How to Make Chromatic Gray Scale With Paint

Things You\’ll Need

  • Paint, two complementary colors

  • Palette

  • Paintbrush

  • Paper

Man running sand through his hands Chromatic gray has a small amount of color in it. Image Credit: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

While some people choose to make gray from a mixture of black and white, this type of gray is considered monochromatic. Instead of making gray from black and white paint, complementary colors also combine into a gray color when mixed properly. A chromatic gray scale shows a progression from one color to the other and the various shades in between.

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Step 1

Mix equal amounts of two complementary colors, such as yellow and blue, red and green or orange and purple. The result should be a flat gray with no hint of color. If there is a hint of either color, add a little bit of the other color to even it out.

Step 2

Paint the flat gray into the center of the paper and separate the amount you have left on your palette into two sections.

Step 3

Add a drop of one color to half of the flat gray and mix it. Paint a stripe of this new color to the right of the flat gray color.

Step 4

Create each step up with a drop of the first color, painting the stripes in order. Stop when the color no longer looks gray at all.

Step 5

Mix a drop of the second color into the other half of the flat gray paint. Paint a stripe of this new color to the left of the flat gray on the paper.

Step 6

Add the second color one drop at a time, painting stripes to the left of the previous one until the color no longer appears gray.


Make rows using each set of complementary colors for a complete chromatic gray scale.