Artist-How-To

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*All images and words copyright of Diane Dobson-Barton dba as Barton Studio 2002-2007

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Basic Color Theory

The following information is intended to give a basic understanding of color for the painter, general crafter or for the photographer.

Basic Color Wheel

Primary Colors - Red, Yellow and Blue are the basics of  color mixing. They can not be made on their own, but in theory you can make all the other colors on the color wheel

Secondary Colors - Violet, Green, and Orange are the colors that are created secondly by mixing the primary colors together.

                       

Examples of  - Subtractive Color Theory  / Additive Color Theory

Subtractive Color - if you add its three primaries (Red, Green, Blue), the end result is white.

Additive Color - when the primaries cyan, magenta and yellow are mixed the end result is black. This is the color theory we are using here.

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Color Schemes


Complemetary Colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance the compliment of Blue is Orange, the compliment of Red is Green etc.

Split Complementary is made by using a color and the two colors next to its compliment. Such as by using Red, and then using Yellow and Blue.

Tradic Color Schemes are made by any three colors that appear an equal distant from each other on the color wheel, such as Red, Yellow, and Blue.

Analogous Color Scheme is made by colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Monochromatic Color Scheme is made from one color or hue with multiple values and intensities.


Warm colors are colors that represent a feeling of warmth or heat such as Red, Orange, and Yellow.

Cool Colors are colors that represent a feeling of coolness and chill, such as blue, blue green and violet.

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Value Scale the amount of light and dark that is shown. The less value the lighter it is.

Contrast is the difference in values. The strongest contrast can be seen by placing the two extremes next to each other. When two lesser extremes are next to each other they are said to have low contrast. The closer they are in value, the lower they are in contrast.

Tints are created by adding White to a value. In the case of handcoloring a print the white would geneally be added by using the paper and having a transparent color wash.


Tones are created by adding Black to a value. In the case of handcoloring the artist will either add a bit of black to the color or use the exisiting shades of grey already in the image.