layers, and using the transparant brush with a different color on a new layer. You might even thing of a thin green layer over the brown one. On the screen, colors mix more as light. Green and red light mix to yellow light - some extra gold may appear when you do a very thin layer of green.


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