Learn why color is important.
- Because color fills our world and we make color choices all the time, many underestimate how difficult it can be to use well. The good news is there is a science to color. Many people have dedicated themselves to mapping out how various color combinations work, as well as creating systems and tools that explain why and how. One such tool is the color wheel. Complementary colors, which are those across from each other on the color wheel, are a good example of why you need to understand color in order to use it successfully.
When you place complementary colors next to one another at full strength, they may appear to vibrate or seem jarring to the eye. Because of this, they're tricky to use in large doses but can work really well when you want something to stand out or create tension. So if you're new to the science of color, be sure to start with our Graphic Design Foundations Color Course. Illustrator and RISD professor Mary Jane Begin walks members through the color wheel and elements of color such as saturation and value.
She also explains how light affects color, how to build harmonious palettes, and more. This overview will give you a strong foundation for using color in all kinds of projects, from complex illustrations to monochromatic works. If you're working digitally, I'd suggest Jim Krause's course, Color for Design and Art. Photoshop and Illustrator have powerful color engines, and knowing how to get the most out of them will not only speed up your process, but it will help you choose and apply color in an effective manner.
There are even some artists that scan their analog work into Photoshop to test colors before applying them with paint or other traditional materials. This is a great way to get the best results, if you're unsure of a color. For more information on working with color in Photoshop, check out Nigel French's course, Photoshop for Designers: Color. The other critically important thing to keep in mind when working digitally is calibrating your monitor.
The color you'd see on the screen may not be the actual color, the color you will get when your work is printed or exported to another environment. Be sure to watch Learning Color Management for more information. This way, you won't have an unhappy surprise after you've invested time in a digital piece. And speaking of digital color, there is a very cool app by Adobe called Color. This allows you to point your mobile device camera lens at anything and capture the colors within the frame.
You can then upload them to the Adobe library and use them in your work. To get the most out of this powerful little app, see our course, Adobe Essential Color Training. Color is fundamental to every work. So make it a priority to educate yourself on the science behind it all and the technologies that will help you achieve what you imagine. It will make a world of difference in everything you create.
Kristin Ellison—the content manager of art and illustration at LinkedIn Learning—kicks off the course by walking through the core elements of the creative process: drawing, composition, and color. Next, she highlights the specific skills and software you'll need to successfully launch a career in 2D illustration, 3D illustration, and fine art. To wrap up, Kristin covers the business of art and illustration, sharing how to promote, present, and get paid for your work. Throughout the course, Kristin mentions additional courses you can reference to get an in-depth look at specific tools and skills.
- Learning about the core elements of the creative process
- Understanding the power of composition
- Understanding color
- Pursuing careers in 2D illustration, 3D illustration, and fine art
- Promoting and presenting your work
- Getting paid for your work