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Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green (1989)

by Michael Wilcox

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327680,728 (3.44)5
For more than 200 years the world has accepted that red, yellow and blue--the artists primaries--give new colors when mixed. And for more than 200 years artists have been struggling to mix colors on this basis. This book has changed the way that artists and all who use color think about color mixing. Translated into many languages it offers, for the first time, a way of thinking and working which replaces all that has gone before it. With sales of over 400,000 copies worldwide it has become the standard reference book on this subject. By unravelling the many ambiguities and myths inherent in the established way of working, Michael Wilcox has transformed color mixing from a haphazard affair into a thinking process. The sequel to the original Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green this updated and fully revised edition is packed with newly researched information. An extra 80 pages, new layout, new information on the transparency and make up of colors, and many new color swatches make this the ultimate guide to all who use and mix color.… (more)
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  CathyLockhart | Sep 30, 2022 |
Wilcox intrigues the reader with an opening statement: "For more than 200 years the world has accepted that red, yellow and blue--the artists primaries--give new colours when mixed. And for more than 200 years artists have been struggling to mix colours on this basis." He was correct: mixing pigments does not equate seeing the colours transcend their original properties to form a "new" colour.

This sentiment is essentially what drew me in, because I didn't properly understand that mixing two primaries is a very deceptive process in creating a secondary colour, when using pigment-based materials. We've probably all ended up with a mud-coloured result when the elementary school lessons taught such mixing. In this book, the process is explained very sensibly, based on the actual physical properties of mixing pigments in any medium.

The strongest aspect of the information lies in knowing that colour (seen with our eyes) is a matter of the colour wheel of light (via computers, on movie or TV screens or via sunlight), being different to the colour wheels presented for mixing pigments. The contradictions in 'traditional' pigment-mixing by artists are resolved in Wilcox's explanatory descriptions and exercises.

The great strength of this book lies in the exercises and straight-through reading or skimming does not lend itself to understanding handling your pigmented media. The audience is likely to be seriously-engaged artists, art school students or instructors teaching colour mixing using pigments. The reader must also be willing to plough through redundant explanations and cope with passages that have important points to make, but the writing is too turgid for clarity. Had this book been written in a succinct and less convoluted style, it would have deserved 5-stars. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Dec 28, 2021 |
Takes the very basic concept of the colour wheel and explains why when you dump those colours together you often don't get what you're expecting. Talks about the various shades (warm through cold) that exist in every colour and why mixing a warm red and a cold yellow gets you a dead brown.

Not very useful for a beginner.
Extremely useful for someone more advanced.
Old hat to someone who's been hand mixing colours for years.

I find it a wonderful reference when I don't want to have remember if it's primary or Cadmium that's gets me that perfect shade, I let the book do my remembering for me.
  deirdrebeth | Jun 19, 2011 |
Well, actually, they do (make green). A look at the color wheel and how you can improve color mixing by using six primary colors instead of three. Interesting information, but doesn't exactly destroy the color wheel concept. ( )
  maryanntherese | Dec 15, 2006 |
basic colour theory dragged out to fill a whole book ( )
  nearasyouget | Nov 2, 2006 |
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For more than 200 years the world has accepted that red, yellow and blue--the artists primaries--give new colors when mixed. And for more than 200 years artists have been struggling to mix colors on this basis. This book has changed the way that artists and all who use color think about color mixing. Translated into many languages it offers, for the first time, a way of thinking and working which replaces all that has gone before it. With sales of over 400,000 copies worldwide it has become the standard reference book on this subject. By unravelling the many ambiguities and myths inherent in the established way of working, Michael Wilcox has transformed color mixing from a haphazard affair into a thinking process. The sequel to the original Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green this updated and fully revised edition is packed with newly researched information. An extra 80 pages, new layout, new information on the transparency and make up of colors, and many new color swatches make this the ultimate guide to all who use and mix color.

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