New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Foundations of Color
Illustration by John Hersey
Watching:

Concepts made clear


From:

Foundations of Color

with Mary Jane Begin

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.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
Foundations of Color
1h 57m Beginner Aug 20, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Color is a fundamental element of our lives. Understanding how to use it for visual communication in a variety of contexts is essential for designers and artists. This course is about learning how to use color, not only to create more effective designs, but also to tell a story. Illustrator, professor, and author Mary Jane Begin explains how color intertwines with brand identity, how it affects the mood of a piece and directs the viewer's attention to areas of interest, and how it can connect images or create space between elements. She removes the mystery surrounding the color wheel and color relationships; shows how to layer, mix, and digitally alter color; and use light to integrate temperature, translucency, and contrast.

These lessons are applicable to a number of fields, including graphic design, photography, and illustration, and both traditional and digital media. Dive in and get a fresh look at color that is sure to revitalize your creativity and your work.

Topics include:
  • Understanding why color is essential for you as an artist, designer, or human being
  • Storytelling with color
  • Understanding brand identity and color language
  • Reviewing the history of color usage, from print to digital
  • Working with the color wheel
  • Understanding value, saturation, and temperature
  • Seeing through color: opaque, translucent, and transparent
  • Creating contrast
  • Exploring depth of field
  • Seeing complementary relationships in light
  • Achieving harmony and discord in a palette
  • Understanding color blindness
Subjects:
Design Color Design Skills
Author:
Mary Jane Begin

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.

There are currently no FAQs about Foundations of Color.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Color.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.