Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Bump Up Your Color

Tue Dec 10, 2013, 7:36 PM by Xadrea:iconxadrea:


Working with color can be difficult no matter what medium you choose, but it can be especially daunting for traditional artists. Learning how to mix your own colors is equally as important as learning how to apply them to your work.


1. No matter what your art teacher says, YOU CAN use black and white


You've all probably heard that at one point: don't use black, black is bad (or white is bad). There is nothing inherently badabout using either color. The real caution should be in not using them exclusively in lightening or darkening a color. Both colors are very strong and can overwhelm the saturation of whatever they are mixed with. Rather than omit black and white from your palette, explore the range they can have when mixed with other colors.

2. Don't buy "flesh colored" pigments


You know that peachy tinted stuff? Don't use it. Pre-mixed pigments with white in them tend to be very chalky and unnatural looking, plus, it limits your palette with deceptive convenience. If you do have to use flesh pigments, make sure to only use them as an additive to color that you mixed yourself.

3. Be economical with what you already have


There's no way to beat around this bush: art supplies are expensive, especially pigments. Most of us don't have the luxury to continually supplement our art caches with pigments regularly, so what I like to do is experiment with color mixing with what I already own. You can get a delightful array of colors from just a warm and a cool color mixed together at different increments. Always write down your "color recipes" so that you can replicate them later on!  

4. Don't shy away from neutrals


Neutral, earthy tones get a bad rap for being "muddy" or dull, but I think they can be exciting! Brown is not simply red and green, nor is grey only black and white. What if you tossed some canary yellow in there? A hint of cerulean or crimson?

5. Crank up the intensity of your darks


As I mentioned before, black is a standard "dark" but it is a very strong color and can read very flat and graphic when that was not your intention. If I don't feel like mixing a "black," I simply add a strong warm (like cadmium red) or a strong cool (like cobalt blue) to it to give it more vibrance. Other ways to create intense darks without using black are the following combinations: veridian and crimson, pthalo and burnt sienna, peyerelene violet and crimson, cobalt and almost any color (if you've ever used cobalt you know how intense this color is).

Last but not least...experiment, experiment, experiment!


The best way to work out new color combinations is to try them out! Spread out a sheet of white paper or board and mix up concoction after concoction. Even if you only have three colors you can create a complete separate palette! As I mentioned before always write down your combinations for easy future reference!

Happy Making! :heart:Xadrea



Add a Comment:
 
:icon8bitbrainstudios:
8bitbrainstudios Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
useful :)
Reply
:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I would like to expand upon point 4 - I would say that a few neutrals are very useful, almost essential, to a full palette. Not only does it allow you to better capture a full range, it keeps the work from turning into this awful mess made exclusively with strongly saturated colours. 

I would also like to agree with and expand upon point 2, not only are 'flesh tones' usually terrible, making your own flesh tones helps expand on your colouring abilities rather than relying on premixed paints. 
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconrebeccannoying:
Rebeccannoying Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I cheat and use burnt sienna as a base for skin tones. Otherwise, I mix all my browns/neutrals unless I need a bunch of one and consistency is important. I will admit though that it's really nice to get a set of pre-mixed paints (Liquitex offers a set of 48 of their Basics line for under $30) to add that tiny dash of color somewhere without having to fiddle too much with mixing. 

In other news, thank you guys so much for posting these journals :heart:. They're quick, easy to read, and always good advice. 
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That's not cheating, burnt sienna is a nice base tone for skin :) And you're welcome! Glad to contribute!
Reply
:iconyuukipink:
yuukipink Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Wanna mix the perfect light skin tone? Take orange add white and add just the tiniest amount of blue. Works every time. Avoid adding purple. Found this out early on hahaha
Reply
:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wouldn't say to avoid purple, its use is situational for lighter skin tones. Purple can be used for certain areas (ie veined areas, under the eyes, bruises, etc) to achieve more realism. 
Reply
:iconrad-puppeteer:
Rad-Puppeteer Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Eh? Oh...

 

I was wondering if this applied to digital painting, then realized I completely missed  the 'traditional week' up top....

 

Interesting tips. I'm not that good at traditional painting however but I heard that doing it is one way to get better at digital painting because you get to practice mixing different types of colors as well as getting a better understanding of the lighting and shadows.

Reply
:iconrebeccannoying:
Rebeccannoying Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Actually, all this advice applies to digital work as well except for the individual pigment names :) I learned color mixing with paints and for some reason I think that'd be easier than learning it digital, but I couldn't tell you why :shrug:
Reply
:iconrad-puppeteer:
Rad-Puppeteer Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh I see!

As for learning colors better traditionally, I guess you sort of get hands of practice when actually mixing the colors? Then you can apply the skill for digital painting? One of my instructors said that's how they got better at digital painting.

I know that I normally use digital means for painting and not knowing the proper way to mix colors hinders me in trying to guess what range of colors I can use that makes sense. I need to work on traditional paints more.
Reply
:iconrebeccannoying:
Rebeccannoying Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Yeah, for some reason mixing paints by hand just feels more intuitive to me. It's not the only way to learn color theory, but when you start with three colors of paint you really end up learning how to mix what you want :D
Reply
:iconrad-puppeteer:
Rad-Puppeteer Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Makes sense. When I took my color theory class almost three years ago, we were only allowed to use cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white and then mixed all the colors we needed. I think I got a little better at painting because of that.
Reply
:iconrebeccannoying:
Rebeccannoying Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I know mixing my own colors was really helpful for me as well :)
Reply
:iconbronzewinged:
Bronzewinged Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist
Have you ever been stuck with a palette with only warm or cold colours? 
I've a primary colour cold palette of acrylics right now. That is propably a case of "buy more colours". 
Reply
:iconyuukipink:
yuukipink Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
When i painted traditionally I only had white, black, blue, red yellow, and green paint usually.
Rarley I would buy like the special paints that were gold or neon or something ridiculously fun so I know the temptation to buy more colors. haha. Kinda glad I'm all digital now for that reason. I think being limited to a certain palette might actually have some cool effects though. :3
Reply
:iconbronzewinged:
Bronzewinged Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist
Red, yellow, blue, white and black should be enough for everything. Until you realise that you need two of each due to a red being either warm or cold as is all the other colours (except white or black). 
Gold, silver, bronze and pearly colours could be fun as effects and are as far as I know very hard to both photograph and make digitally. 

I'm doing well with my cold palette at the moment. ^_^
Reply
:iconprinceesther:
PrinceEsther Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
ikr. i was the same. i had a nightmare mixing colours cause i could not get the shade i wanted. and end up with colours 1 shade lighter or darker then i expected, a whole palate of it
Reply
:iconfreakiegeekie:
FreakieGeekie Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's more fun to mix colors. It's like being a mad scientist :evillaugh:
Reply
:iconcloduy:
cloduy Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:rofl:
Reply
:iconwerewolfferret96:
Werewolfferret96 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
I never heard about teachers saying black/white is bad...she said don't use it too much,because they neutralize color...
Reply
:iconprinceesther:
PrinceEsther Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
i did a black and white painting for my major art exam and my teacher say i was lazy to use colours T.T well~ each person have their own taste
Reply
:iconwerewolfferret96:
Werewolfferret96 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013
:noes: Why is that lazy? 
Reply
:iconprinceesther:
PrinceEsther Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
no idea. :3 i was always the only one who like to do black and white drawings or painting. as compared to coloured i would say black and white would be harder. there not much margin for error. its either you can do it or u cant
Reply
:iconwerewolfferret96:
Werewolfferret96 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
I think that's the beauty of black and white.
Reply
:iconprinceesther:
PrinceEsther Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
and i suck at mixing colour <3 i love my paints. only black and white <3 and err grey and all those dark colour. <3
Reply
:iconwerewolfferret96:
Werewolfferret96 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013
Mixing color is haaard...It's like when you put something wrong,it'll come out horrible.
Reply
:iconkukaruz:
Kukaruz Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, That's a really useful one :)
Thanks a lot~
Reply
:iconcaptaintigglesworth:
CaptainTigglesworth Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yesssss yes yes yes!
Reply
:iconamabilisdg:
AmabilisDG Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013
Thanks for writing this journal :)
Reply
:iconjane-beata:
jane-beata Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Very helpful and interesting points :heart:

:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconartbycher:
ArtByCher Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013   Traditional Artist
Great tips! Couldn't agree more on the flesh colored paints. I bought a tube years ago. Used it once and that was it. I like to think of us painters as 'mad scientists' you can create some great custom colors by mixing what you already own.  :)
Reply
:iconastralseed:
Astralseed Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Great tips!
Reply
:iconlightbleueyes:
lightbleueyes Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for the tips! :) :thumbsup: 
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconprojecteducate: More from projecteducate


Featured in Collections

Journals by WannieWirny

Support by xxxbluewolf

Written Stuff by remanlongtail


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
December 10, 2013
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
4,300 (1 today)
Favourites
114 (who?)
Comments
33
×