My mood today is “primary colors.” I used to be so resistant to using this color combination because it read as so, well… primary. But over the years after having seen so much art and experimented with various art materials and styles, this color grouping has become one of my favorite color combinations to use because it feels so bold to me. This morning I spent a tiny bit of time working out my first “coloring tips” video. My focus will be on “hatching” and creating gradients using this type of mark. But then I got distracted and carried away working on this cutie , stumbling upon this tip unintentionally. TIP: you can create a kind of iridescent-glow effect using colored pencils, and a warm yellow as a “blender” by lightly coloring on top of itself (yellow) as well as the second color beneath it, in this case, blue. Because it’s made of the same material the yellow will nicely blend the two colors so that where the yellow meets the white, it will create the illusion of a warm glow. I think I’ll show a video of this later on. To be continued…
Here’s a flip-through of Mermaids in Wonderland to give those of you who haven’t already seen it a chance to do so, but also for those who are curious, a soundbite of my thought process when I was creating this book. I admit, this isn’t a super slick set up… it’s definitely DIY… ha! Hopefully I’ll get better with more time and practice. As an aside, below the video is a peek into my equipment set-up… clamps and elastic bands!
It can be tough to pick a color… there are so many. But over the years I’ve learned a few things to help make this selection process easier. One way is to look at the color palettes that other people have used in their own artwork as inspiration and then apply it towards my own in new combinations. I don’t use their exact blend of color, rather it’s a version of it. However, something else I’ve been doing for years is looking to nature and my environment as inspiration.
There are so many beautiful color moments outside. This morning while walking my dog, I came across some color stories; some were just pieces of garbage mixed with dried leaves and grass, while others were gorgeous street art (i.e. photo inset, bottom right is by @sean_slaney). I created color swatches of them, and then coupled each story with a new spot(light) color, which is in the shape of a star. What I usually do when I begin coloring is decide on an overall color palette that describes the general mood, or feeling of the piece (this color becomes the base or foundation) and then I choose another color that is opposite in temperature to offset, or counterbalance the base color theme. As an aside, color temperature can be easily grouped into warm or cool colors. Warm colors are: Reds, Yellows, and Oranges, and cool colors are Greens, Blues, and Purples. In the photo of the blue plastic bag on the ground (top left inset), most of the colors are cool: blues and greens (with black and brown as the neutrals), and I chose to use a warm spot color: pink. If I was coloring a drawing using this photo as inspiration, most of it would be done using blues, and greens, and then I would add pink accents to a few areas of the drawing to give it some pop or emphasis (see feature photo of Lionfish coloring page where I used the following cool colors: True Blue, Violet Blue, Grass Green, Apple Green; neutral color Sienna Brown, Prismcolor Premier Colored Pencils; warm color: Pink, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner).
Welcome to Your Colorful Wonderland. I’m Marcos Chin, the illustrator of the Wonderland series of coloring books, Fairies in Wonderland, Mermaids in Wonderland, and Elves in Wonderland (which will be released this November 2017). Although I’ve been illustrating professionally for about fifteen years, this is my foray into the coloring book genre. On this blog I’ll be mostly showing various coloring and mark-making techniques, which have been informed by my experience as a commercial artist, as well as sharing some information on basic color theory. I’ll be using both wet and dry materials (i.e. paints and pencils) and sharing this in the form of videos and writing. See you soon!