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Concepts made clear

From: Foundations of Color

Video: Concepts made clear

Creating an image starts with an idea. Often a small scribble on a piece of paper or a napkin or the back of your hand. If a few ideas were considered, one emerges as the best way to communicate what you're thinking. That idea is then refined and researched to make sure the drawing of the subject matter is understood both by the image maker and the viewer. When the idea takes shape, clear lines become important. As the image moves from your brain to the surface of something, the idea or concept begins to take shape.

Concepts made clear

Creating an image starts with an idea. Often a small scribble on a piece of paper or a napkin or the back of your hand. If a few ideas were considered, one emerges as the best way to communicate what you're thinking. That idea is then refined and researched to make sure the drawing of the subject matter is understood both by the image maker and the viewer. When the idea takes shape, clear lines become important. As the image moves from your brain to the surface of something, the idea or concept begins to take shape.

A concept is a general notion, idea, or mental construct. At some point, the bones of the image, the drawing or design, is finished. And a color is considered. What color should I use is a question that you might ask yourself. And you want to be able to answer confidently. It's true that some artists might develop the color as they're figuring out the idea, but often the architecture of the design comes first. When I was working on this image for the classic tale, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, I had to answer the question, what palette should I use, not only for this one drawing, but for all of the images created for the book.

I had to think about the story that the color would tell and be consistent about it throughout. I wanted the story to be set in Renaissance, so I looked at paintings from that time period and studied all the pallets. The story seemed to me to be about the intersection of magic and science and the beginning of a new ways of thinking. I wanted the light to be dramatic, so I chose images that would be best explored with specific light sources and dramatic angles to understand a value range that would work.

As the story is a cautionary tale for kids, I wanted the book to have a wide range of values, so my dark colors would be on the darkest end of the spectrum. For that reason I chose to use acrylics, because I knew that the color could be painted darker than watercolor alone. When considering the choices for important elements like the girl's cape, I had to try to think of a color that would be symbolic noticeable against the other colors and yet still work with the rest of the pallet. Red seemed the best choice as it represents in the west passion danger and excitement.

This is a girl poised on young womanhood. Wanting to discover everything. The red cape reminded me of Little Red Riding Hood who also had little regard to the consequences of her actions. I hope that the other viewers or in this case readers would also make that connection. I decided that the sorcerer's cloak, another color meant to be noticed as a point of focus, should be a purplish blue. Suggesting magic, royalty and night sky. His garment is blue-green, the color of the ocean and a peaceful tone meant to suggest that he is serene and even tempered mentor for the girl.

As I provided the retelling of the story, I envisioned him as a calm, wise mentor. A red cloak for him would have sent the wrong message. When thinking about linking the pages of the book by color I decided that the borders throughout the book would be the same color as the sorceror's cloak to provide a link from page to page and to remind us of the use of color that seemed to suggest magic. The gold elements are meant to pop off the color and provide a sense of shimmer like the stars in the sky.

The designer who worked on this book also pulled colors from my palette for topography and end papers and even my signature is created with gold pen. When exploring color choices, the palettes and colors you choose are important for communicating your ideas and expressions. Knowing there's a purpose behind the choices takes the guesswork out of deciding, what color should I use? And empowers your work with meaning.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Color
Foundations of Color

42 video lessons · 18631 viewers

Mary Jane Begin
Author

 
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  1. 5m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Traditional media to digital: The long and winding road of color
      3m 48s
    3. Exercise files
      22s
  2. 14m 40s
    1. Introduction: How color shapes meaning
      2m 23s
    2. Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color
      2m 52s
    3. Concepts made clear
      4m 1s
    4. Brand identity and language
      2m 53s
    5. Sequence and pattern
      2m 31s
  3. 14m 18s
    1. What is the color wheel?
      2m 20s
    2. Primary colors, primary concerns
      3m 59s
    3. Playing with complementary colors
      3m 40s
    4. Tertiary colors: The basics of brown and gray
      4m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. An overview of elements
      2m 48s
    2. Value is not a moral judgment
      2m 26s
    3. Saturation to neutralization
      3m 22s
    4. Temperature: How hot is hot?
      3m 12s
    5. Textures, marks, dashes, and dots
      2m 59s
    6. Seeing through color: Opaque, translucent, and transparent
      2m 33s
  5. 12m 25s
    1. What is contrast?
      3m 10s
    2. Creating focus: Living on the edge
      1m 15s
    3. Creating the readable image
      4m 6s
    4. Connecting contrast with content
      3m 54s
  6. 17m 29s
    1. Illuminating light
      1m 54s
    2. The effect of contrast in light
      1m 53s
    3. Value and saturation
      2m 27s
    4. On temperature
      2m 58s
    5. On complements
      2m 10s
    6. Secondary and reflected light
      3m 5s
    7. RGB vs. CMYK
      3m 2s
  7. 14m 24s
    1. An introduction to palettes
      2m 15s
    2. Limited palettes: A harmonious color palette
      2m 35s
    3. Harmony and discord
      2m 33s
    4. Unifying color grounds
      2m 40s
    5. Unifying glazes and layers
      2m 13s
    6. Charting a color family
      2m 8s
  8. 20m 25s
    1. Balance of shapes: How much is too much?
      3m 36s
    2. Weaving textural color
      2m 50s
    3. Color in context
      2m 31s
    4. Color blindness
      3m 15s
    5. Challenge: Deconstructing color
      1m 28s
    6. Solution: Demo of deconstructing color
      6m 45s
  9. 1m 3s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 3s

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