Thursday, September 25, 2008

Color Spotlight: YR's, Coloring Pumpkins, part 2

When coloring a pumpkin your basic color is orange. Copic makes a nice range of oranges, or YR's so let's talk about how to get the most from your YR markers and how you can increase your contrast by breaking away from the color families.

YR: Yellow-Red
There really aren't that many YR markers, especially when you compare them to a color family like the blues. YR is a secondary color on your color wheel and is made from yellow and red dyes mixed together to achieve orange.

If we start with the first YR's, the YR00 family, we have a lot of colors to choose from. YR000, YR00, YR01, YR02, YR04, YR07, and YR09. For basic coloring I suggest keeping a 2-3 digit difference and you know that your colors will blend well together. However, if you remember back to my posts about contrast, our eyes are drawn to images with higher contrast- they're more interesting. My first two pumpkins are colored with only 2 colors. I used the maximum color difference that would still blend well (5 digits apart!), but both pumpkins look a little bland. The first one isn't bad, but the second pumpkin is not exciting.

How do I make it more lively?
Add another layer of color. 3 colors look much better. 4 colors look even better than 3, and the blending looks more natural. When possible, use more colors to get a smooth blend and more contrast.

Why doesn't the sequence look right?
I've had people complain that YR02 and YR04 are NOT good blends for each other- there's too much of a difference when you see their swatches next to each other. I disagree (but that's just me). There is a HUGE difference between the YR02 and the YR04, but if you layer the two and blend them then you'll see that they really do work together. This is true for many colors in other sequences that don't seem to follow the rules - layer them with their next closest colors and they look better.

Shadows for YR
If you don't have enough YR's to make your picture stand out more, this is where you layer colors from other families. The first thing to try is shadowing with Gray. Since YR's are warm colors, we can add Warm gray W5 for a shadow. It doesn't look too bad.

YR's and Red
If you have YR09 and R08 you'll see they are almost the same color. If you download the Copic color wheel you will see that R00's and R10's are orangish and would actually work well with YR00's (Although YR04 could be considered a true vibrant orange, you don't get a true Red until the R20's, R29 in particular). Since Reds are so dark compared to YR's (in general) you can easily shadow YR's with Red. If you do, you are not adding any gray so your colors remain intense.

YR's and E's
What happens if you add Warm Gray to Red? You get brown, or Earth colors. So, if you want to add a shadow to something orange and you don't want the shadow to be too intese, try adding a middle brown. This is like adding Red and Warm gray at the same time. As you get into the YR10's and 20's you see the color change so that YR14 and YR24 could almost be considered E's. Why? Because as you add gray (by increasing the middle digit) you are creating earth colors. (Some E colors are more orange than others, so experiment to find ones you like). Beyond the YR30's the last 4 or 5 YR's don't follow the same graying rule, just so you know.

Highlights for YR's and Yellow
Yellow is much lighter than reds. While you can shadow with Reds, if you want to break away from the YR's for your highlights you need to move into the Yellows. Look at how much more rich my pumpkin is just by adding nice sunny highlights. Then, look at what color you want your shadows. Red is more intense, brown is more earthy and natural. The last two pumpkins have the most color range from light to dark and therefore are the most interesting, though it's your call as to which one is better. This is why on yesterday's post I could color my pumpkins with a yellow, YR's, and an E and I knew it would work.

The key is, when you find a combo you like WRITE IT DOWN! Add it to your swatch book and then you'll remember what worked well for you. Image: drawn with a 0.5 mm multiliner Paper: Color laser copier paper.

Note: Most of the blending on this page was marker to marker on paper. When I added really dark colors, I feathered them in until I got the smooth blends. If you try my same colors know that I blended them a LOT to get what you see on the screen.


Etha said...

great stuff :) I find that when I add a "touch" of GREEN TO my orange or at the very edges of the pumpkins, the orange starts glowing much more :) I think your yellowish green (pardon the expression) does a similar thing.
not sure how well this works with markers, but in colored pencil it has a great effect.

Nicole said...

WOW! Glad to see this info on pumpkins with the season right around the corner! I am sure I will be using these tips soon on my cards and other artwork!