What color does Brown & Yellow make?
Absolutely Stunning!

As a neutral color, brown can add harmony to any art and design project. And yellow could brighten things up - so here's what happens when these two are mixed!
What color does Brown & Yellow make? Absolutely Stunning! Thumbnail
What color does Brown & Yellow make? Absolutely Stunning! Thumbnail

Brown and Yellow: An Introduction

When it comes to brown, so many things come to out mind from the natural world. Of course, the most basic element is that of the earth or soil. On the other hand, yellow can make us feel happy and fulfilled, just like the sunshine! We love using these two colors side by side, as they create an excellent contrast and a very outgoing look. But what happens when we mix brown and yellow together?

Mixing the neutral color brown and primary color yellow will result in bright brown. If more yellow is added, the bright brown will become warmer. And by adding more brown, it would incline towards an earth shade.

1. Understanding the Color Wheel and Color Theory

Bright brown is a hue of brown, a neutral color.

Since brown is a neutral color, it doesn’t appear on the color wheel. However, there are many ways to get a brown hue. The simplest method is to combine the primary colors red, yellow and blue.

What are Primary Colors?

Primary colors are those that cannot be derived from mixing other colors. Basically, red, yellow and blue are the three primary colors. You can get hundreds to thousands of colors just by mixing these three in varying proportions. Here are a few color terminologies you need to know:

  1. Secondary colors: When you mix any two primary colors, the resulting color is known as secondary.
  2. Tertiary colors: When you mix one primary color with a secondary color, the resulting color is known as tertiary.

Whenever you create a new color, it is saturated. In other words, the produced color doesn’t have a tone. So it can look very bright or overwhelming to the eyes. To create different tonal values, you would need to lighten or darken a color. 

So for bright brown, if you mix white to it, it will give you a ‘tint. If you add grey, it will give you a ‘tone’ and if you add black, it would result in a ‘shade’.

The color wheel having half cool colors and half warm colors

2. Creating hues of Bright Brown

Nature has plenty of marvellous bright brown hues!

Plants with bright brown in the background

Remember that brown has a bit of every primary color in it - red, yellow and blue. So there are so many ways you could create a range of browns just by making one color outweigh the others.

What happens if you add more brown?

If you add more brown to bright brown, the resulting hue will appear more earthly. Brown is a major component in all earth colors so your bright brown would look more natural. 

Here are some brown hues you can add

  1. Burnt sienna
  2. Burnt umber
  3. Raw umber

What happens if you add more yellow?

Adding more yellow to bright brown will increase its brightness. It will also increase the warmth since yellow is inherently a warm color.

Here are some common yellow hues you can try for your bright brown mix:

  1. Yellow ochre
  2. Cadmium yellow
  3. Lemon yellow

If you add more yellow, it would make the bright brown appear more saturated and cheerful. 


yellow ochre is an earthy color

Earthly colors usually have an element of brown in them. Yellow ochre is not a bright hue, instead it inclines toward brown. So adding yellow ochre to brown will result in a toned down brown rather than a bright color!

3. What is the color psychology of Bright Brown?

Bright brown will have the effects of brown, but much livelier.

Different shades of yellow and brown

Brown is a neutral and earthy color. Whereas bright brown is actually a tint of it, since it’s lighter. So you can think of the psychological effects of bright brown as that of yellow-brown sand. Adding any brown hue reflects stability and prosperity.

Note that the negative traits of brown are more reflective for the darker shades. When it comes to bright brown, there’s a tinge of yellow in it, so it would also have the effects of this happy sunshine-like primary color.

Here are some aspects of bright brown you need to remember!

Positive Traits Negative Traits
Safety Isolation 
Security Sadness 
Dependability Loneliness

Not all colors have the same cultural meaning. To learn more about the connection between color and culture, have a look at this awesome guide .

4. How can I use Bright Brown in painting?

Bright brown is a wonderful hue for adding highlights!

Two brushes and a roller with brown paint

Various brown hues can be used to create skin tones and add stunning highlights in landscape elements, such as soil, tree trunks, etc.

In painting, you can use any bright color to show the effects of light. You can also use it to show areas where there’s just a bit of light, instead of a totally lit space.

Here are a few tips to use bright brown in various painting media:

  • In acrylic paint, always make bright brown one step lighter. This is because acrylics dry very fast and whenever the painting is fully dried up, the colors get darker.
  • For oil paints, the blendability level is very high. So even if you don’t have a brown paint tube, you can create your own brown by mixing red, yellow and blue. 
  • Using brown in watercolors is much easier as some hues are directly available. For spontaneous and playful washes, use the wet-in-wet technique. 

Don’t feel inclined toward painting media? Have a go at this wonderful set of Classique dual tip brown markers .

Classique by Spectrum Noir (Dual Tip Markers)

Classique by Spectrum Noir (Dual tip markers) having chisel nib and fine tip nib. It consists of 6 awesome colors: leather, russet, henna, natural brown, earth brown and bark.

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5. How can I use Bright Brown in drawing?

It's a bit difficult to use bright brown alone for drawings.

Texture of bright brown, yellow and white

Using bright brown alone can be quite difficult in drawing. No matter how much pressure you exert, there’s a limit to the darkness the bright brown art medium would give.

  1. Use it along with other brown hues to add contrast to your drawing.
  2. For pencil work, you can add bright brown highlights from the top, especially for showing light on dark skin tones.
  3. For pastels, it is best to figure out the light and dark areas before beginning the drawing. As is the case with colored pencils, you could add bright brown on top dark brown shades in both soft pastels and oil pastels. However, the blending could get tricky so we recommend not to use more than two shades to avoid the muddy look.

Are soft pastels your main drawing medium? You wouldn’t want to miss this fascinating Jack Richeson professional collection of brown hues .

Jack Richeson Hand Rolled Soft Pastels Color Wheel: Browns, 20 piece set

These soft pastels are professional, highly pigmented and their size means you can hold them easily without having to worry about them breaking.

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using mixed media

Did you know you could use different drawing media together? Try putting some sepia ink strokes on watercolor or mixed media paper. Then use pastels, colored pencils and other markers for more variety in texture.

That’s not the only way to make mixed media works though. You could always have different drawing media and even combine them with painting media.

6. How can I use Bright Brown in design?

Brown is a very common color for backdrops in interior spaces!

Bright brown wall with wooden flooring

Bright brown can make any room more warm and welcoming. 

While dark brown creates a more serious environment, bright brown has more of a jovial effect. Especially if you have a room where there’s sunshine coming in, bright brown can look stunning and create an airy feeling.

To successfully use bright brown in design, here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Pair bright brown with a darker hue for better contrast and balance.
  2. Use textured elements around bright brown, such as stone and wood, to create a more natural atmosphere.
  3. Add some plants to your bright brown space to create the ‘forest’ effect.
  4. Use small saturated home decor pieces such as vases, to make the room pop. 


use earth colors

What are some other earth colors that could look great with bright brown? You could have many of these 'earth' shades - just add a bit of brown to any color (especially warm ones). Think of yellow ochre (a brownish yellow), rust brown, earth red and so on!

What colors look great with bright brown?

Almost every dark or mid-tone brown will work well with bright brown. Such a combination would create excellent contrast, which is necessary for both art and design. But other than a monochromatic color scheme, here are a few other colors that can look equally great with bright brown.

  1. Turquoise
  2. Orange
  3. Yellow
  4. Mint
  5. Blue


add a metallic color

Do you want to make your design more interesting? Use a shade of silver or gold side by side with bright brown. Keep the hue dark as bright brown is light, so a bright gold or silver may look overwhelming.

7. Some of the most common Brown hues

You can create as many brown hues as there are in nature!

Some light and dark brown hues

Remember that you can always change the tonal value of any brown hue. That is, for all the above browns, you can add a bit of white to make each of them brighter. You can also add yellow to them to make them brighter and warmer at the same time.

Of course, these aren’t the only browns out there. But they are extremely popular for both art and design projects, so don’t mind giving them a try!


So by mixing brown and yellow, you get a beautiful bright brown hue. Psychologically, it has the same effects as brown but it appears more warm and welcoming compared to dark brown, because of the presence of yellow.  So it creates a happy and stable atmosphere in both art and design projects. You can also add more white to the bright brown to lighten it, and by using grey and black you could make mid-tones and dark shades.

Are you feeling fascinated by yellow? Have a look at this gorgeous color that you can get by mixing yellow and red !

What color does Yellow & Red make? Absolutely Stunning!

Two warm colours: red and yellow. One is known for love and boldness, the other for happiness. So what happens when you yellow and red together?

Jimena & Iñigo Picture

By Jimena & Iñigo

The Navarro-Rubios

My husband and I are learning how to draw and paint. We wanted to share this learning process with the world and have fun! That's why we created this blog. We'll have drawing contests every week and you'll decide who won that week! Follow along and learn with us!

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Jimena & Iñigo Picture

Jimena & Iñigo

The Navarro-Rubios

My husband and I are learning how to draw and paint. We wanted to share this learning process with the world and have fun! That's why we created this blog. We'll have drawing contests every week and you'll decide who won that week! Follow along and learn with us!



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