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  • Writer's pictureAngie Carel

Using the Color Wheel To Express Your Emotions

color wheel

Not only that, but new colors are still being created and discovered today. For example, in 2009, Oregon State University discovered a new shade of blue called YInMn Blue.

With all the gradients, shades, and ways to mix color together, it’s easy to understand how enjoyable it can be to use color when drawing. With all the possible color combinations, no 2 drawings are exactly alike.

Different colors also hold different symbolic representations that can bring a whole new meaning to your artwork. They can represent different traditions (like white weddings in the West, or wearing black to a funeral). Colors have even been assigned different emotional meanings to bring more interpretation to art.

But colors can also influence your emotions.

Take your warm colors for instance. Red - orange - yellow. Being surrounded by these colors can influence your feelings ranging from enthusiastic to aggressive.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is of course your cool colors. Blue - green - purple. These colors often evoke emotions such as calm, sadness, or strength.

Color holds a lot of therapeutic power that when used correctly can positively affect your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Nervous before an interview? Spend a few minutes drawing something in a soothing color to recenter your energy.

Feeling upset with no outlet? Spend a few minutes drawing something in a bold color to healthily release that energy.

To get the most out of the color wheel so you can express your emotion (or shift your mental state in a healthy way) let’s go through 10 colors, their assigned emotions, and different creative prompts for when you might need that color in your day.


Red is commonly associated with anger - making it a less popular paint choice for people re-decorating their homes. Being around the color red can make you feel more irritable, but is a great way to add depth to more dramatic drawings.

If you’re feeling angry and are looking for a good outlet - here are 3 red drawing prompts to release that anger in a healthy way:

  • Red character from Inside Out (Anger)

  • Red lightning storm

  • Angry half-eaten apple


Orange is considered an enthusiastic color. It’s bold like red, but unlike red, its lighter hue brings forth more feelings of excitement or optimism.

If you’re feeling down, or feeling really energetic and want to keep your momentum going - here are 3 orange drawing prompts to lift your spirits:

  • Poppies in a meadow

  • Orange firefly

  • Sunrise over your favorite landscape


Yellow is commonly associated with happiness. It’s not hard to understand why. The sun is bright and yellow and provides Vitamin D that’s central for good mood. But yellow can also represent anxiety due to the intensity in its gradients.

If you’d like a good mood-booster, focus on yellow shades that bring you joy - here are 3 yellow drawing prompts to increase your happiness:

  • Sunflowers facing the sun

  • Lemonade

  • Egg yolks bubbling


Green is an incredibly relaxing color, given its deep association with the natural outdoors. Trees, grasses, and plants that all provide oxygen and delightful smells make it easy to induce feelings of comfort and calm.

If you’re feeling nervous and want to quickly relieve the stress - here are 3 green drawing prompts to calm the nerves:

  • Lush rainforest

  • Emerald earrings

  • Seaweed under the sea


Blue is a popular decor color in businesses because of its relaxing shades. Different shades of blue can even evoke confidence and strength. In the English language, blue is also highly associated with sadness, or “feeling blue.”

If you’d like to channel your sadness in a healthy way, or bring forth your inner wisdom - here are 3 blue drawing prompts to consider:

  • Robin eggs nest

  • Piercing blue eyes

  • Blue flame


While purple is often associated with royalty, the emotions purple can evoke include mystery, nostalgia, and creativity. It’s not a coincidence that you see lots of purple hues on the Simple Daily Drawing site to help bring forth your creative side. ;)

If you’d like to foster your creativity, or feel like you’re in a creative dry spell - here are 3 purple drawing prompts to get your head flowing with ideas again:

  • Lavender field

  • Purple unicorn covered in violets

  • Grape juice waterfall


You might immediately think of pink as a “girl’s” color, or innately feminine, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that pink was “assigned” to girls. Pink is understood as the color of love. You see it everywhere on Valentine’s Day and it brings forth feelings of kindness and gentleness.

To get yourself in a loving mood - here are 3 pink drawing prompts to bring out your kind side:

  • Cherry blossom trees

  • A cat’s nose

  • Conch seashell


White is a common representation of purity, but this color can do more than just bring some hidden meaning to your drawings. White is known for inducing feelings of calm, concentration, and peacefulness. A great way to “draw in white” is to use black scratch paper or play with the negative space, creating your drawing using the white of your paper.

If you’d like to give yourself a challenge, and evoke some peaceful concentration while you’re at it - here are 3 white drawing prompts to get you there:

  • Dove

  • Pearl

  • Swan


Commonly associated with funerals, black is often used to portray grief, sadness, anger, or any spectrum of negative emotion. Being surrounded by the color black can also cause you to feel sadness or anger.

If you’ve been feeling sad, experiencing loss, or want to bring another layer of meaning to your drawings - here are 3 black drawing prompts to allow your body to process your emotion in a healthier way:

  • Roses tied with black ribbon

  • Black veil

  • Crow


Especially true for light gray shades, gray can help influence a balanced mental state. While gray can also be associated with negativity and sadness, when it’s combined with colors like white or blue accents, gray can be a very calming color. Its “balance” is inspired by the fact that gray is the balanced shade between white and black.

If you’re looking to ground yourself or inspire a more balanced approach to an upcoming event - here are 3 gray drawing prompts for you:

  • Koala bear on a gymnast beam

  • Storm clouds

  • Wolf howling at the moon

Whatever emotion you’d like to express, you can use the color wheel as a cathartic way to add layers of meaning to your drawings while also releasing emotion in healthy ways.

Feel like sharing your masterpieces from any of the color wheel prompts? Join our community today!

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