Creating Realistic Color: A Primer for Beginners | Kendyll Hillegas | Skillshare

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Kendyll Hillegas, Artist & Illustrator

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11 Lessons (1h 12m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Color Terminology

    • 3. Color Relationships

    • 4. Learning to See Value

    • 5. Learning to See Hue, Saturation & Temp

    • 6. Single Pigment vs Pre Mixed

    • 7. Building a Palette and Color Mixing Basics

    • 8. Demo Part 1

    • 9. Demo Part 2

    • 10. Common Pitfalls

    • 11. Wrap Up & Class Project

29 students are watching this class

About This Class

As a professional illustrator, some of the most common questions I hear from beginning and aspiring artists are related to color:

  • "How do you know what color to use?"
  • "How can I learn to see more colors in my reference?"
  • "How do you mix and match the color you see in a reference?"
  • “How can I create realistic color in my own work?”

This class is for anyone who has ever asked these sorts of question about color, or struggled to create realistic color in their own painting.


We’re going to unpack these questions (and others!), and tackle color for traditional media artists in a systematic, comprehensive way. In the class we'll cover 5 essential skills related to color, and will learn to:

  1. Identify basic color characteristics, like value, saturation and temperature
  2. Build color harmony & relationships and use the color wheel 
  3. Build a palette and use single-pigment media and blended pigment media
  4. Use comparison to accurately see the colors in your reference
  5. Mix colors you see in your reference, and match them in your painting

We’ll have a series of sit down lessons where I’ll unpack each of these concepts, and then a detailed demo where I’ll create a painting from start to finish, explaining all of my color decisions as I go.


This class is best suited for traditional media artists who have some familiarity with drawing, but want to take their skills up a notch and learn how to paint from a reference with realistic, beautiful color.