Discover how to make brown color with watercolors and mix your own tones

Do you want to know how to make brown color with watercolors? If you are a perfectionist in painting and you like to learn new techniques, you’ve come to the right place. We have a small guide for you to make brown color by mixing the colors of your watercolors. This color gives a special contrast to paintings, especially self-portraits and landscapes.

Achieving the brown color can have a certain degree of difficulty since it is not part of the primary colors. However, it is very easy if we have a guide. Therefore, we conducted some experiments to form the brown color and to provide you with a very practical tutorial to get it. In this way, you will be able to paint your pictures with confidence.

Before we start, we ask you to have your mixing palette and all your paints ready on your work table, because you are about to discover how to mix colors and how to make the brown color.

1. Mix the primary colors

The first technique with which you can learn how to make brown with watercolors is done with a very basic mixture of primary colors. In case you don’t remember, the primary colors are: red, yellow and blue .

Start by mixing two of the three colors mentioned, we leave it up to you. Then, add the third one to the mixture to finally obtain the brown color.

But how can you make brown with watercolors of different shades? It’s very easy, it will depend on the amount of colors you add to your mixture. For example: if you add more yellow, the tone will be lighter. On the other hand, if you add more red or blue, the result will be darker.

You can also experiment and create new shades of brown. Remember that you have to like the color, so you should try until you get the perfect shade.

Color colores primarios que dan café
Source: Unsplash

These three colors are called primary colors because we can’t mix any colors to create them. These three colors are what generalize the other colors, mixing them in different proportions of pigment from each other, we achieve all the shades and colors we know.”

That iswhy the basis of all your experiments to learn how to make the color brown should start from the use of the primary colors.

2. Mix the main colors with black

If you want to know other painting techniques and learn how to make the brown color with watercolors, you should start by knowing the main colors: blue, green, black, red and yellow.

Start the mixture with blue and green (preferably dark green). Both colors should be added in equal amounts.

Once you have the first mixture ready, add the black color. The amount of this color should be equal to the initial mixture.

Finally, add the red in the same amount as the black color. When you have it mixed, complement the whole combination with the yellow color. The amount of this color depends on the final shade you want to obtain.

Remember that the more yellow you use, the lighter the mixture will be.

Pinceles con colores principales
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3. Mix purple and yellow color

Both colors are a good combination if you were looking for how to make brown color with watercolors. But, first, you have to get the purple color.

Start by combining red and blue in equal amounts. Preferably, the result should have dark proportions. If the mixture is too light, you can add a little more blue. Remember that purple will be the base to create the brown color.

Once you have the mixture, you can add the yellow color. Of course, you must be careful with the amount used so that the combination to make the brown color is perfect. Start with a small dose of yellow and keep adding until you reach the point you want.

A simple trick for you to know how to make brown color in different shades, is to separate the mixture in different containers. In each one, add a different amount of yellow so that you have many varieties of coffee color.

Purpura y amarillo para hacer color café
Source: Unsplash

4. Use orange and blue

Mixing orange color with blue color is also a good idea, so if you want to know how to make brown color with watercolors you should try this combination. As in the previous mixture, you must first create a color. This time it will be orange, so prepare the colors red and yellow.

Put a good amount of red in the container, and, in a smaller proportion, add the yellow color. To get a better idea, the yellow should be only 10% of the amount used in the red color. Combine both colors to get the orange color.

Learning how to make brown color with watercolors can be very difficult in cases like this, but the results are amazing.

Como hacer color café con acuarelas de colores principales
Source: Unsplash

If you already have the orange color ready, add a small proportion of blue color and increase its amount little by little until there is no trace of the orange color left.

If you still want to keep adjusting the shade, you can keep adding small proportions of the blue color, in case you want it to be darker. If it is the opposite, use the orange color to lighten your mixture.

Meaning of brown color

If you are learning how to make brown color with watercolors, you need to know that this color denotes positive feelings. It is said, for example, when looking at a nature painting, that brown earth reminds us of the pleasant aroma of rain-damp earth.

Likewise, the meaning of the color brown in psychology is linked to the decoration of spaces, because this tonality generates comfort. For example, if we paint a wooden room with the color brown, the paint creates relaxing sensations.

Mezcla de colores para formar color café
Source: Unsplash

Tips to learn how to make brown color with watercolors

To learn how to make brown color, it is not enough to know what is the combination of colors you should use to achieve a particular tone. You must also know how to identify the shades you need for a particular work, you must learn how to handle the chromatic circle, and above all, you must be able to re-mix the colors in the same proportion to get the same tones you liked.

That is why we want to give you a small list of tips that will help you to learn how to make the brown color with watercolors and have available a wide range of brown colors to use in your works.

Identify the shade of brown color you want to achieve

To learn how to make brown color, you must first think about what you want to achieve. When we talk about brown color we use a generic term, because the truth is thatthere are an infinity of tones that can be classified with the name of brown color.

That is why it is important that you can recognize which is the tone you are looking for, so that it will be easier to see if the color mixture you are going to make is close or not to what you need.

To do this you can analyze the range of colors you will use in your work and see how many shades of brown you need to use in your composition. If you are putting together a botanical color palette, for example, you should include more than one shade of brown.

Use a chromatic circle

If someone asks you what colors are mixed to make brown, you can’t just answer “the primary colors”. It is important that you learn the theoretical part of color mixing, and for that there is nothing more effective than using a chromatic circle.

how do you make the color brown having the chromatic circle as a reference? It is very simple, you just have to choose one of the primary colors of the circle and mix it with its opposite or complementary colors.

We already saw this when we talked about mixing yellow with purple to make the color brown. Yellow is a primary color and purple is its complementary color.

The chromatic circle will also help you to recognize which colors you need to add to modify the shades of brown you have.

Ejemplo de círculo cromático

Source: Tomi Digital

Record the mixtures you used to create the brown shades.

There is no point in learning how to make the color brown if you have no idea how to mix the colors again to create a particular shade. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to keep a record of the mixtures you are experimenting with and highlight what is the proportion with which you should use each color to get the shades you like.

This is actually very simple, just write down in your notebook the combinations in this format:

how to make basic brown color: Mix 2/6 purple with 4/6 yellow.

This is just a very basic example, but the idea is that you add the information about everything you did to achieve the shades. It is also a good idea to use paint a color stripe next to the combination data so that you can see and recognize which shade you are referring to.

Persona probando tonos de acuarela

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Types of watercolors you can use to mix colors

To learn how to make brown color with watercolors, you need to know what are the main presentations of watercolors. Maybe when you think of watercolors you remember the first color tablets that you were given as a gift in your childhood, but there are an infinite number of other alternatives.

why do we say that to learn how to make brown color you must know the types of watercolors? Because the presentation of the watercolors will make it more or less difficult to mix the colors and obtain the tones you are looking for.

Watercolor in tablet form

Watercolor tablets are the most popular format for watercolor painting, however, depending on the brand, the results may be very basic. If you want to make brown color, you should try to have a good brand and not use school watercolors or those that are made for children.

Watercolor in tube

To learn how to make brown color and to know all the possible color mixtures, there is nothing better than watercolor tubes. This format of watercolors gives a more professional touch to any of your works, and is ideal for you to create your own color combinations.

If you want to buy watercolors to make brown color, we recommend buying brands such as Winsor and Newton or Taker.

One of the main advantages of watercolor tubes is that artists can use them to create color mixtures without messing up every color they touch with the brush.

Liquid watercolor

Liquid watercolor is more difficult to use and to get, but we could not fail to include it in the list of the types of watercolors that you can use to make brown color. This type of watercolor is brighter, but to use it you must work on wet surfaces.

We recommend you to use it if you have worked with India ink and have skills to paint with it.

Como hacer el color café con acuarelas
Source: Unsplash

3 ways to mix colors in watercolors

As you could already read, to combine colors with watercolors you have many options available. This is why watercolors have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, as they give you absolute freedom to experiment. And you could already see it in the techniques with which we explained how to make brown color with watercolors.

This freedom is transferred to the mixing of colors. Although in the mixtures that we provide you with we suggest a palette of paints, there are many options for mixing colors in watercolor.

Here are some of the techniques for mixing watercolor colors.

1. Mix colors with watercolors on paper

If you want to create a gradient effect, this watercolor color matching technique is perfect for you. First, you should paint half of your drawing in the color of your choice. Then, leave a small space and paint the other half with a different color.

With the paints still fresh, and without drying, proceed to mix them with a brush so that they merge and give a nice color.

combinar colores con acuarelas
Source: Unsplash

2. Try combining colors with layered watercolors

This technique is very easy and you can also do it on paper. It is very useful for those people who are just starting out and are still getting the elements needed to create their own colors.

It is a very practical technique for mixing colors in watercolor. Paint a solid layer of the color of your choice on the paper and let it dry. Finally, add a second color on top of the dry paint and start swirling the brush in circles on the layer.

mezclar colores en acuarela
Source: Unsplash

3. Use the palette to match colors with watercolors

Although this way of mixing is very popular, we leave it for last because it is an advanced technique. In fact, it requires buying implements to mix colors in watercolor.

This method has many benefits, one of them being that you can customize the colors and save them for later use.

In the palette, add two colors of your choice and mix them with a brush. If it is the case, you can add a little water or paint to get new shades of paint.

Color colores primarios que dan café
Source: Unsplash

You already have everything you need to combine colors and some techniques that will give your paintings a new look. Remember that watercolors give you all the freedom in the world so you can combine colors and experiment with new painting techniques.

Learning how to do brown with watercolors was not so difficult after all. You just have to apply the techniques and try to improve as much as you can with them.

Don’t be afraid of success and upload all your works to your Instagram or Facebook account. Comments from your friends are always good to keep innovating. If you are more reserved, you can send your projects to your closest friends. this way you will get better and better!

see you soon!

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