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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.
Color is not always a flat, perfectly consistent tone. It can have bumps and particles if it's a patch of color or uneven if it's a wash. It can be a part of Photoshop in a category of filters and textures and graphically, color can be applied in layers of shapes large and small. Like people, texture and variation makes marks of color interesting. Let's look at the variations of textural color from wet media, acryllic paint with multiple layers of opaque and transparent color. Quash, using strings of color, water color, applying kosher salt, for less controlled application.
Or oils using the physical thickness of the paint for textural variation. Now let's review some textural color in dry media. Pastel sticks and pencils using the grain of the pastel stick against the paper. Colored pencils let's the colors weave with a variety of textures that a pencil can make. And ink pens, when the ink is wet there's very little blending as a wet medium. Pen application of textual color is typically driven by mark making.
If we shift to digital and look at a single image in Photo Shop, we can play with a multitude of textures to brush filters either for the overall piece, or in specific areas. The text replication changes the look of the color, even when the palette remains the same. Another interesting translation of texture happens when an image moves to a physical surface that actually has texture, like a towel, a rug, or a mug. Graphic texture is probably the most interesting to consider, because our eyes see the various marks as a whole tone.
And interpret the texture of marks as a single entity. George Surot played with color in this way, tricking our eye, to believe dots laid next to each other, became a texture read as a continuous tone or color And this image by Winsor McCay from little Nemo in slumberland. The scene in a much cleaner, more graphic presentation. Texture can be achieved by elements of topography coming together in shapes either as a part of a designs or illustration.
One of the most exciting applications of graphic texture exists in Carl Jung's Red Book. The imagery explores a subconscious and the graphic patters, dots, dashes, and textures give stunning voice to this room. This textural exploration of color is so important to the expression being in this work. Texture, like value, vibrancy, transparency, and temperature, add another dimension to the way that color can be applied to elicit meaning and play with relationships of contrast. Every time we make a mark of the hand, we create a texture, whether smooth or rough, with dots of dashes.
Mark making is a part of the language of art, image making, and design. So go ahead, make your mark on the world.
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