Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Adding Colour

I've been meaning to write something about how I use colour for quite some time now, and finally have something I can show with a bit of colour theory behind it.


I must have learnt something about colour theory in my first year of university, but haven't retained the knowledge. So when a friend suggested she'd like to learn some colour theory, we began attending special private colour theory classes taught by my mum at the dining table in my parents' back room. In actual fact, I've only managed to make it to two classes so far, but in the second class we made this colour wheel:


I particularly like how you can turn the arrow around to show opposites and triads.

With my colour wheel on my desk before me, it was time to put the theory of colour opposites into practice with a book called Go To Sleep, Jessie written by Libby Gleeson.

Baby Jessie has moved into Jo's bedroom, but she won't go to sleep. She just screams and screams, and keeps Jo awake. Nothing either parent does seems to work. But eventually, of course, Jo knows just the thing that will settle Jessie.

In my illustrations I tried to create two distinct worlds; that of 'upstairs' where the two children are supposed to sleep and 'downstairs' where the parents read the newspaper, watch television and eat chocolates. It provided the perfect opportunity to test out colour opposites.

So, upstairs in the bedroom it is predominantly blue. While downstairs, where the lights are on and parents are still up doing things, it is orange, the opposite colour to blue on the colour wheel.

Here's the colour test I did...


...a finished upstairs scene...


...and a finished page showing both upstairs and downstairs.


The aim was simply to create contrast between the two opposite environments: upstairs, downstairs; dark, light; quiet, noise; asleep, awake. Regardless of whether it worked, the exercise showed me how I can create a really strong colour scheme for a book.

10 comments:

  1. Your illustrations are so beautiful. I am a fan for life.
    Thank you for sharing everything that you do, it is beyond helpful. I too am an illustrator, just starting out. I could look at your illustrations all day long. That's how wonderful they are.

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    1. Thank you Melissa! I'm so glad you find some of this stuff helpful - that's very reassuring. (I'm not always sure what the purpose of these posts are). I wish you all the best with your own work!

      Freya

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  2. I love looking at your paintings. Hope you have more of such posts so I could learn more. Happy painting!

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    1. Thanks! I"ll try to think of other post subjects - any requests? I thought I"d have heaps to write about, but it turns out I can't seem to think of anything!

      Freya

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  3. I followed Claudine to your blog, and I'm so glad I came. I love your illustrations.

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  4. Ah, so that's how it's done! I like how the cot's colour echoes the parents' domain. It makes the cot appear safe - if only baby Jessie knew.

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  5. Brilliant. Very conscise and helpful. I'd love to hear how you decide on perspective. Do you go with what feels right or is there more of a science behind that too?

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    1. Hi Lil! Thanks for your message. I must admit that perspective isn't my strong point. I go with whatever feels right, and then my mum, who knows a lot about perspective, points out whenever something is very wrong. If I've got a tricky scene I get her advice. But I find that it's best to not be too scientific about it because it tends to make the drawing far too organised and stiff. I guess there's a balance to be found there!

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  6. Brilliant. Very conscise and helpful. I'd love to hear how you decide on perspective. Do you go with what feels right or is there more of a science behind that too?

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