the girl takes the leap / some color stuff

More practice drawing people. I used a photo of my daughter as reference. She's about to jump down an inflatable slide.

The point of these quick sketches is to work on poses/anatomy/form, but looking at her pants and skin tones is reminding me of something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I need to create and save some nice color palettes on my computer. I'm currently just slightly altering the default palettes, which is only wasting time and negatively affecting the outcome of my work.

Working with color digitally has many benefits:
  • It's not expensive like paint
  • It's not messy like paint
  • It's not permanent like paint
  • Mixing colors is easier and faster and can't be wasted or ruined
  • The ability to adjust opacity and layering is an artist's dream come true
Good color palettes will allow me to take full advantage of these benefits. Just another thing added to my to-do list (at least fooling around with color is fun).

There are tons of great books on color theory. My current favorite is:

The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations
by Leslie Cabarga
This book uses a source photo (a theater poster from the 1920's, a children's book illustration from the 1950's, an advertisement from the 1970's, old wrapping paper, etc.) and uses the color scheme on some new layouts. Good stuff.
The Art Nouveau movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's was largely a style of architectural design. I like the print artists associated with this movement. They were a huge influence on the psychedelic art of the sixties and the style is still popular on gig posters, fantasy art, and in advertising today.
Here's an example from a book on Eugene Grassett who made a whole series of designs based on the diversity of the world's plant life. Spectacular colors:

Catalogs and ads are great (and free) places to pull some nice color ideas (and poses) from, too. The Sunday paper usually has some decent ads, but I also recommend getting on mailing lists for interior decoration retailers like Pier 1 Imports. Their catalogs have page after page of interesting color combinations.
A friend and fellow artist left a comment with a great color resource. Thanks, Gina. here's the link to Kuler: http://kuler.adobe.com/#create/fromacolor
I'll be spending some time over there!
Here's another site: http://www.colorjack.com/
And last but not least, is this cool little tool. Just copy the url of any image and this site will instantly make a palette from it: Color Palette Generator

Here's a sample using one of my images.









gina said...

Another great color palette resource is Kuler.(kuler.com) I just found out about it this semester and wish I would have sooner!

also side note - love the alphonse mucha illustration on color theory book :)

Denver Wagner said...

Fantastic!. Thanks, Gina. I've heard of Kuler but never took the time to seek it out. What a mistake. I'll add a link in the main post.

gina said...

No problem :) It has helped me and so fun to make your own little "library" of colors :)

So what's this new link of cool places? (I can't tell the new name that was added) Talking to people is SOOOO important!! I find when I am stuck on a project I know that I haven't talked to enough others. Even non design/art people can have great ideas or say this looks like crap, or if they don't get the message you are trying to get across.

Denver Wagner said...

Hey Gina. The group is small and focused on creating graphic novels, though any creative endeavor seems appropriate for discussion. It is a closed blog (only because we want to feel free to post sometimes unflattering WIP's.)If you are interested in contributing or just checking it out, I can have the administrator e-mail you an invite for logging in. I'm in the early stages of developing an all-ages comic for Morgan Monster Hunter & the Crypto Kid, over there. The more input and projects, the better! Let me know if you interested.

gina said...

Denver -
I am interested. I'm not much of a graphic novel expert, but I am really interested in illustrating children's books. I actually illustrated "The Velveteen Rabbit" book for my redesign project I had to do for electronic page layout class and had so much fun doing it! I have to create a few more illustrations and "tweak" the book to have it for my portfolio show at end of April. Someday I would like to write a book of my own. (I think having kids just brings out that passion of creating in individuals like us. Its like our imagination selves comes alive again when we are in our kids worlds - you know what I mean?)
I don't want to be a mooch or anything, but would like to get involved with as many creative groups as I can :) Thank you!

Denver Wagner said...

Great, Gina. I'm new to the whole graphic novel thing as well. (Although I did read tons of comics in high school.)It just seems to be the perfect format for this particular story so I'm going for it. Visual storytelling is what it's all about! And yes--I've been way more creatively productive since the kids came along. It feels good!

Artists don't know the meaning of the word "mooch". One thing I've noticed over the last year or so, is the awesome sense of community among artists. I passed your e-mail address on to Samuel Kirkman. He'll send an invite for logging in. Hope to hear from you over there!