Although there is a more scientifically based definition for analogous colors and the analogous color plan than I am offering here, the following definition and information should suffice for the purpose of selecting analogous colors to make beautiful quilts, fabric art, and other designs.
Analogous colors are those colors that are closely related to each other on the color wheel. Looking at the color wheel, you can see how the colors lying close to each other appear related and look beautiful together. When you work with colors that are closely related, you are working analogously—-in an analogous color plan. Nature uses this plan often in her own colorations. Its beauty lies in its sense of harmony created by the close relationships of the colors. For this presentation I have used one section of the color wheel, but you can use any analogous colors that you like for your own quilts or other designs.
Here are a few guidelines to consider when using an analogous color plan:
1. If you want to use a small color range, use a minimum of three colors. Your design will be better balanced using three colors rather than two or four, because your eyes have a place to rest with an uneven number of colors. Most often you see analogous colors shown in art books in a combination of three colors. This works, but it is the most limiting of all the analogous options. Consequently, its beauty is not as great as when a wider color range is used. Below is an example of a three-color analogous range: chartreuse, yellow-green, and spring green.