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#2418 BEGINNER SERIES - Lesson 4: Color Theory

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Professor Tipsen is back, and today he is going to give you the 101 on color theory! How have you used color theory in your builds? Be sure to check out post #2146 if you want an intermediate lesson on color theory for your MOC building.


Graphics by Sir Bugge’s LEGO Page at www.l3go.bugge.com and by @thebrownbuilder


#2418 BEGINNER SERIES - Lesson 4: Color Theory Image shows Professor Tipsen Bricks ready to give his lesson of the day. He says, “Hi, I am Professor Tipsen Bricks! Today I will teach you the basics of color theory, and how LEGO uses color in their sets!” Use this series as a resource if you are new to building, or if you want to refresh your skills and knowledge!

Color Theory Basics Color theory is both a science and an art. It breaks down which colors, or hues, look best next to one another and why. The color wheel visualizes the relationships. Orange is between Red and Yellow. Green is between Yellow and Blue. Purple is between Blue and Red. To start, we will study how one of my favorite sets uses color theory. The Friends Botanical Garden!

Color schemes are the visual relationships of how certain colors pair with other colors! Common schemes are Complementary, Triadic, and Analogous. A magenta and bright light orange flower in the trans light blue water shows a Triadic color scheme. Magenta, Bright Light Orange, and Trans-Light Blue are equally spaced on the color wheel. A dark red leaf comes out of the green grass. This shows a complementary color scheme. Green and Dark Red are opposites on the wheel.

A pink tree made with Magenta, Dark Pink, and Light Pink demonstrates shades and tints. Magenta, Dark Pink, and Light Pink are lighter and darker tones of pink.  A tree with bright light orange and bright light yellow flowers. This demonstrates an Analogous color scheme. Bright Light Orange, Bright Light Yellow, and Bright Green are adjacent on the color wheel. Both of these are examples of gradients, or gradual shifts between colors.

The Botanical Garden uses many color schemes, so how is it cohesive? The main building has a predominantly neutral color scheme of White, Light Nougat, Tan, and Sand Green. Neutral colors do not have much saturation and pair with most other colors! White, Gray, and Black are not on the color wheel, as they are achromatic and have no hue! Accents are colors used selectively to stand out. In the Botanical Garden, pinks contrast from the neutral and green tones, used on both sides of the build to create balance.

Saturation is the intensity of LEGO colors. For example, the shift of vibrance from Dark Bluish Gray to Sand Green to Green.

Brightness is the shift of light to shadow. For example, from Light Nougat to Dark Nougat. Barad-dûr is a stellar example of how the gradual brightness of  LEGO colors can emulate light.

This slide shows the Tower of Orthanc and the Ice Castle to demonstrate a Monochrome color scheme. One way to achieve a monochromatic color scheme is to only use one color, like how The Tower of Orthanc uses all black. The second way is to only use shades and tints of one color - like the blues in the Frozen Ice Castle. The Ice Castle is still monochromatic because the range of color comes from one hue!

This slide is about cool and warm tones. One of the best LEGO examples of cool and warm tones are the new and old grays! The retired Light Gray and Dark Gray are yellowish while the Light Bluish Gray and Dark Bluish Gray are, well, bluish. Andrea’s Mansion creates a gradient of warm tones from Magenta to Yellow. Try sticking to one tone in your builds. As for LEGO metallics, silvers are cool toned, while golds are warm toned.

Did you enjoy this post and want a deep dive into how you can incorporate color theory into your MOCs? Check out post #2146, where we follow Medium Azure through different color schemes!

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