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What Do Orange and Green Make? Color Mixing…

Ready for another installment of complicated color combinations? (Ooh, the English teacher in me loves that alliteration…) Since previously we unpacked “What Does Purple and Green Make?” I decided to experiment with another green mash-up to attempt to answer: What do orange and green make?

Through hands-on experiments, I’ll show you the THREE possible answers. Let’s go!

What do orange and green make?
What do orange and green make?

Green Plus Orange Equals…

On to the first two color mixing experiments! For the illustration above, I drew stripes of different shades of green alternating with orange using the “Marker” inking brush on my Procreate iPad art app, then used the “Liquify” tool to twirl them to the right, varying the size of the swirl for the marbling effect.

For the drawing below, I made criss-crossing lines of orange and green to layer the colors for one form of mixing, then used the “Smudge” tool set to “Wet Acrylic” to further blend and desaturate the combination of the two secondary colors.

As you can see from both resulting pictures, asking, “What color do green and orange make?” actually has three possible answers. First, the hues produce brown. Second, they make a dusty brown-green often called “Olive.” (Mmm… now I’m hungry for olives.)

Finally, you can see that if you used dark enough shades of the two ingredient colors, you actually could produce black. Note how our answer to, “What Does Red and Green Make?” is similar, but more clearly in the brown or black range.

What color do green and orange make?
What color do green and orange make?

Why Are There Multiple Answers?

Why do orange and green yield brown OR olive, OR black? Let’s turn to the mathematical science of color mixing, illustrated by my handy-dandy drawing, below. If you separate out the components of green and orange into the primary colors that created them, you’ll see they become red, blue, yellow, and another yellow.

Remember the magical thing about primary colors? You can use them to make any other color — it just depends on the ratios, which in turn would depend on the shades of green and orange you pick!

As you can see from my chart below, the two colors we’re examining today are made up of similar component colors to our query, “What do yellow and purple make?” However, while the former skews towards olive green, the latter is more in the brownish, dusty mauve family, all due to the ratios of incoming primary colors.

Why green and orange make brown.
Why green and orange make brown.

What Do Orange and Green Make?

There you have it: Orange and green make brown, due to the component colors containing all three primary colors, but it can often result in an olive color (dull brownish-green), or even black, if the shades and ratios are right. This is a different answer than our result of the “Green and brown make what color?” experiment, though it is related since orange and brown are closely connected.

Overall, I’d say this investigation was slightly less complicated than our jaunt into “What Does Orange and Blue Make?” but still left me surprised! What about you? What are your thoughts on our inquiry into the question, “What do orange and green make?” Do share!

Want more? Check out “Tertiary Colors,” “What Do Orange and Purple Make?” and “Green and Yellow Make What Color?” plus my full color mixing chart.