This is the third in a three-part series on color theory.

In our first post, we introduced the concept of color theory and presented the color wheel, creating our own color wheel using the pencils that we usually use to color.

In our second post, we introduced color schemes and learned how they can help us improve the results of our coloring.

In this post, we will learn about color values and how they can make our coloring come to life.

Color Theory

Color theory was originally developed using three “primary” colors (red, yellow and blue) because it was believed all other colors could be created by mixing these three primary colors.

Over time, artists discovered that they were not able to create an accurate representation of nature by only using these three colors. Because of this, it became common for artists to darken a color by using some black or white paint which created different color values.

Color Values

Color Values BlueYou can define color value as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. It is a valuable tool for the colorist. You can think of color value as the darkness or lightness of a color.

Light values are referred to as “tints” while dark values are called “shades.” Tints create highlights and shades create shadows, and the placement of these tints and shades can create the illusion of light and dimension in coloring projects.  

This relationship between darks and lights on and around objects affects how our minds see these objects, and it helps us add depth and dimension to our coloring.

If we choose color values that are close to each other, objects do not have any dimension. On the other hand, if we use more contrast in our color values, objects appear more three dimensional and look more realistic.

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors like white, black, gray, and brown are considered neutral colors and you will not find them on the color wheel.

These colors will not affect the color scheme of your drawing but, when you mix these colors with other colors, they will change the intensity of that color creating tints and shades.

Using Color Values

Color Values PurpleWe have covered a lot of material on color theory in this article, and it is time for you to try what you have learned on your own coloring project!

Grab one of your coloring books, pick a page, and try to create tints and shades using your colored pencils. Remember that you can create a tint by adding white to a color, and can create a shade by adding brown, blue, or black to a color.


Try it today and let us know what you think.


When you are done, share your finished drawing in our Facebook Group.

What have you learned from adding tints and shades to your coloring project?