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On Colors (3)

Find the whole series "On colors" here.

Here is how I began to study colors with my very own approach. I needed something more practical than rules defined by others for other uses than mine. I needed to find the equivalent of mixing colors on a palette, and to go through my own culture and gathered corpus of lovely picture.

I took my iPad , and a few color apps. I used successfully Palettes Pro and Adobe® Color Lava for Photoshop® and tested some others ...I liked Palette Pro because it can extract colors from a picture, and Color Lava is fun because I can use the colors in Photoshop via Wifi. It's not really practical but real fun in a happy geeky way.

So what I did first is take my favorite pictures ever and extract the colors I loved.

Here is a lovely illustration by Boutet de Monvel on Adobe Color Lava. Boutet de Monvel was a very well known French children illustrator in the first part of the 20th century. I love his pictures since I was a little girl. So it was a good place to start! 
For months I analyzed loved pictures and discovered two important things:

1.That 5 colors is enough to make a picture, but usually not enough. Most of my illustrations have more than 5 colors . I had to combine palettes or add colors.


2. That color analysis app are great tools, but they don't give you the proportions to use. Like, if there is a large amount of red in a picture and very little blue and yellow, you will still extract samples the same size. I don't find  it helps me choosing colors. I learned to make moodboards instead of palettes, so I could get the inspiration I needed. Colors is about proportions, contrast and accents. Pinterest is a great tool for color hunting : see what I gathered here.

I also used the application moodboards on my iPad. 
Here is a sample I made for you, so you can get an idea : of course I don't use my own pictures usually.


Because colors depend on language a lot I also made research on color names in both my languages : corail, Kelly green, puce...I also learned that translation doesn't work so well: Khaki is not the same color in French and English. I began to translate colors in different languages to google them and get even more ideas.

This is how I learned more about colors and how I use them my way. But that's a lot of work and studying. I understand more and I am able to understand even more by association. It was a long and pleasant way and I am still working on it. Learning teaches you to be curious and make your own conclusions, and in a world of preprocessed foods and informations it's a very good thing. 

But I also came up with a good, fast way to create interesting palettes, and I will tell you more about it next time!



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Reader Comments (4)

You should teach a color theory course in LA!!

August 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertami

Hi Delphine - very much enjoying your posts about color. As always, your illustrations and formatting wow me. Thanks for the lessons! Karen

August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren T

c'est parti pour un geeky day à télécharger et tester toutes les appli conseillées :) Merciii

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMagoute

Merci pour la découverte de Boutet de Monvel, que je ne connaissais pas du tout (et pourtant je trainais dans les rayons pour enfants des années avant d'en avoir).

Un dont j'aime les couleurs douces c'est Marty. Il y a aussi Mercier.

Tu as une superbe culture artistique! J'ai eu plus accès à l'illustration des années 40 plus petite, donc ça me parle plus que les années Art Deco inconsciement... je me suis replongée dans les Arts Deco grâce à toi, merci

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHélène

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