Shade – Created by adding black to a colour
Different variations of a shade of colour are created by adding varying amounts of black to a colour.
To remember what shades are, recall this mnemonic:
The only shades or sunglasses they wore were black.
SHADE = ADD BLACK
The use of black to create shades is essential in painting for capturing colour in a realist or impressionist way. In his painting Wheatfield with Crows, van Gogh uses black to create the darker shades in the sky. You can see with his separate brushstrokes that black has been added to the cobalt blue mid-tone to create shades at the top of the sky as well as the white added to make tints.
Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, 1890
Some artists create charts of their key colours to see how their tube paints will mix with black, and use these as a permanent reference.
For example, a shade chart based on a cobalt blue paint from the tube would appear like this: