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iridemft78
01-07-2003, 08:41 PM
so i am planning my next cp piece and trying to figure out a background. i understand why it is important to work on subject and background together and can see how they impact one another. have been pouring over borgeson's 'the colored pencil' how do you see what color is right and what is not? there is one part in there where lifting techs are being demonstrated and there is a black cat on a green tablecloth and it is changed to a red tablecloth because green is the wrong color but they both looked equally fine to me so i am thinking there must be some basic color theory do's and dont's out there some where that i missed along the way. i got that impression again after going to the authors website and there was a question about planning backgrounds....the reply stressed that it is important to plan the background from the beginning not after the fact (/nod and understand why) but gave no insight as to how to go about that planning. hope this makes sense and your patience and any possible enlightenment is appreciated in advance!!

Elankat
01-07-2003, 09:18 PM
There's a great thread in the Hall of Fame about how color affects other colors. You might want to take a look at it. Also, in The Colored Pencil Solution book, they recommend doing a simple line sketch of the piece in a very small size (just a few inches). Then, photocopy it several times and color in the basic values that you are thinking about. It's a good way to get an idea of how the color will impact the finished piece.

iridemft78
01-07-2003, 10:04 PM
both the thread and the line drawing tech i have checked out/tried. i guess my trouble is how do you figure out which combination works with respect to a piece of artwork? i cant tell/see if a color overpowers the subject or works with it...heh they all look good to me :( so do you want your background to be a complimentary color? if i drew a green apple with a purple background that would be right since those colors look good together? and specifically to the medium of CP you start the background out as a color that will make the correct background color when combined with colors from the subject?
sorry, i think i am struggling to ask the right question and it is frustrating :confused:

arlene
01-07-2003, 11:21 PM
Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules about it...yes somethings work better then others, but after reading through the books on color theory and playing around with different colors working with others...

it comes down to what your eye perceives as right...and the only solution to get good at that is practice and more practice.

Also look at artwork you like and see what it is you like about them and try to figure out why it works.

Elankat
01-07-2003, 11:32 PM
It really just depends on what you want out of the piece. For example, you draw a red apple. If you did a cool-toned, dark green background, the apple is going to look more red and the background will recede. If you did a warm-toned orange background, the background would appear closer and the apple would blend more. There are so many things that affect the way color is perceived that there are books devoted entirely to the subject.

Not only do you have to consider color, but you have to take value into account too. If your subject is light toned and you add a very dark background, the subject will look even lighter.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. I think that you have to think about what mood you want in the piece. Cool colors will recede. Warm colors will appear closer. Blues tend to have a calming affect. Yellows feel bright...etc. You can spend a lot of time or very little time planning out color choices.

For me, when I start a CP piece, I have a strong idea of what the entire piece looks like. Then, I build my darkest areas of the piece first, regardless of whether it is the background or the subject. The reason I do this is because it's easier to erase any smudges in my light areas and when I eventually build up the light areas, I know how dark to take them without them looking too pale.

If I have a pale-haired person, I'll do the face first. If the person has dark hair, I'll do the hair first. If the background is very dark, then that comes first. That's just what works best for me when doing CP.

iridemft78
01-08-2003, 12:41 AM
"It really just depends on what you want out of the piece. For example, you draw a red apple. If you did a cool-toned, dark green background, the apple is going to look more red and the background will recede. If you did a warm-toned orange background, the background would appear closer and the apple would blend more. There are so many things that affect the way color is perceived that there are books devoted entirely to the subject."

wow my mind is expounding on the possabilities. i feel like a saucer eyed child...like: if you have a warm toned subject and put it on a really cool toned background then you run into trouble with having them too far apart. if you have a cool toned subject and a really warm toned background.....so would it be ok to think of having a background a cooler color than the foreground subject as being a widely used scenario? or will thinking in terms of _any_ norm get me in trouble down the road....heh i think i know the answer to that one

"For me, when I start a CP piece, I have a strong idea of what the entire piece looks like. Then, I build my darkest areas of the piece first, regardless of whether it is the background or the subject. The reason I do this is because it's easier to erase any smudges in my light areas and when I eventually build up the light areas, I know how dark to take them without them looking too pale."

This makes a lot of sense...I work this way in graphite.

Along the same lines, in CP, colors used in the foreground are likely to be used in the background but colors used in the background not necessarily used in the foreground?

ty very much elankat and arlene....you have answered my question and helped me find a starting point...awesome considering I wasnt quite sure what my question really was in the first place :D

I have this really great book called "Color Harmony" (1662 color combos :D )....have flipped thru it before but it was like flipping thru a book written in chinese. now i think it may be just the ticket to help me see a lot of color combinations and start to develop an eye.

arlene
01-08-2003, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by Elankat

For me, when I start a CP piece, I have a strong idea of what the entire piece looks like. Then, I build my darkest areas of the piece first, regardless of whether it is the background or the subject. The reason I do this is because it's easier to erase any smudges in my light areas and when I eventually build up the light areas, I know how dark to take them without them looking too pale.

If I have a pale-haired person, I'll do the face first. If the person has dark hair, I'll do the hair first. If the background is very dark, then that comes first. That's just what works best for me when doing CP.


AAAAAAAACCCCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

arlene
01-08-2003, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by iridemft78

I have this really great book called "Color Harmony" (1662 color combos :D )....have flipped thru it before but it was like flipping thru a book written in chinese. now i think it may be just the ticket to help me see a lot of color combinations and start to develop an eye.

Do you have even a basic paint program on your computer? Try drawing out for example a simple daisy on it then color it say yellow and try different backgrounds and see...then reverse...as I've said the more you try it, the better you'll get at it...

matter of fact...going to go do just that with the flower for you right now. :)

Lissa
01-08-2003, 10:35 AM
Reading this thread with interest...I feel that I don't know all that much about colour either...so much to learn!

arlene
01-08-2003, 11:46 AM
Here's the examples...you could do the same thing and play forever using the paintbucket.

the first two are dark background vs light...I didn't change the flower color:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2003/240-daisy1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2003/240-daisy3.jpg

In this next group, I reversed where the colors are:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2003/240-daisy2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jan-2003/240-daisy4.jpg

In all cases the yellow, green and red are the same color!

iridemft78
01-08-2003, 01:06 PM
wow ty arlene.
it's amazing the difference between seeing how just 2 colors affect each other and then how much more so 5 do. I see myself being very much more aware of colors with respect to location and each other. Now I need to go back to that hall of fame post of yours about how colors affect one another :)

frida
01-08-2003, 01:45 PM
As Arlene said, practice and more practice is the main thing - but if you also wish to learn from books, there is an excellent one by Judy Martin: "Dynamic Color Drawing". She goes well beyond the colour wheel, expanding and illustrating Descriptive, Atmospheric and Expressive colour. It offers a great deal to think about and to learn...

Elankat
01-08-2003, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by arlene



AAAAAAAACCCCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's with the ack? I'm not going to do a very pale background first if the subject is dark. Smudging into a blank area is a lot easier to erase than one that's finished or near finished. Doing the light areas (such as a face) and then the darks (such as hair) is a certain way for me to end up with a face that's too washed out and has smudges from color smearing.

I don't really think the ack is necessary.

arlene
01-08-2003, 02:43 PM
Hair frames the face whether dark or light, as such should usually be done first...a face that's done too dark for the hair is going to look off too.

As for background if the color is a neutral color such as a white, off white, taupe or gray, then I shut my mouth...but anytime you start with another color, then you can run into problems with those on top...I'm particularly thinking of yellows and pinks, since those two will change everything around them.

Elankat
01-08-2003, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by arlene
Hair frames the face whether dark or light, as such should usually be done first...a face that's done too dark for the hair is going to look off too.

I disagree. I don't think you can apply a universal rule that applies to all artists and all drawings. I couldn't do a piece like Gemma does. I don't have the mental fortitude to remember all the colors from one section to the next. You may not do a piece like I do because our work styles differ. Perhaps I'm being overconfident, but I'd venture to say that my portraits haven't suffered for it. My portrait of "A.J. in Blue, No. 1" had the hair done last of all. Something always has to come last.

IMO, the important thing is to know what the complete piece will look like and how the color choices will affect the entirety. Then, you proceed in a manner that works best with your work style. :)

arlene
01-08-2003, 09:03 PM
Originally posted by Elankat

IMO, the important thing is to know what the complete piece will look like and how the color choices will affect the entirety. Then, you proceed in a manner that works best with your work style. :)

OK as someone who teaches I beg to partially differ...you're talking about yourself an experienced artist. That's fine cause you've figured alot of it out already...notice I said alot, cause none of us figure it all out...

but for a person just starting out, then it's usually a recipe for disaster...a hit or miss thing because they don't have the knowledge of color and how it works with other colors.