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November 26, 2012
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Picking Colors

:iconstarcandy12:
starcandy12 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How do you choose the colors to use in paintings to make the images vivid or give them more pop? I've read somewhere that using only monochromatic colors can make the image flat, and that you should use different colors that you normally wouldn't think of to make the coloring more dynamic, but how do you do that when painting something like portraits? Wouldn't it stand out too much if you add blue or green or some other unusual color to a peach-skinned person's portrait?

Do you chose certain color palettes for certain people, and if so, how did you know to use those colors?

An example where I tried to do more vivid shading is here [link] . This is an anthro piece but I have the same problems with humans.
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Devious Comments

:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
It starts with simple colour theory and the colour wheel. (ie primary colours, secondary colours and tertiary colours)

When mixing paints irl you usually add the darker colour to the lighter colour (such as blue into yellow) and do it in teeny bits til the colour is perfect. Learning to mix traditionally can really help digitally.

Also studying colour schemes such as triads and cold colours, warm colours etc rather than just picking a red, pick a cold red or a warm red depending on your purposes.

Mostly though.. look at art you love from all genres and see how they do it. I remember being shocked to discovered that art I thought was in 'full colour' was actually only in shades of red and yellow or green and purple.
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:iconstarcandy12:
starcandy12 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I didn't know you could mix colors that way for some reason. I originally thought the only way to get different colors was adding more or less water to the brush (my paints are watercolor), and even after that, I'd only heard of mixing white and black into different colors, but never other colors. I seem to have a lot of misconceptions to deal with... Thank you for your advice!
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Much as I love digital art, it has a lot to answer for with the fact you can just point and voila colour.

If anything you should never mix in white or black to get a lighter or darker colour unless utterly necessary.

Blue and Yellow mix to Green
Yellow and Red mix to Orange
Blue and Red mix to Purple
And if you mix Red to Green you get a deep grey colour, so if you want to darken off a red you can actually add a green to dull it down. Same with Blue and Orange or Yellow and Purple...

I would totally recommend learning some colour theory and colour mixing no matter what kind of art you do...
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:iconblack-allison:
Black-Allison Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
A good way to learn colour theory is get real life paints. Like get what the store owner will tell you is a good starter kit, it will probably be a tube of only 5-8 colours. Mixing colours is really hard, but colour is something you learn easier in real life.
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:iconstarcandy12:
starcandy12 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have some real life paints that I've used before but I really don't know how to use them. I can't figure out how to get the colors I want without either wasting a lot of paint or using so little pigment that the image comes out too light. But the few times I did use real life paints I learned a little. Do they have tutorials for learning how to paint in general?
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:iconbongoskillz:
BongoSkillz Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Student Digital Artist
When working on portrait it would probably be beneficial to emphasize the colors of the eyes. After all...they are the windows to the soul ;) I think a lot of it depends on how vivid you want the eyes to come off. I know that sometimes my pictures, or at least the way I imagine them in my head,are based off of the hair and the eyes. The clothing and backgrounds only exist to compliment them. But there are tons of ways to do it and It's all about what works for you ;)
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:iconstarcandy12:
starcandy12 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the advice. I'll try to make the eye color stand out more next time. Do you have any suggestions on how to do this?
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:iconbongoskillz:
BongoSkillz Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I'd check out [link] 's gallery! She has an amazing sense of color in my opinion. Find some pictures where you can see how the eyes determine the theme of the colors in the picture.


[link] : in this one, their outfits are themed around their individual eyecolors.

[link] : but in this picture, the eyes really really pop because of 1: Their unnatural color, and 2: they don't really blend with anything else in the picture. they pop

[link] : This one has the entire theme off of the picture based off either the eyes or the background.

Just play around with it, I guess is my best advice. I've always struggled with color myself, but looking at other artists and learning from them is super helpful!
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:iconstarcandy12:
starcandy12 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much for your suggestion. I've never seen this artist before, but I see what you mean and agree with you totally. I'll go through her gallery and see what I can learn. Thank you for your help!
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:iconbongoskillz:
BongoSkillz Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
No Problemo! :D Good Luck! :D
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