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What Color Does Red and Blue Make?

Time for one of the most fundamental questions in any color mixing chart: “What color does red and blue make, when the two are mixed? The answer is a pleasing, beautiful, and popular color that makes me smile.

Before we dive into the answer to this question, here’s some background. I’m an artist and a teacher who loves doing color mixing experiments (such as “What do red and green make?” and “Yellow and purple make…”). In this article, I’ll be illustrating the answer as we investigate. First, let’s see what blue and red look like when swirled together…

Red and blue make...
Red and blue make…

How to Make Purple

Red and blue are both primary colors in the RYB model of paint or pigment mixing, and when they are mixed together, the color they make is the secondary color, purple! Yes, that’s right… blue plus red makes purple: that key part of any drawing of a rainbow, beloved in fashion and art everywhere.

Other secondary colors are green (what blue and yellow make), and orange (what red and yellow make). If you want to get more complex, intermediate or tertiary colors come when a secondary color is mixed with a primary color, such as the fact that red and purple make magenta, and green and blue make teal.

Now, the answer to “how to make purple” gets a bit more complex when we get into shades of “ingredient colors.” Red is usually easy to find a pure version of, but it can be hard to find a pure blue if you’re working with paints, markers, or colored pencils, or other media, and that can yield very different versions of purple. To make sure it’s the version you want, read on…

How to make purple.
How to make purple.

Types of Purple

As you can see from my illustration below, combining red and blue produces purple, yes — but the TYPES of purple yielded are different, depending on the kind of blue that is used in the mix. How much green or purple is in it? How much black or white?

More greenish or blackish blues will yield dustier (browner) purples and plums. More violet blues will produce more clear, vibrant, reddish purples. Play around with the mixes and see what you get!

What color do blue and red make when mixed?
Types of purple, illustrated.

What Color Does Red and Blue Make?

Congratulations — you now know the answer to the question, “What do blue and red make?” You also know how to make purple, including different types of purple. Now that’s a satisfying artistic investigation. Keep creative, and enjoy this colorful life!

Want more? Check out “What do Purple and Orange Make?” and “Purple and Green Make…” plus “Purple Aura Meaning” if you’d like to look at the color in a different way.

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