Saturday, December 6, 2008

Colored Pencil Color Mixing

In putting together a recent colored pencil class, I wanted to teach a bit of color theory and color mixing to my students. It's important, especially with a translucent medium like colored pencil, to work with not only the colors you have in front of you, but to learn to mix them. Unlike painters, we CP artists are rather spoiled in that we have such a wealth of premixed colors to choose from in our collections. However, there are always those instances where we do not have the exact color we need and have to mix (or layer) to achieve what we need.

Not only is it important to learn mixing but to learn a bit about color theory and how colors can work in a drawing. My absolute favorite writer/artist is Bet Borgeson whose books not only teach you about the basics of colored pencil but she also teaches the reader about some basic art concepts: form, volume, space, color theory, and composition. I highly recommend investing in at least one of these three books by Ms. Borgeson: "Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner" (my favorite), "Basic Colored Pencil Technique", and "The Colored Pencil - Key Concepts for Handling the Medium". Ms. Borgeson also has a website which gives you a quick overview on color theory which is both very clear and easy to incorporate into your work.

But to get you started, I will share my color wheel and mixing chart with you. You have freedom to use this for your own personal use; however, please do not use these in a class without my permission (you're an artist, you know the drill.) Because copy paper is not much fun for CP artists, you might want to print the charts out on a piece of 8.5 x 11" drawing paper (cut your own!) Have fun and leave me some feedback if you have questions or suggestions of your own.

My finished CP color wheel. The pencils I used are listed; feel free to use your own colors! Now, color your own wheel!

My CP colored pencil mixing chart; again, use your own colors if you want.

Now here's your own chart. Notice how the intensity of a pure color increases by layering. Learn and have fun!


bubblemunch said...

This is such a great post.
So often when I was starting out trying to understand colour and mixing/blending I looked for information on the internet or in books. Not all of it was enough for me, and some of it was far too complex!

This is kind and generous of you and it's a tool I shall certainly use and recommend to others>

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Nice post you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning this topic. Thank you for sharing that data.

Anonymous said...

Amazing!! You blend it so well that it almost doesn't look like color pencils! I really like the chart you made. I've been searching for something like this on google, but nothing good comes up! Thanks a lot for this! Also, thanks for recommending some books! I'm thinking about getting them!

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