Exploring Tint, Shade, and Tone
In color theory, a tint is a mixture of a color with white, which increases lightness, while a shade is a mixture with black, which increases darkness.
Both processes affect the resulting color mixture's relative saturation.
A tone is produced either by mixing a color with gray, or by both tinting and shading.
In the classroom, we are always striving to offer new experiences to the children that will provide them with the opportunity to expand on knowledge they already know, test theories, and fill their toolbox with new information learned through exploration.
Last week, we expanded our knowledge of color mixing through the language of paint!
First, we introduced new vocabulary terms - Tint, Shade, and Tone - by relating them to the colors white, black, and grey.
Children were naturally inclined to define these new words on their own by sharing the following hypotheses about how each might affect an existing color when added to it.
I think this will make them lighter. The white. - Hugh
It gets lighter. - Daniel
The black will make them blacker. It will make the colors darker and go away. - Cape
It will make it (the paint color) really dark. - Hugh
Testing hypotheses through the mixing process
Now that looks pinkish. - Lily (mixing red and white)
Then pink. Because of the white you use with red. - Bea
So does the new color you created look lighter or darker than the red you started with? - Sam
Lighter, lighter, lighter! - Bea
I created orange by adding yellow, red, and white. - Saul
I made that light light yelllow. - Frances
Its a dark dark dark dark blue. - Wilder
I’m making grey. I mixed white and black. - Daniel
Daniel then explored adding grey to a variety of colors:
Look at this different blue that I’m making! I’m making a different blue. I’m making a light blue. I did grey and blue and it made it. - Daniel
A lot of yellow and a little grey. Hmmm… another green! - Daniel
That’s like a light green. - Lily
(gasps) It looks kind of greenish! - Frances (mixing grey + yellow)
(starts new color) I did grey and red. I made dark pink! - Frances
I make light blue! I did that color and that color. - Luke (mixing grey +blue)
Tone is a tricky concept!
After exploring the properties of grey and how it alters existing colors, we discovered that grey has the ability to both lighten and darken the existing hue.
Throughout the mixing process, it was observed that if you can still see visible "swirls" of paint in your mixing lid, then the colors are not yet fully mixed and they will continue to change if fully blended together.
While mixing his own palette, Wilder made a very interesting observation that we would like to share.
You need one color to swallow up the other color. - Wilder
Some children really enjoyed observing their friends mixing process.
Daniel was so impressed with Saul's color creations, that he asked if he could borrow them for his own painting.
I really love that color. Can I use it? - Daniel to Saul
They then decided to incorporate each other's newly mixing colors into paintings.
Cape spent a lot of time quietly observing Hugh's mixing process.
He mirrored Hugh's techniques so closely that in the end, their color palettes were almost identical!
This process took place completely in silence. Cape observed Hugh from across the table and as Hugh would add a new color to his lid, Cape would follow and do the same in his own mixing lid.
After a while of this mirroring technique taking place, Sam noticed what was happening and asked Cape how he was able to create the same colors as Hugh.
I used a pinch of white and a pinch of blue and a pinch of grey. - Hugh
(Hugh compares his "color mixing recipe" with Cape after noticing that Cape had created a very similar color)
I made the same color. I just looked at it... at his color and it made the same.
I didn’t even know the directions and I just made it. - Cape
(describing in his own works how he observed Hugh’s mixing process to create colors on his own that were almost identical to what Hugh had created)
Here are some of the "final" color palettes created by the children which they then used to paint with after the initial mixing exploration.
One of the last steps of our mixing exploration was to add our new color creations to the color chart that we started in the classroom.
The chart has a few different intentions, including the following:
You can see what kind of colors the person made. - Wilder
And pink and red are in the same family. -Bea
Yeah, red and pink are in the same family. - Frannie
And you can make as many colors as you want! - Bea
Because we aren't always able to save the colors we creating through these types of explorations, the chart provides a space to "save" and remember your color.
The chart is also a tool we can use as a visual aide to observe differences in tint, shade, and tone in different color "families".
Finally, the chart helps us keep track of just how many distinguishably different colors we are able to eventually create!