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Thread: WIP Color Help?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    WIP Color Help?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here and I don't know very much, so I'm sorry in advance if I'm doing this wrong!

    I drew this and I inked it on photoshop, but I always have trouble creating initial color relationships, especially when it's just a character and not in an environment (and even in those situations I have a lot of trouble). I looked at some pictures of coral reefs and underwater fishes to try and get an idea, but that's still problematic for me.

    For some background on me, I have had one year of experience painting from life, but I'm not very good at all and I'm still working on it.

    I was wondering if anyone had any advice about how to start out coloring or what ways I could improve? What do you do when you start painting or coloring an image? How do you determine what kinds of color schemes work together?

    Here's the WIP, please let me know what you think. I have the kind of bad colors sloppily placed in there, and the lineart beside it.


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Thanked 106 Times in 71 Posts
    I'm not sure if I'm understanding your question properly or not, but I think a good exercise for you might be to take the same image, like the line art you have here, and color it according to different color schemes so you get the feel for each. Do the mermaid in monochromatic colors, complimentary colors, tertiary colors, analogous, etc. Then do one warm, and one cool. Then do one that is both. A common beginning painting exercise/assignment is to do a figure painting or still life where the all the light is a warm color (like orange) and all the shadow is a cool color (like blue).

    Does that make sense? Just experiment, learn about the color wheel, color schemes, etc. You don't have to paint any specific color scheme, but it seems like it might help you out as a starting place. It's also probably a good idea to keep in mind the connotations of colors, too -- do you want the picture to feel mellow and soothing, violent and angry, creepy and cold, and so on.

    Of course, make sure that you have a good, foundational understanding of values down before you go throwing color into everything. A good way to get a handle on values is to do a still life only using black and white. Then, you can try one using a monochromatic color scheme (mix up a lot of one color, like a dark green, which will become the darkest shade in your painting. To achieve the other values, you can add white to this color. That's it -- no other colors and no black [except what you've used to create the initial green]).

    That's all I can think of for now -- have fun!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Thanked 14 Times in 14 Posts
    I just block in colors then do each part in detail. Workflow doesn't really matter, its what works for you.

    As for color they look good, but the yellow is harsh and unnatural. You may want to look at some seascapes to get a feel for how color looks in the refractive blue environment and just the natural colors in the ocean. Also, its sometimes best not to lineart too detailed on teeth or they'll end up looking dirty.

    Remember to keep in mind that value is relative. The darkest shadow on the hair could still, say, be lighter than the lightest part of the fin.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    @Erin C:

    Thank you for your help! I think that taking this back a step and doing some experimentation with basic color relationships will help me a lot. I think I was trying to jump ahead with something I don't have a good grasp on at all, haha.


    Thanks for your input too! I will definitely be looking at more ocean environment images to get a better understanding of what naturally occurs. I tried to do just a basic block in of color but I was having trouble making them work together and not look so clashing, haha.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Thanked 154 Times in 46 Posts
    Hi there!

    First of all, I like your nice clean lines! Anyway, are you planning to do a background on this? Because if you are, I would strongly suggest filling out the background layer with a desaturated color like say light gray or in you case, since your theme is underwater, something somewhat blue or blue-green. I find that it helps in picking out which colors work together to fit in the general mood of the picture. A white bg tends to make the the colors a bit agressive, unless of course this was what you were going for. You can also work the other way around and have a filled a layer on top set to multiply on a low opacity with that one "mood" color. Same idea, to see if the colors work with or against each other. The problem with that method is that it may be harder to predict how colors would later appear under a multiply layer when you pick out new ones to add (of course you can always switch the visibility off to check). But anyway yeah, the idea is that colors tend to look different depending on which colors are surrounding them so it might be a good idea to already have a sort of background color in place. For the most part I think you're off to a good start, though, depending on how you push your values and such you might even end up with a different color entirely than what you started with.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Asia Pacific
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts
    I like your sketch. But whats on her head, its giving off a wood nymphish aura. I think hair would look good.
    For coloring, check out this video.
    Cheer Up! World's a big place...

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