Join Jim Krause for an in-depth discussion in this video Multi-hue color schemes, part of Color for Design and Art.
- Here is a simple, streamlined, and flexible way of coming up with good-looking and communicative color schemes. And I use it all the time, in condensed form, it looks like this. I start with a color that I love, and then I look for and add other colors that go well with my starter hue. Now, I know that was pretty fast right there so let me slow things down and expand on this process for you. And I'll fill you in on what makes this palette-building technique almost as simple as I just made it look.
So, like I said, my starter color is always a color that I really like and this means one of two things. First, if I'm working on a personal project it means just like what it sounds like it means. It means I start with a color that I really like you know for whatever reason and I call this color my starter color, or my seed color. But, if I'm working on a client's project and I say I love this color, it actually means something different, it means I found a color that I think will appeal to my client's target audience.
And yeah, personally I usually like these colors too but sometimes I have to set my personal preferences aside in favor of my target audience's tastes, it's just the way it goes. And once this seed color is established, whether for a personal or a professional project, I then start thinking in terms of color wheel palettes. You know, like Monochromatic, Analogous, Triadic, Complementary, or Split complementary. Here's an example.
Let's say I really like this dusty but still slightly electric yellow green and I want to use it as an accent color for this illustration. And here, I'll go ahead and apply this color to my painters brush, illustration's looking better already. So here we go. What if I built an analogous palette starting with my yellow-green. And as always when using the color wheel, I'm thinking in terms of dark, light, muted, and bright versions of each of the colors involved.
And I'll apply these colors to the illustration including a few darker shades just to help my illustration look dimensional. And notice how I've built my cast of colors in a way that keeps my seed color as the palette's starring element. Other colors are all significantly more muted or darker than my starter color. What the heck, I'm going to go ahead and add a couple more colors to this thing. Not because they're part of any analogous color scheme, but just because I like how they look. There's no rule against something like that.
So in a nutshell, that's what my favorite way of creating palettes looks like. By the way, if you're new to using a color wheel to help you build good-looking palettes in this way, download the Color Wheel Palettes.pdf that's included with this course. Print it out and post it somewhere handy.
Primarily aimed at designers and illustrators, the course leans heavily toward digital tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but concludes with some challenges using real-world media (inks and paints!), so members can get a solid understanding of mixing colors and what tools and combinations work best.
- Navigating the color wheel and color vocabulary
- Why a color's value is so important
- RGB vs. CMYK vs. spot
- Finding the perfect color
- Working with grays and browns
- Building a color palette
- Borrowing hues for palettes
- Establishing color hierarchies
- Fixing color problems
- Altering color in photos and illustrations
- Using texture with color
- Painting for learning and fun