I have been thinking about colors a lot lately. I tend to use colors instinctively, on the fly, using either those that are closest to the actual colors of the subject or colors that I like - bright yellows, magenta and cerulean blue. This strategy often ends up being a hit and miss...more miss than hit that is, with me ending up agonizing over it while I paint and then after I paint.
So I thought I'd make my life easier and give it some serious thought before I even touch the paint. Personally, this takes a lot of self-control on my part, as it is always sooo tempting to take the brush and start painting once the sketch is done. Go with the flow. That's how I like it. I love watching how the plain sketches come to life when I add the colors in. It is one of the best parts of painting! That is before I choose one "unsuitable" color and end up ruining the entire watercolor painting.
I guess it's easier to correct color mistakes nowadays with Photoshop or other digital software but its not the same. I still know I made a mistake and the original painting shows it.
Looking at the works of established illustrators, I realized I should be giving my choice of colors some serious thought. It is one of those things that significantly define an artist's work, I believe. Some of my favorite illustrators even limit most or even all of their works within a specific range of colors. While I'm far from defining myself to a specific color palette, I should at least begin to study how to make harmonious color combinations.
To help me with this, I bought myself a pocket color wheel chart.These are what I know about color wheels so far:
- It helps me figure out what colors to mix to produce the colors I want.
- To make a shadow color of a main color, I need to mix the complimentary of that color and it is easier to
figure out by looking at the opposite of that color in the color wheel.
- To make a lighter color of the main color, I need to mix the lighter color beside the main color plus white.
I found watching these basic video tutorials quite helpful in understanding the fundamentals. Apparently, there are a whole lot of video tutorials out there that delve into this subject more thoroughly.
So for my first try, I'm sticking on variations of the primary colors. I must say, by just planning my colors beforehand, it makes my painting life a lot more enjoyable. As an extra study exercise, I'm looking at illustrations and then figuring what combinations they are in the color wheel. I learn new things every day.
|Hummingbird in Gouache|
|We met Mr. Crabby here on our recent vacation in Parksville, B.C. |
And I must say, we all had a great time chasing him around. :)
Bonjour, Mr. Crabby! (rendered in ink and digitally colored on smartphone)