Monday, June 9, 2008

Color! Color!

This post is about my creation of a color "wheel". Above you see my swatches waiting to be cut and put into a wheel. (There are also value and intensity scales to come.) Note that I did not spend more than one click adjusting the colors from the photograph! If you want a wheel, make one, it will be educational. :-)

I have been battling with color for about a year and a half now. (I avoided it the previous 10 years because I knew I wouldn't get it. ;-) Now, I must say that I have painted a color wheel in the last year (actually painted - with acrylics.) Sadly, I didn't learn anything. So, this weekend with the gracious help of Ann Nemcosky I worked on one in colored pencil. Thanks again Ann for the ideas and answering my questions, you've been a big help.

I did not cheat and find the pencil that matched the most, I actually tried to "mix" them with layers of colored pencil.

Here's what I learned:
  • A warm red (like Pale Geranium Lake in Polychromos) does not make a violet. It will tend to make a neutral when combined with a blue.
  • A cool blue (like Cobalt Green in Polychromos) does not make a violet, again it moves more towards a neutral. (Clearly this point applies to other primaries as well.)
  • When making a color wheel, just make swatches and then cut them out and put them together (so you don't mess up on the last square!)
  • I think I may now understand the allure of Prismacolor pencils. I have never liked the wax bloom issue and I've always thought that oil-based pencils just felt better going on. Apparently though I'm in the minority because the three local art shops all only carry Prismacolors in open stock. I may be converting, we'll see. Anyway, the colors behaved how one would expect, they really did. They were the simplest to find the right primaries with.
All in all, a fabulous exercise and a good first step in getting me on my way with color.

And for you virtual sketchers...don't forget this Friday I will be posting the reference! I can hardly wait.


"JeanneG" said...

Did you decide to make a new blog for the virtual sketch?

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, thank you for explaining your color problems. I'm never scientific, I do by trial and error. If one color doesn't work I try another color and of course forget because it is a long time in between and make the same mistake again. I can see where you can speed up your work and I'm sure you eventually learn which colors work well and use them out of habit.

I probably have about 60 colored pencils but there are duplicate colors. About three sets mixed, I think. They may not even be the same brand. Hmmm. I will have to check this out.

Thanks again for making me think and try things. :)

Rose Welty said...


I think I have made a blog for the virtual sketch date, but I won't put the sketch date on there until the next one. I already told people that it would be on this blog and I don't want people to get lost in the shuffle. So, the posting on this blog on Friday will be the reference. Then, I will put the other blog live and off we'll go. Glad you are as keen as I am.

Jo, whatever your process is, it works for you - beautifully I might add. I don't think mixing brands is a problem, as long as they are of the same type, i.e. all wax-based or oil-based. You can mix oil and wax based, but it is tricky. Best to do wax first, then layer on the oil-based ones. You can do it the other way around, but it is a fight! :D

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Interesting - I'm getting round to colour wheels in the next week or so and I'm also planning on doing some layering! :)

Rose Welty said...

(Jeremy) I Love the colors you uesd so much. I Love you ssssssssssssuper much.