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Red and Yellow Make What Color, Mixed?

Off we go to another installment of color mixing explorations! Today’s fundamental question is: “Red and yellow make what color when the two pigments are combined?”

So you know my context, I’m an artist and teacher who adores doing hands-on experiments with paint combinations, which I share in my illustrations and educational articles. Let’s start this post with my drawing of what yellow and red look like when they’re swirled together. Pretty, eh?

Mixing yellow and red together.
Mixing yellow and red together.

Red and Yellow Make…

The answer to, “What do yellow and red make when mixed?” is: they result in the color orange! Red and yellow are both primary colors (along with blue) in RYB paint and pigment mixing color theory, so when they’re mixed, the two produce what’s called a secondary color.

Secondary Colors

Other secondary colors besides orange include: green (blue plus yellow), and purple (red plus blue). If you want to get crazier, combine a secondary color with a primary color to make an intermediate or tertiary color such as magenta (red plus purple). Another tertiary color is chartreuse: the combination of the primary color, yellow, with the secondary color, green.

Red and yellow make...
Red and yellow make…

Different Shades of Orange

I don’t want to make you start seeing red from a complication, but the resulting color from mixing yellow and red together isn’t as simple as just “orange.” In fact, depending on the “ingredient colors” you pick to mix, along with how much white or black in in there will yield many different shades of orange.

For example, if your “ingredient” yellow is more orange-y, you’ll get more of a vermillion (the tertiary color resulting from red plus orange). Meanwhile, if you add some white to the mix, you’ll get a paler peach color. Mmm… all these fruit names for shades are making me hungry!

How to make different shades of orange.
How to make different shades of orange, illustrated.

What Color Do Red and Yellow Make?

Now you know the answer to what red and yellow make: the secondary color orange! You also know now that the type of orange may be different, depending on the shades of red and yellow being used for the mix, and how much white or black is in there, too. Happy color mixing!

Want more? Check out “What Do Red and Green Make?” and an orange aura meaning!

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