Arte Es Vida

Color Theory For Art Journaling by arteesvida
November 26, 2006, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Book Reviews, Journaling, Mixed Media

What Is The Color Wheel?

The first color wheel was developed by Sir Issac Newton in 1666. While there are a variety of color wheels out there, the most common is based on the primary colors red, blue, and yellow. These three colors are called primaries because they are “pure”…they cannot be created by mixing other colors together. From these three colors, three more are created…the secondary colors are green, orange, and purple, and can be created by mixing the primary colors. The next split occurs at the tertiary level. By mixing again, we can create Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green. The typical color wheel, the ones you find for sale in an art store, typically show the tertiary color split.

Tints, Shades, And Tones:

You have probably heard the term color family before. If you have picked up a paint chip sample at a paint store you have seen a color family. Color families are created by taking a pure color and adapting it with neutral colors to create tints, shades, and tones. Adding black to a color creates a shade, the addition of white creates a tint, and adding gray creates a tone.

Color Schemes:

When you use color in an art journal, you are creating a color scheme. You are starting with a dominant color family, complimented by a secondary scheme. Other color combinations added past these first two are usually introduced in the form of accent colors.

Some people feel comfortable working intuitively choosing and blending primary and secondary color schemes, while others feel paralyzed and it prevents them from picking up a brush and having fun! If you are in the latter category, or just want more help feeling comfortable with color, the Paper Crafter’s Color Companion by Joen Wolfrom is the coolest tool I have ever seen! It looks like a fan book of color chips from one side, but when you flip it over, you see how all of the color families work together to create different color schemes. The fan book offers five different color scheme choices. The monchromatic lets you work within one color family, the complementary shows you the colors that lie on the opposite end of the color wheel. The triadic, shows you the two complimentary colors based on the two other equidistant colors (as if you split the color wheel into thirds), the analogous picks 1, 2, 3 neighboring colors, and the split-complentary mixes complentary and analogous color schemes.

Sounds like a ridiculous amount of work right? This pocket tool makes it sooooo easy though! You just pick your primary color, flip the card with that color over, and all your options are on the back…in easy to use color wheel format!

Laying Down Color:

That’s all well and good you say, but what about actually laying color down. Watercolor acts differntly from acrylics, which acts differently from colored pencil and they all have different names than they have on the color chart!

The easiest form to start with is watercolor. Because you can wash it on so lightly, it is easy to experiment with and can even be wiped off and painted over again before it dries! All different wet and dry color medium act in different ways, but the best part of art journaling is creating your self the space to experiment. I’ve read several books on color theory, and one of the most practical and useful ones for artists that I have seen is one that just came out. Powercolor: Master Color Concepts For All Media By Caroline Jasper, is a wonderful, un-scary book to work with! She dives into the history of color and color theory, looks at different artists and their uses of color, but most importantly rolls up her sleeves and delves into the pragmatics of the actual physical properties of working in color. She discusses different types of paints and pencils on the market, discusses mixing colors (and the slip-ups that create muddy browns) and even provides a chart (on page 83) of the tertiary color listsings and their corresponding paint names! To be honest, this was the first color theory book I read that didn’t make me feel like a complete idiot! I highly recommend it!

1 Comment so far
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Comment by unildassels

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