Create Beautifully Colored Art
How should you color your character? You can start by just throwing a bunch of colors together and seeing what comes out of the experiment. This can be very fun and you’ll be surprised at what colors you can sometimes put together. But there are times when your picture just doesn’t seem to work and when the colors won’t just don’t look right. There are different techniques that artists can use to create various beautiful effects.
Color and lighting have a powerful effect on the mood of the image. The image can be made very soft and nature-like by using plenty of desaturated and earth colors. Colors can also be enhanced by combining them with opposite types. Bright colors seem even more bright when set against non-bright colors.
Some pictures look much more beautiful than the others not because of the lines, content or color but instead the arrangement of colors. Skilled artists don’t choose colors willy nilly but instead use a color wheel of complimentary colors. Red compliments green. Orange compliments purple. Orange compliments blue. For instance, green works well with red because green is a saturated color, while red is a very bright color. Use the right combination of colors and you will even be able to emphasize specific parts of the picture.
So what should you do when picking colors? You can start with one of three different strategies. You can try using colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. You can move along the wheel, adding different shades whenever you get to different parts of the character. Or, you could use colors that have opposite shades throughout the picture in order to create strong contrast. This can be done by picking two colors that are similar, setting them side-by-side (such as on a strand of hair) and then choosing some more radically different colors. Finally, you can choose to use only muted colors that create a very natural look.
Saturation can also be used in order to avoid overwhelming your viewers with color. This is difficult to describe without images, but images with fully saturated colors can become more difficult to make sense of than images that selectively saturate colors. For instance, if the main focus of an image is the sun, do not fill the sky with a whole bunch of intensely bright colors or else the picture will be far too overwhelming. Pick a dominant color and saturate it as much as you can.
When the element of light is added, colors can become more complex. Light sources create warm colors, which must then be contrasted with cool colors. Cool colors include blue, green and purple while warm are yellow, orange and red. These can be pitted against each other in order to create beautiful contrast.
Of course, these are all rules of thumb. Experiment with these techniques, but remember that they are not set in stone. If the image you are creating needs a certain combination of colors for some reason, throw them in and note the effects. The image might still look great.