How to Make Brown

Three Parts:Choosing Permanent ColorsMaking a yellow/side brownMaking a blue/side brown

Browns come in red-brown, yellow-brown and green-brown. With only three transparent primary colors anyone can make any color in nature. That includes any brown or black. So how do you make [1] brown?

Part 1
Choosing Permanent Colors

  1. Image titled Makebrown100dpi342x500
    Choose the first permanent color, permanent transparent Yellow, dual-toned, PY150 or opaque PY35. On a thirty-six-RCW#1 is light pure yellow, either a mass cadmium yellow or a wash of transparent yellow. 36RCW#1.10. is dark yellow/brown, 36RCW#1.10.5 is yellow, dark brown, middle temperature, 36RCW#1.10.1 is raw umber, a cool brown.
    • The ASTM Color Names and Numbers chart goes by material, not color, PR101 is pigment red and there are over 100 color reds with the PR101 number. The reddest red light and darkest red are both PR101, so is red-purple.
    • First the color number then the light to dark number then the warm to cool number. The color#, the light to dark#, the warm to cool#.
    • The first color is transparent PY150 Indian Yellow synthetic brown-side, it is a dual-toned Nickel element pigment and crystal. Yellow's opaque cadmium yellow light is also the first color.
  2. 2
    Choose the permanent transparent Magenta as your second primary color, PR122, 36RCW#13, permanent transparent magenta is a Carbon element.
  3. 3
    Choose permanent transparent Cyan as your third primary color, PB15, 36RCW#25, permanent transparent cyan is a Copper element that had an atom removed, it is sulfur resistant.
    • Artists and printers use the same transparent primary colors in their inks or tubed pigments. Printers use the pigment black to darken a color, camera's also use black to darken a color. Artist's use the opposite color to darken any color into a shadow color.
  4. 4
    Use less ink to make a lighter color if you're a printer. Overexpose a camera's image to make it lighter. If you're an artist, use less pigment color and more clear medium or add white pigment.
    • 100% of an opposite color makes the shadow or shade color. The most saturated and full colors are in Ring#1, that's within 10 feet of you. Ring#5 is about 20 miles away from you. Ring#10 is the far distant color of mountains.
  5. 5
    36RCW#1:1= Starts the shadow/shade colors, 36RCW#01.1= Starts the of tints of colors, 36RCW#09 ends the tint colors.

Part 2
Making a yellow/side brown

  1. 1
    90% cyan and 90%% magenta equals blue.
  2. 2
    Add 90% yellow and you will get a neutral dark shadow color.
  3. 3
    Add 100% transparent yellow and you will get a yellow/side brown color.
  4. 4
    Add some white to see the color better or make a tint.

Part 3
Making a blue/side brown

  1. 1
    90% cyan, 90% magenta equals blue.
  2. 2
    Add 100% yellow to make brown, add less yellow to make a dark neutral or blue-brown.
  3. 3
    Add more magenta to be a red-side brown, 90% cyan, 93% magenta, 90% yellow.


  • IRON in dirt, makes all the earth color ochres and oxides from light yellow and light red to dark brown and black. Calcined (heated) raw umber makes burnt umber.
  • Red and Green, secondary to secondary pigments = Brown, an umber color.
  • Yellow Green and Red Violet, tertiary and tertiary pigments = Bt. Umber.
  • Yellow and purple, primary and tertiary pigments = Bt. Umber.
  • Orange and Cobalt Blue, tertiary to tertiary pigments = Brown and light neutral gray.
  • Yellow Orange and Blue Violet, tertiary and tertiary pigments = Raw Umber.
  • Orange and Ultramarine Blue, tertiary and secondary pigments = Brown umber.
  • Red and Cyan, secondary and primary pigments = Bt. Umber and neutral black.
  • Yellow and Violet, primary and tertiary pigments = Bt. Sienna.
  • Yellow Green and Magenta, tertiary and primary pigments = flesh or coffee brown, used by billboard painters.
  • Element: IRON. Burnt green earth, ferrous hydroxide and mono-silicic acid, transparent like Burnt Sienna.
  • Element: IRON, "Caput Mortuum" is red ocher (oxide) calcined, or native.
  • Elements: IRON - MANGANESE. Raw Umber, "Umbra", "terre d'Ombre", Manganese dioxide and iron hydroxide make burnt umber.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Coloring and Shading