Color Me Silly

July 18th, 2018

When you think of the word color, what comes to mind? Do you see a big random blotch of red? Or blue, or green? Are you limited to viewing the world in just the primary and secondary colors, or have you expanded your view to include shades and variations of those very colors?

If you dabble in illustrative art, whether it be painting, drawing, or even graphic design, or in fashion or textiling, then you probably know what we’re talking about here. You understand that if one is willing to explore beyond just the basic colors, go from red to reds, as a family, you’ll open up the portal to a brand new world, where colors are never ending, and the possibilities are endless.

To those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about (we know, it’s probably sounding like fevered gibberish right about now), let’s take a small tour of just some words that can help you start your discovery.

Think of it as just dipping your toes into the pool, instead of just diving straight in.



It’s all a pigment of your imagination. No, wait. Oops. Pigments are actually the substances in a paint or dye that gives it its color. It is normally a powder, that goes on to be mixed with oil, water, egg, etc.



Ok, this one’s probably one of the easiest to get. Why? Because it quite literally means color! In painting terms, it is the pure color, without the addition of any white or black to it. Think of the brightest version of a color.


Now the variations we get from here on come from the addition (in small or large parts) of white, grey, and black.



So now that we have our hue, if we start adding white to it, we get a tint. This lightens the color, making it softer. The more white we add, the lighter the color becomes. (Think pastel colors)



If we instead add black to our original hue, we get shades. This make the color darker, and more intense. The more black we keep adding, the darker the shade.



Instead of pure white or black, if we instead add grey to a color, we get what is called a tone. While this does make the original hue darker (like a shade), instead of keeping its original brightness, it becomes a bit more tame and subdued. 


The easiest way to understand how all this works? Take out your old school paint kit (and if you’re lucky the paint hasn’t dried), try mixing white, and grey, and black in varying degrees to your favorite colors. And of course that’s our idea, since you know that we’re big fans of digging our hands straight into creativity, so you might as well try it.

Still don’t get what it all means? Try this chart!

Image Source - Pinterest

Image Source – Pinterest


And that’s how you get introduced to the various families of the various colors. Each color can be softened, subdued, or darkened to create an endless array of new colors. And then they get fancy names like Chartreuse, or Ocher, or Aquamarine.

We hope you totally enjoyed this itty bitty lesson, and feel that niggling feeling at the back of your mind, coaxing you to take out some colors and have fun with it. Don’t forget, it doesn’t matter if you’re “good”or “bad” at art. It just matters that you create something!

So, go on then. Make some hue and cry about your favorite colors! (LOL, see what we did there?)


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