Color Studies - Create Amazing Palettes with Color Theory | Stephanie Lynne | Skillshare

Color Studies - Create Amazing Palettes with Color Theory

Stephanie Lynne, Illustrator and Designer

Color Studies - Create Amazing Palettes with Color Theory

Stephanie Lynne, Illustrator and Designer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
9 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. I Love Hue

    • 3. The Color Wheel

    • 4. Temperature

    • 5. Chroma vs. Value

    • 6. Color Harmonies

    • 7. Color Lab

    • 8. Assembling Your Journal

    • 9. Color Theory Wrap Up

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Do you ever find that you feel anxious when it is time to pick a color palette for your projects? Do you procrastinate about picking a palette or tend to stay within a trusted range of colors? Would you like to feel more confident using color? The truth is there is only one way to learn about color, and that is to study it. The good news is, color is totally exciting and fascinating to study!

This class is designed to guide you through the basics of color theory in a fun and relaxing way. It is perfect for designers, illustrators, or any artist/creative that wants to expand or freshen up their color knowledge, and feel more confident using color. The lessons are simple enough for beginners, but also a practical and engaging refresher for the experienced artist. The goal of this class is to increase your knowledge and courage about color through exploration and study, but the real goal is to put more beautiful, sophisticated, and thoughtful color into the world. 

I believe that color matters, because I am aware of the effect it HAS had, and can have on the world. Sometimes color's influence lies subtly in our subconscious. Other times it hits us boldly between the eyes. It can break hearts or bring joy. As artists, it is our job to be aware of the power color holds. We get to choose how we share color with the world. How amazing is that?!

I’m so excited to share this journey with you, and I'm completely convinced that even if you don't already share my enthusiasm for color, with a little exploration you soon will.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Color Studies Overview

We will begin by learning to think more deeply about color, as we take a moment to examine our own reactions to, and feelings about it.

Then we will explore the color wheel and some basic principles of color theory.

Next we will experiment with color harmonies, create some palettes, and explore the color lab.

Finally we will combine the lessons together and create an expandable color journal to use for reference in future projects.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Supplies Needed


Card stock (for printing lessons)

Clear tape

Cutting tool such as an x-acto knife


Healing Mat or something to cut on

Color medium and associated supplies (digital art, paint, brushes, colored paper, scissors, glue, etc.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Music Credit

Music Track: Sunshine Samba

Music provided by Chris Haugen

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

More from Stephanie Lynne



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Stephanie Lynne

Illustrator and Designer


Hi! I'm Stephanie Lynne, a surface designer and illustrator from Louisiana. For many wonderful years I worked in the children's product industry creating designs for products like children's bedding, room decor and accessories. I even worked in product development for a bit, which was a blast! At university I studied painting and graphic design, while I decorated cakes to support myself. I'm a color enthusiast, and I LOVE to make stuff. I like to cook, bake, knit, crochet, draw, write, paint, and play with my amazing dog Raven. 

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Introduction: Welcome to color studies. I'm Stephanie Lynn, a designer, illustrator and longtime lover of color. I've designed color studies for anyone who wants to deepen and expand their understanding of color. In this course, you will apply color to a series of daylights which later you'll combine into a personalized color journal. You are welcome to use your favorite color medium or even mixed media if you prefer. I've kept beginners in mind and we'll begin with the basics. But the journal entries can also serve as a pleasant mindfulness exercise for the more experienced colorist. Working through the provided downloads explains color theory in a relaxed and simple way. Getting to no color better can give you confidence to experiment more freely with one of the greatest and most versatile tools in the artist's toolbox. So grab some paint or colored paper and let's dive in. 2. I Love Hue: He is the characteristic of a color that distinguishes it from every other color. Simply put, a hue is a color such as red, violet, orange, or turquoise. Take a moment to think about your own relationship with color. What is your favorite here? What was your favorite as a child? What he's make you feel happy or excited. What is your first or best color membrane? What he's make you feel sad or thoughtful. Print color studies, lesson 13. To divide the lessons into quarters. We're going to work on the hes I love listen to think about the previous questions and let them guide you as you fill in the hearts with a color she loved. Color is such an integral and affecting part of our experience. And yet we take it for granted and give it so little thought in this space. Let's take a moment to think deeply about color. If I had to choose, I would say that my favorite colors are yellow, periwinkle, orange, and Chartreuse. For me, yellow symbolizes joy, new beginnings and fresh starts. Orange is a color imbedded in my childhood memories. Citrus was a staple in my house growing up. We always had oranges, grapefruit, and sets humans in the winner. I remember being fascinated by the color of the periwinkle crayon and my color box as a child later in college are rekindle that fascination. And my painting classes. I honestly didn't notice that I liked short trees until recently when I began noticing how many random short trees items I had in my office. My very favorite color memory involves my youngest niece. A few years ago, we were playing and I told her to let me look in her ear so I could see what color her brain was. I looked in and reported with excitement that her brain was rainbow colored and absolutely beautiful. She responded as though she had expected as much all along. The first color I remember is the color of the refrigerator we had when I was three. It was a color called golden rod, I believe. The color of miracles, oranges, pumpkins, blackberry juice, and a fall leaves make me feel happy. There is something calming, but also very wistful about the color of morning glories. The gray winter sky can make me feel sad, but I absolutely adore the purplish glow of the sky at night after a good snow. Use the hearts I love exercise as a starting point to create a composition for your journal with your favorite colors. Think about your connection with your favorite colors and what draws you to them. Make notes to the side or on the back of the lesson about what the colors mean to you. Share the colors you love and your thoughts about low with the class community. 3. The Color Wheel: The color will represent the spectrum of colors that are visible to the human eye. The color wheel is made up of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The primary colors are blue, yellow, and red. The secondary colors can be made by combining the primary colors. Secondary colors are green, orange, and purple. The tertiary colors can be made by combining the primary colors with the secondary colors. The tertiary colors are yellow green, yellow, orange, red, orange, red, violet, blue violet, and blue-green or turquoise. Consider your favorite Hughes. Locate them on the color wheel. Are the primary, secondary, or tertiary colors. Where are your favorites positioned on the wheel? How did their positions relate to one another? You might be saying, My favorite color is sky blue or pink. I don't see it on the color wheel. Your favorite might be a tint, tone or shade. Attend a color that has white added to it, such as pink or lavender. A tone as a color that has gray added to it, such as mauve or steel blue. A shade is a color that has black edit to it, such as Navy or Burgundy. My favorite colors are yellow, chartreuse, periwinkle and orange. Yellow is a primary color. It is located between yellow, orange and yellow green on the color wheel. Some versions of Chartreuse I've seen look more like yellow, green. Others have appeared to be a shade of cool yellow and mixed with black. I believe that periwinkle is a tone of blue violet. Yellow, green and blue violet are tertiary colors. Violet is opposite yellow on the color wheel. They are compliments. Blue, violet is next to violet. Yellow green is next to yellow. Yellow green and blue violet sit on the same hemisphere of the color will apply color to the color wheel and primary, secondary, tertiary lessons. As you work, think about your answers to the questions, record notes for your journal, and share your work and thoughts with the class community. 4. Temperature: Temperature is the warm or cool aspect of a color or heat. The color wheel has a warm hemisphere and a cool hemisphere. Violet, blue, violet, blue, turquoise, green and yellow green are cool hues. Yellow, yellow, orange, orange, red, orange, red, and red, violet, or warm heeds. Warm colors come forward visually. While cool colors tend to recede. The artists can use this tool either to enhance the 2D nature of their Canvas and make certain areas pop, or to create a feeling of depth or expanse in their composition. It's also important to consider color relativity in regards to temperature. We will discuss relativity more in depth in a future lesson. But for now it's important to realize that there are cool reds and warm reds, cool blues and warm blues, and cool yellows and warm yellows. The temperature of the primary pigment you use vastly affects the vibrancy of the secondary color you create. Consider your favorite colors. Are you more drawn to warm or cool colors? Look through your five days. Can you find examples of warm colors advancing or cool colors receding? Do you prefer warm reds to cool reds, blues, and yellows, which do you think will make the best secondary palate? Let's experiment and find out. I'm going to start with the temperature experiment lesson. In this lesson, we will mix all six of our primary colors together to see what colors they make. Then we'll use the colors we make to finish filling in our warm and cool temperature flowers and our temperature landscape exercises. Follow the instructions on the exercises and bring your own style to it. Make notes about your answers to the questions or any other thoughts or findings you may have as you work through the temperature exercises. Share your work with the class communities so that others can see your beautiful style and to help each other learn and grow. 5. Chroma vs. Value: Chroma refers to how pure helium is. Value, refers to where he falls on the scale between light and dark. Crema is sometimes also referred to as saturation or intensity. A color lighter in value is referred to as a high key. A middle value color is referred to as a middle key. And a dark value color is referred to as a low key. In order to help you understand and remember the difference between value and chroma. I've created the high-scale. If you ever get confused, just picture the word hi. Here. I've chosen two colors, yellow, green, and red, violet. The I and the word hi is a value scale of grades all the way from white to black. As more white is added to the color, it becomes higher in value. As more black as added, it becomes lower in value. The legs of the H used the yellow, green, and red, violet, but follow the same value scale as the eye. The bar of the H, however, represents the chromosome scale. The two colors, yellow, green, and red, violet, are mixed together gradually as they meet towards the center. Legs of the age. They are more pure color or higher in chroma. Near the center of the bar, the color becomes less pure or lower in Chrome. Just to be sure, let's break it down a little further. The first flower is pure red, violet, and therefore it is high and chroma, it is also middle value. The flower beneath it is great from being mixed with its complement is very low chroma. However, it is very near the same value as the pure red violet flower. In the next row. The top flower, very near white. Therefore, it is a very high value key and very low and crown month. The middle flower is pure red violet. Again, it is very high in chroma, but only middle and values. The last flower on the right has a lot of black mixed in, is very low in value and also very low in chroma, since it is far from pure color. Using the squint test can help you decide about a colours value. Try the squint test on the squares at the bottom. Consider your favorite colors. Are they low or high in coma? Are they high, middle, or low value key? Look around you or through your fetish for examples of high and low chroma and high, middle and low value keys. Print color studies lesson 4, and paint the high-skilled using different colors to explore the difference between chroma and value. As you paint, consider the previous questions. Make notes about your discoveries and share your work with the class community. 6. Color Harmonies: Color harmonies are color combinations that just seem to sync. There are six commonly used color harmonies. Monochromatic pallets are made from the tints, tones and shades of a single hue, such as read. The complimentary palette is created from the compliments, such as yellow and purple. Compliments are colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel. Split complimentary palettes are also based on the compliments, except that they are formed using a color plus the two colors that lie on either side of its complement. Analogous palettes are formed by combining three to four colors that lie next to one another on the color wheel. Triadic pallets are made from colors that create a triangle shape on the color will. Last. We have tetrad palettes. Tetrarchic palettes are created with colors that form either a square or rectangular shape on the color will. Consider your favorite colors. Are any of your favorites complements? Do they match any of the color harmonies? What do you think of monochromatic pallets? Do you tend to like pallets with more or fewer colors? Print color studies lesson 5, use the dotted lines to divide the lesson into quarters. Explore the color harmonies beginning with the labeled lesson. Then explore record and label more harmonies on your own. As you explore, think about the questions from the previous slide. Pencil in the arrows between the colors and label the type of harmony beneath each. Try adding tints, tones, and shades to some of your palettes as well. Add notes to record your process. Share your work with the class community. 7. Color Lab: Welcome to your own personal color lab. I created these templates to aid and inspire you and furthering your color exploration. The most important thing to understand about color is that it is relative. Our eyes perceive a color based upon the environment that we see. Again, the best way to understand more about color is to experiment with color interactions. The color lab includes two journal sized experiment starter pages plus one page of blanks herself started experiments. Two full pages of shapes, lines and squiggles to color, cut and paste into your experiments. And a bonus Swatch palette record or sheet to help you keep track of which colors you use to make that perfect purple. I even put a place for you to mark if you used a warm or cool paint. I hope you'll have fun and make the most of these colors study tools. And as always, please share your work in the class community so that we can see the beautiful things you create. 8. Assembling Your Journal: Assembling your journal is simple. All you really need is a cutting tool, a ruler, and some tape. A surface to cut on, such as a healing matt is also useful. Line up the cover of your journal with the first exercise, the Hughes I love exercise. Make sure that both pages or top side up and then holding them together, flip them over to the back, keep the edges of the pages lined up and tear off a piece of tape long enough to span the entire same. Confidently place the tape over the scene to connect the two pages into a fold. Use your ruler and cutting tool to trim off any excess. Take your pages might be slightly repelled from painting if you have trouble lining them up, use a small piece of tape on each edge to hold the pages in place and then cover the entire scene with a long piece of tape. Finding your studies together like this is a simple way to create a reference journal, and it's easily expandable for the continuance of your color study. As you can add as many pages to it as you like. Put your name and illustrate the front cover however you like, and please share your completed journal with the class community. I can't wait to see your growing journals full of color. 9. Color Theory Wrap Up: Let's take a moment to review. Blue is a hue. The color wheel is made of primary, secondary, and tertiary heaves. Some of the hese are warm and some of them are cool. Uh, here with white added is called a tint. A hue with gray added is a tongue. And, uh, he with black added is called a shape. This painting is also a high value key. This steel blue tone is a medium value key, and this burgundy shade is a low value key. The more pure a hue is, the higher its chroma. A huge chroma is lowered by adding black, white, gray, or by combining two complement colors. Chroma is often referred to as saturation or intensity. This burgundy color is low chroma. It is also a low value p. This pink color is low crime as well, but it is a high-value key. There are six commonly used color harmonies. They are monochromatic, complimentary, split, complimentary, analogous, triadic, and tetrad IQ. There are seven types of contrast. They are hue contrasts, light, dark contrast, cool, warm contrast, complimentary contrast, simultaneous contrast, saturation contrast, and proportion contrast. An artist might use local color to represent the color an object is perceived to be. Or they might utilize arbitrary color to invoke a certain dimension through the use of color modeling. And artists can create the implication of volume or depth without incorporating harsh, light, dark tones into their work. The most important thing to understand is that color is relative. Though they may look different. All four of these dots are exactly the same color. It's been a pleasure to share my love for Kala with you. I hope you will reciprocate by sharing your love of color in the class community. Sincerest, thanks for spending this time with me, your friend, Stephanie Lynn.