LEAP!Tracy HolmesComment

What do you get when you mix a Hue with White and Black at the same time? You get a TONE. This complex concoction of colour and non-colour is the 'Grey area' that can sometimes leave us feeling stuck in the mud . . .


Q: What's Black and White and Red all over?

A: A newspaper.

That was a favourite joke I remember from when I was kid. My dad worked at a newspaper, so maybe it had more relevance. He's a writer (and I would become one), so maybe even then, I appreciated the wordplay.

I've heard other versions over the years (a nun with a sunburn, an embarrassed penguin, a zebra wearing lipstick...). But if you asked me the same question now, wearing my BTC hat, I'd have a different answer:

Q: What's Black and White and Red all over?

A: A Tone. 



To review, you know HUE (a.k.a. Colour). Add White, you end up with a TINT. Add Black, you make a SHADE. No Hue at all? It's a note on the GREY scale.

When we mix a Hue with another Hue, we can usually follow the flow, like in these two examples of Red reaching out to its neighbours, Yellow and Magenta:

With Colour Basics in five steps across the top row, and BTC in ten steps along the bottom, the colour shifts from Yellow to Red to Magenta, but it's still all about Hue.

Adding White or Black, we change the Value of a colour, but it's still easy to see the base Hue coming through. Here's Red, Basics and BTC, in a monochromatic transition from White to Hue to Black:


What happens when you mix all that there is to mix? A Hue (or two), plus White, plus Black? Clearly (and not at all clear) this concoction of colour and non-colour, this 'Grey area,' while it often yields some of the richest and most interesting colours, it's the area that can leave us most mixed up and stuck in the mud. 

What happens when a pure Hue is washed out with White and obscured by Black at the same time? Take at look at bright bold blazon Red (and the other Colour Basics Hues) when Middle Grey moves in to Tone things down:

See how those little colour-coded Colour Squares in the top right corner are getting more complex? That's because there's a lot more going on in these more complex colours. The Grey Colour Cube in the bottom right corner tells us these are all Tones, and the Colour Square keeps track of the Colour Formula, as a mix of Hue, White, and Black. There are 3 other Tones in the Colour Basics deck, but we'll talk about those in a later 'Leap!'

Take the BTC Corner Hues as far as you can go towards a hueless Middle Grey and the base Hue gets even harder to see:

6 BTCHue+Tone.jpg

See? If not for the little 'family crest' Colour Cube in the corner, we might not know where these toned down Hues belong.

Here is a random sampling of Tones from Colour Every Day:


Using the Grey Colour Cube in the bottom corner of the Colour Basics cards, it's easy to find all the toned down Hues. And there are only 15 to find.
Including the BTC Tones shown above, there are 64 Tones in the BTC deck, 8 in each of the 8 Corner Colour families. Can you find them all? Use what you know already about the digits in the BTC Colour Codes, and you should be able to round them up. Here's a reminder...
Hues have at least one 0 and one 5. Tints have at least one 0 and no 5s. And Shades have at least one 5, and no 0s. With all the Tones being somewhere in the middle, look for the Colour Codes with the digits in the middle: the 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s... no 0s and no 5s.
You know what? Using this digital info, you should be able to sort the entire BTC collection, not just the 64 Tones, but the 60 Tints, 60 Shades, and 30 Hues, too, with only two cards left over. Which two? You tell me...   

Congratulations! We're almost at the end of our first week of 'Leaping' into the basics and breakthroughs of BreakThroughColour! I hope by now you're starting to get to know the different qualities of colour, and how the Colour Basics Colour Squares and BTC Colour Codes relate to each variation. 

If you have any questions so far, please post them in the Comments below, here or on the post most relevant to your query.

And because you've done so well so far, I have a sweet surprise for everyone tomorrow...