Color Theory Practice With Rosco Scenic Sets

Meet Tessa Broyles – she’s a scenic artist based in New York City and one of our new Rosco Ambassadors! Her experience includes props work at Santa Fe Opera, and various freelance scenic paint jobs around the city – with one of her favorites being at The Juilliard School of Drama. Tessa is probably best known, however, for her popular YouTube Channel: Behind The Scenics. Watching Tessa’s scenic art videos is an excellent way to learn a variety of painting techniques for creating theatrical scenery. Her latest post, for example, explores paint mixing and color theory. Tessa uses the primary hues in our new Rosco Scenic Sets to explain the science so that you can practice color theory in your shop or at home.

In the video, Tessa uses the Off Broadway Scenic Paints inside our Scenic Sets to explain basic principles of color theory, and how to use those principles when mixing paint colors. The video specifically features paints from our three Primary Scenic Sets that feature warm, cool, and intense primary colors for paint mixing.

Color Theory Practice


Color Bias/Temperature

When it comes to working with red, blue, and yellow primary paint colors, it’s important to remember that they are not all created equal. Tessa explains how each of these primary colors can have a warm and cool bias. She then uses paints from the Cool Primaries Scenic Set and the Warm Primaries Scenic Set to explain how and why this color temperature bias can affect the results of your mixed colors.

Color Theory Practice

“Knowing about color bias will be helpful,” explains Tessa, “because it will save you time and paint. Often in theatre, we are already creating very muddy colors. So, if I want to create a muddy orange, I can just start with a cool red and a cool yellow – instead of using a warm red and a warm yellow and then adding a third color to muddy it down.”



Color Theory Practice

Tessa also demonstrates how the paints in our Intense Primaries Scenic Set can be used to mix colors in the CMY color space. In the video, she shows how mixing cyan, magenta, and yellow will yield brighter colors. She also discusses how mixing with CMY might help painters meet designers’ expectations better. In the video, Tessa notes how most designs are computer-generated, and then printed out with CMYK printers and inks. Because of this, designers are expecting the same vibrancy, which can only be achieved by CMY mixing. A designer might be disappointed by the color you’ve mixed with RYB paints because it's not as vibrant as what they had expected. That’s because those expectations were set by the CMYK colors of the designer’s printer.

Tessa’s Color Theory & Paint Mixing – Scenic Art video is an excellent introduction to basic color theory for scenic artists. If you’d like to practice your color mixing technique using the same paints that Tessa used in the video, please visit our website:

This video is a fine example of the type of content you’ll find on Tessa Broyle’s Behind The Scenics channel. Her videos show how to create popular scenic treatments like faux wood and marble, trompe l'oeil, and crackle effects. They’re excellent resources for anyone looking for scenic painting advice, or for theatre instructors who need to teach scenic art to their students.

Fun Fact!

Not only is Tessa Broyles a Rosco Ambassador, but she has also just joined the board of the Guild of Scenic Artists as their Social Media Manager. Be sure to follow her work there, and on her @behindthescenics Instagram account. We’re thrilled to have Tessa on board as a Rosco Ambassador, and we look forward to working with her on a variety of projects in the future.


Joel Svendsen November 10, 2020 Questions?

About Joel Svendsen

Marketing Director: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. Joel's knowledge about Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our different marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.