My little artist understands the colors

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It's easy to tell your child that the milk is white and the grass is green, but could you explain how to make green if there are no more in the paint tube? Learning to compose colors is not complicated and can be done at any age, hands in the paint. Let's go !

Cécile Dard

My little artist understands the colors (9 photos)


Large sheets of paper
Gouache tubes with the primary colors Cyan (blue), Magenta (red) and Yellow without forgetting black and white.
A pallet or a large plate for painting
Brushes of all sizes, rollers to paint
An unbreakable glass (children's tableware)
A glass of water
A piece of fabric or paper towel to wring brushes between two colors


To discover the colors while having fun, simply draw on a large sheet full of overlapping circles using an inverted cup.


To get started, it is better to use only the so-called primary colors (red, blue and yellow). Your child will discover for himself that where blue and yellow overlap, we can see green! Yellow and red will give orange, while blue and red will create purple.


If coloring tired circles your child, it is also possible to draw a large daisy whose petals cross and he can paint by alternating colors for each petal.

From the lightest to the darkest

Colors are hot or cold, light or dark. To explain it to your artist, it is enough to mix the black and the white by changing the proportions each time.
Gradients are well understood by creating a rainbow of a single hue by brightening the initial color with white. By adding a little more white for each ring of the rainbow, the color gradually lightened.

A little technique for more than 5 years

After 5-6 years, you can even explain to your child that colors are stored in three lockers: primary, secondary and tertiary.
The primaries are red (magenta), blue (cyan) and yellow, the secondary ones are the colors obtained by mixing the primaries between them two by two (at equal quantities) and the tertiaries are the result of mixing a primary with a secondary. Finally the easiest way is to do it!

Tips +

If your gouache tubes are too dry, open them with scissors through the other end of the tube and put the paint in your palette with a little water, children can use them by tapping them.
Put a plate under the cloth so that the table is not flooded ...

To start well

If your child likes painting, here is a beautiful gift idea that will not encumber the room too: Box "I paint with the fingers" of Pébéo (3 years and more), 19 € approx.
More info here.
Box "Artist Kid Easel" Pébéo (5 to 7 years) 29 € approx.
More info here.

A book to go further

To learn the colors without getting dirty hands, we can also open beautiful books at our disposal:
Painting book to learn colors, by Pascal Estelon, Editions des grands personnes, 11,40 €.
More info here.