Why Do Colors Matter To Scribes?

Upside-down Color Wheel Art

While getting my steps in walking at the mall recently I saw a school’s art display in the food court. The students’ works were clever and made me think. I particularly liked the ones with color. That always catches my eye.

You may be asking why you should care about color? One answer is you can ruin a good drawing by poor color choices. But you can also enhance a middling design by its careful use.

Color Basics

Color theory is both an art and a science. It explains how we perceive color, mix paint hues, and use them to match or clash.

There are three primary colors from which you can choose – red, blue, and yellow. In theory you can make other colors by mixing those three. When you mix any two primary colors together you create a secondary color – orange, green, or purple.

Those six hues make up the major spectrum of colors. Arranging them in a circle makes what’s called a color wheel. You usually see them displayed starting at the top and turning clockwise with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Changing Color Value

You can also make a color paler or darker. You’ve probably already discovered how to tint a color by adding a white paint dab.

It follows you might darken the paint by adding black. That’s true but your results will be less than what you expect.

Adding black makes your color darker, but it also looks less like your chosen hue. It causes your color to loose value or sense of itself. The color becomes muddier and may turn into another one altogether. It’s weird but adding black to yellow gives you an olive green not a darker yellow.

The secret to darkening colors without changing their value is the color wheel. The primary colors strewn around the circle have secondary colors between them. Directly across from each primary color you find its complimentary partner. Each color has an opposite, or complementary hue.

You darken a color by mixing it with its complement. For example, yellow can be made darker by adding a purple. Something very useful in Calontir as they are like our “team colors”.

To make your color slightly darker add a little dab of its complement, to make it a lot darker add a little more. But be careful. Adding a dark hue to a light one can change your paint’s appearance suddenly. Adding a light hue to a darker one may take several tries before you get the one you want.

Repeating a color throughout a scroll helps tie your design elements together. It unifies them while directing the viewer’s eye around your work.

Understanding how the color wheel works is important if your motifs need shading. Using it well brings your scroll to life by giving the illumination a 3-D flair.

Related Prior Post:

Categories: Illumination

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