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expanding your color knowledge

Posted by nick baxter from IP: 66.90.145.141 on 04/17/12
austin, tx - website


hello all, firstly, i havent even been on my own website's forum in FOREVER, and that kinda sucks, so my apologies on the one hand. however, on the other hand, i've simply been busy doing lots of other engaging and inspired things so internet chatter has been taking a very distant back seat to real life goals and adventures, which is always positive.

secondly, i just received an email from an artist with a great question about color theory, which i feel could be helpful to a lot of people, so im posting it here:

Q: I've noticed that in everything, that there are certain color combinations everywhere that don't fit snugly into a primary or secondary color, my question is, how do you discern what that color actually IS to reproduce it?

A: That's an interesting question regarding the color matching. I think what you're talking about are tertiary colors, tints and shades? I think this is just a matter of expanding your color theory mastery to include a wider and wider array of subtle "off" colors, like, blue + a tiny bit of red + a bit of white + a tiny amount of yellow, then maybe add a bit of black to that, to finally arrive at your desired color.

but when you have a color that already exists and you need to match it, you need to figure out which color family it's in first of all, and that will almost always determine the majority of the color that goes into it. for example a subtle color that gives off the impression of coolness probably is based in the blue family and then altered through a recipe consisting of a lot of other minor ingredients.

So after determining the color family it belongs to, the next step is refining your knowledge of all the minor ingredients to add, based on experience. But I would definitely look into getting really experienced with browns, ochres, and greys. The brown to ochre spectrum is the combo of all colors in the color wheel in varying amounts, and grey means moving colors in the direction of grey by adding white and black (or mixing white and black, then adding that to color).

I think getting experienced in those few specialty areas will help open up a new dimension of color theory for you, to start to deal with those really tricky "off-colors".



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