Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Color Theory

There is a marked difference between graphite and color pencil, more than just the color. The color pencils I used for this image are Prismacolor. The colors can be blended but its important to choose wisely which of the 128+ colors you want for the various parts of the drawing. Trying to adjust the blend by adding a little of this and a little of that can quickly end up with something that looks very much like mud. I think I used somewhere in the nature of 20 different colors for this which isn't a lot. Complimentary and tertiary colors can go a long way to simplifying the selection and avoiding muddyness. Fully half the choices were various shades of grey although it doesn't show that much. The top structure of the dock has mostly warm greys in it while the pilings have cooler greys. The relationship between the warm and cool colors is nearly as important as the choice of color overall and can affect the outcome in subtle, but striking ways. Notice the way some of the diagonal boards are handled with warm grey for the sunlit part and cool greys for the part in shadow. Things like that can go a long way to creating a convincing rendering. I am reminded of a quote from my undergrad drawing instructor, Chris Johns, who said, " In the end, its only pigment on a surface. The picture is all in your head." The Impressionists had it right. You don't need all the information on the page or canvas to convey the image, just enough and let the mind fill in the rest. Think Seurat. Just enough. There's magic for you.

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