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[Enrichment] Color Theory

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
edited February 2015 in Art Assignments and Resources
Color Theory
>>Enrichment Directory<<


Last April we did Color studies, where you use your magical powers of observation. This year I encourage you to do a few color studies, while also seeking out some information about color theory.

Color can vary from person to person, and in the digital realm it varies from monitor to monitor. Color has a bunch or rules that get broken so often that its hard to keep a grip on them. There are a ton of opinions out there about how it should work, what looks good and what doesn't, and how to approach choosing pallets. Whats important is to try and focus on resources that will give you the basic skills for increasing your ability to observe color.

Proko does a good job of breaking down what the terms mean here:

Unfortunately Proko has yet to make a video purely focused on color theory But there are some books on the topic. I think that one of the most relevant is this one:

The least opinionated advice you can get about color is going to be geared towards realism. Just like with any phase of drawing, striving to replicate reality will generally propel you forward very quickly. You want to start seeing those relationships with your own eyes, and then understand how/where/why artists exaggerate those relationships to make art.


-Color Studies
Advice on doing these, from AoB:
For these exercises, try to keep your rendering simple and broad, without going into much detail. Try not to spend more than a few minutes on your rough sketch, and instead try to work exclusively with color. I would suggest working more with opaque blocks of color to encourage you to be bold and decisive with your color decisions, rather than trying to "sneak up" on a color by using transparency, airbrushes, excessive blending, or Photoshop blend modes.

Remember- use color to capture the mood and the light, not the details!

Study from photos, life, master paintings, whatever.

-Palette Swaps

Set up your character so you can try different color schemes on them. Work on using Photoshop to your advantage when it comes to choosing and adjusting colors.

-Palette extraction

Find an image you like, study it, take out the colors, and use it to mock up a new image.

-Make Color Wheels

If you are a painter with real paint, making color wheels is a thing you should do. Learn what your paints do when you mix them together!

Links And junk

That Dota PDF:

Iruka on


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2014
    About Monthly Enrichment:
    Enrichment activities aim to encourage you to tackle a small but useful assignment every month. They are either multifaceted, or loosely defined, giving you the option to mold it to help you reach previously held aspirations. They will mostly be assignments that you can fulfill in whatever media, and commit whatever time you feel benefits you.

    What Do I Gain From Participating?
    If I'm at all qualified, I will try to provide crits and support to the people who participate. I hope that people in the thread also engage in a little more cross talk when they are working on the same assignment. I will do my best to not let anyone's work go un-commented upon. I will also try and load the OP with resources for everyone to draw from on the topic at hand.

    May I post an old work if it fits into the topic?
    You may post work that you are currently working on, or plan to revisit during the month. Don't post old work if you have no intention of touching it. If I spend time commenting on year old work and then you never do anything to it within the activity, I will shun you.

    May I post inspiration and links even if I'm not going to really participate?
    So long as this aspect doesn't get in the way of people posting work for actual crits, this is a great place to just throw up some art that is related to the topic and you think its helpful. Link the source, and spoiler images so they don't detract from people working on assignments.

    May I suggest a topic?
    Sure! If a bunch of people have something they want to work on, I'm happy to make that the next assignment. Just try and keep it something that all artists can do (like color studies) and not something that requires materials that are inaccessible to a large percentage of members (like ceramics, or metalwork) If there is something that members would like to do and it has a fairly low material buy in, like sculpey maquettes, I'm cool with that too.

    I will pretty much rotate these out monthly without exception. Perhaps if there is a popular one I will let it run for two months. [/spoiler]

    Previous Threads:

    FEB-Simple Shapes
    MAR-Show Your Work
    APR-Color Studies
    May-Hands and Feet
    JUN-Still Life
    JUL-Character Construction
    AUG- (off month)
    SEP- Perspective and Environments
    OCT- Thumbnails and Silhouettes
    NOV - NatCoWriMo
    DEC - Secret Santa.

    JAN- Resolution
    FEB/MAR- Anatomy
    APR-Color Theory
    MAY- ??????
    Jun- Finding Inspiration

    Iruka on
  • SpaceMooseSpaceMoose Registered User regular
    Posting something in here from my thread, hoping to get more advice. Been doing lots of gesture drawing last month and saw this enrichment as a chance to pick up the watercolor set and try my hand at coloring some short gestures.


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