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Brown and Pink Make What Color When Mixed Together?

So… I’d never really thought about combining pink with brown before, until I got the request to add the answer to the following question into my ever-growing color mixing chart: “Brown and pink make what color when mixed together?” I whipped out my art equipment and began the experiments to find out.

As background, my name is Lillie, and I’m a teacher and artist who loves doing hands-on paint combining investigations — analyzing secondary colors, the more complex tertiary colors, and everything in between. Let’s start today’s quest by examining the surprisingly beautiful way pink and brown complement each other when swirled together by my brush. Mmm… bubblegum plus chocolate!

Brown and pink mixed together...
Brown and pink mixed together…

Understanding this Color Combination

Before we start mixing brown and pink together beyond that initial swirl, let’s first do some “color math” to predict what the results might be. First, we know that the answer to “What colors make brown?” is that this neutral color is a combination of all three primary colors (in the RYB model) together: Red + Yellow + Blue.

Next, we know that Pink = Red + White. Therefore, we can re-write the equation in question as Brown + Pink = Red + Yellow + Blue + Red + White. Since we know that red and yellow make the color orange, and also know that red and blue make purple, we can further write this equation: Orange + Purple + White.

Meanwhile we’ve found that the answer to “What do orange and purple make?” is a reddish-brown russet color, or dark brownish-pink, so we can therefore deduce that the answer to what we get from brown and pink mixed together will be that color — plus a bit of white to be lighter. Let’s pull out my art tools to see if we’re right…

Dusty magenta, mauve, and dark pink, from mixing pink and brown.
Dusty magenta, mauve, and dark pink, from mixing pink and brown.

Making Dark Pink Color or Pinkish-Brown

Hmm… our predictions were mostly correct, with some surprises. Yes, from my illustration above, you can see that brown plus pink can indeed make a pinkish-brown. However, what made my jaw drop is that the combination can also yield a dark pink — almost magenta — that’s only slightly brownish! Indeed, one of the answer to “What colors make pink” is actually brown plus pink!

This reminds me of our results from the “Purple and brown make what color?” experiment, where the answer was plum color: Sometimes adding brown pigment can serve to just make the other color richer and darker — not too muddy. We had similar findings in our “Brown and green make what color?” escapades: vibrant forest green was the outcome!

When we go back to the color math, we can remember that the outcome color can be tweaked based on what type of brown is the “input color.” Pick a brown with more red and blue (aka purple) than yellow, and you get a closer result to pink and purple mixed: magenta! It’s just a little dustier and browner because of the yellow in the combo. Behold…

Brown and pink make what color?
Brown and pink make what color?

Brown and Pink Make What Color When Mixed?

I was prepared for the answer to “Brown and pink make what color?” to just be more brown, but to my surprise, you really can get a lovely dark, rich pink from the combination. Yes, you can get a pink-tinged brown, too, but that’s not the only result possible. Happy color mixing!