Color Theory for Artists: A Complete Beginner's Guide - PART 1 | Patricia Caldeira | Skillshare

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Color Theory for Artists: A Complete Beginner's Guide - PART 1

teacher avatar Patricia Caldeira, Illustrator | Digital Artist | Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome and Course Overview!


    • 2.

      Color Scheme Resources


    • 3.

      Guiding the Viewer with Color


    • 4.

      RGB vs CMYK - When to Use Each


    • 5.

      The Color Wheel - All You Need To Know


    • 6.

      Fun Assignment Time!


    • 7.

      EXTRA: My Step by Step Assignment


    • 8.

      Conclusion For Now! Part 2 IS LIVE!


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About This Class

Master Color Theory from the ground up, improve your artwork ten-fold! Learn how to give intensity and mood to your Art.

Make your artwork stand out by using Color Theory correctly!

What's this Class about?

This Class is all about explaining Color Theory in a very simple, but thorough way! So if you're a complete beginner to color theory or you already know a bit about it, this is the Class for you. 

This is the first part of 2 classes on Color Theory.

We'll be going through all the basics, from the importance of color, the definition of Hue, Saturation, Value and how to use them in full, all the way to expressing emotion with Color and all the Color Harmonies you need to know about. 

By the end of the class, you'll be able to create better and more expressive Art using Color.

Whether you're a game artist, photographer, designer, programmer or anything similar, you'll get a lot of value with this class by learning Color Theory.

I'm here to Help You

If you have any doubt or need any help, I'm here to clear it up. 

I'm a Designer and Artist with over 10 years of experience and I'm ready to answer your questions as soon as possible. There's also a helpful community in the class, so if you need any help I'm sure everyone else is also able to give you a hand!

Remember that if you feel stuck with any definition, one example that you didn't quite understand or something similar, I'm right here to help you out. So just use the Q&A section, and I'll get back to you right when I'm able.

Clear and Easy to Understand

There are no long videos with long sentences of definitions straight from Wikipedia here. 

I break down every single aspect of Color Theory to make it easier for you understand, along with a lot of helpful examples from pop culture that you may have already seen around! 

This will help you better understand everything that I'm talking about without being bored out of your mind while watching text slides one after the other.

Put your Skills to the Test

I'm also including practical assignments so that you can get your hands on your newly found skills right away. 

Put your skills to the test by practicing what you learn. I believe that this is the best way to understand ANY topic, by actually working on it.

I'll reply back to the assignments as soon as possible (normally between 24 and 72 hours) and tell you what went right and what went wrong with the assignment.

I'll go over it as many times as you need so that you can grow your skills!

Here's a taste of what we'll be talking about

  • Using the Right Color Schemes
  • Resources for Color Schemes and Palettes
  • Color Temperature
  • Color Harmonies
  • RGB vs CMYK and when to use each one
  • Creating Mood in your Art
  • Expressing Emotion with Color
  • and more!

This is the first part of 2 classes on Color Theory.

In this first part we'll tackle some great resources for you to use for your art, how to guide the viewer with color, the differences between RGB and CMYK, everything there is to know about the Color Wheel and more!

Everything that you need to know about Color Theory is right here.

Start watching now!



UPDATE: Part 2 is now LIVE!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Patricia Caldeira

Illustrator | Digital Artist | Designer


Patricia Caldeira is a Freelancer Artist working in Illustration, Design and similar Artwork.

She graduated in Graphic Design and Multimedia and soon after started working on her own independent company "Don Corgi", doing work for several Streamers, Game Developers, Youtubers, and even selling Cards and Social Media Icons at her Etsy Store.

You can find more about her, her work and Drawing Tutorials and Tips at Don Corgi.

In the recent past She has:

- Co-Founded the Don Corgi Art Group;
- Collaborated with Programmers, Game Designers, Musicians, Youtubers, Twitchers and more!
- Taught over 14.000 people on different platforms;

Join her Class on Character Design, Gesture Drawing!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome and Course Overview!: Hello and welcome. This is the first we do off this class and I just want to queue. You be welcome and thank you for joining. I hope we learn a lot about this Qala jury class and that you have fun while doing so. This class will be divided into two parts, so we'll start with the basics in this one and move to more advanced concepts in the next class. So let's talk about all the great things that will be learning here. So, as I said, we'll start with the basics. First will be talking about how you can use caller to guide the fewer on your artwork. This is something that will help you with the composition in your artwork. Then we're going to go through the differences between entropy and speak so you don't use the wrong mode. If you're working digitally and finally will be going to the color will, we're going to talk all about primary colors, secondary and tertiary and what else there is to know about the cholera. But first I want to give you some awesome resource is so you can use right away to improve your artwork. So I'll see you in the next video 2. Color Scheme Resources: Hello and welcome. I'm very happy to have you here. And before we go and start talking about color and everything there is to know about it, I just want to show you some websites. Stairs I usually use toe choose colors whenever I'd I'm not really sure what goes with what's or I just don't know which colors to use. And I'm going to give them to you to help you as well. So the 1st 1 is schoolers dot co So this one works with Pollitz. I'm going to show you right now. So this is it when you type building that I just show you. You come over here and it will automatically show you apart and this is how it works. It is very simple to use. It will just give you or it will just generate palates for you to choose from. This is really nice for when either you don't know which colors toe to use in your paintings or just for experimenting. Let's say you just want toe work with colors and you want to have a better understanding and get creative way to colors you you have This is a good way to go with pallets that are a lot off palette prompts in the Internet. You if you just type them in. For example, if I go over here, followed bronze and I can go just for the images. For example, there's one here. As you can see, you have some Pollitz to choose from. You have a character or creature and that Seymour style, and you either can close your eyes, pointing at one words. Write it down right in other words, then choose the polit and you just need to create. You're trying with the colors that you're given or, if you want to, can just roll a die, or just choose wherever you want. This is a really good exercise toe. Work more creatively with your colors. Since you have a limited range, you have to be very creative on how to use them and to make the drawing look good in them. So if you're interested in that, if you have some free time and you want toe, do some experiences, you always have this exercise. I really like to do it. It's really fun, and I also like to see what others come up with going back toe the website and just talk to you about. So as you can see, it will generate the pallets. And if you're not happy with the one that it gave you, you can just click over here, generate, and we'll give you a new one once again. If you don't want to go to the pattern writer, just rest your space far and there we go. We have tons off pallets to use. Now let's say that I look up that one and I decided, Yes, this is it. So first thing you have done here, then they must call her and the coat for it. So if you decided to use this, you can just copy the coat and place it on a drawing softer and other option, maybe can be easy for you or not. You can save this, you save the image and then you can open it in your drawing software. Go to your color peak too, and pick all the colors and use your brush toe. Add a little splash of color so you have the colors always there in your document in the different layers for you to go and pick them up Another interesting thing here is so I have this boat. But let's say I'm not really into this red over here. So one thing I can do is go over here and see alternative shades so it will give me all the shades inside this red or this pinkish color, and I could choose any off this. So let's see. So I chose this one. Another thing is, you can drag your colors around and organize them in other ways. It might help you Israel, to see how the colors combined with each other. And finally, you can also adjust the color. So let's go to this one. This time I can come up over here, and we have this bars that we can move around and shoes something that we like more. So you have total freedom in which colors you'll have. You can change the colors that you get. So this is it for just one. It's free to use. It's always here. So if you need come up over here and to some fun palates for you to use now next, we have politan dot com. This is also very popular, and the main reason for it is because not only it will give us a polit. It will give us many tones inside off each color. But you can choose color schemes, color harmonies. Now we'll talk about this later on on this class, but I'm going to show you more or less how this website works. So as you can see right now, you can only choose one caller. This is because the color scheme that we have chosen is the monochromatic. So when you're using a monochrome multi color scheme, you're only using one color. So this is why this is all you're seeing. One call. But as you can see inside this one color, you have manu tones to choose from. So when you choose one, as you can see you know the site, you'll be given a lot off other tones that you can use, and you can also just how you want your color to be. It can be more vibrant, more saturated. It can go, can be less saturated and going almost to the gray, but it can be really dark, so you can mortis around as you want. Now you also have here some presets, so instead, off walking around there. And Justin, how you want. You have years, some choices for you that you can pick up. You'll be shown here the Palatinate in bigger formats, and then, if you want to choose from color, you can come up. Over here, you have here the codes opiates and then place it in your drawing softer. It's really simple to use, and as you can see, there's more than one colors came to choose from. So if you want to use three colors, you can move this around and it will give you a lot off options. Now. Another thing that I want to mention is that you also can see examples off the scholar skins being used. For example, if you come over here, you have in up artwork, for example, you can choose like random flowers, and it gives you an example off course. These are all very basic, but he can give you an idea of how the colors will look like combined, and also if you want to see the colors in another way, you can also come up over here. See the colors that were chosen and their codes. Once again, you can copy them, and placing the drunks after these combinations can be easier to use because usually by choosing a color scheme, the colors will always be very, um, onions and blending together. This is always a good one to go for. For example, in coolers, I would use more for experimenting. But if you already have your work and you're just not sure if the colors you want to use will look good with each other or you chose one color but not the others, this is a good way to go for the last one. This isn't really related to caller, but I'm going to use it to show you some examples, so I just want to talk to you about it a bit. This is basically a trying software, but in your brother, of course, you can always unload it. But as you can see, this is a design up. It's free, and it's mostly for vector, and you can use it as well to money plate your images or photographs. So as you can see, if you go to use it on mine, it will open a new window with the software itself, and you just need to choose your campers. You can write something up here or choose one that it's already made. So I'm just going to pick up a knife for and this is really good for either factors. So if you want to create some Aikens some very simple logos, this is a good thing to use. It's very simple, so you can't really go overboard with it. But it's really nice to use it if you want to do simple things. So if you want, for example, to import something off yours, you can just come over here toe to file import place image. And then I'm going to pick this one, for example. And there we go. So now you have a tear. You have here some options, as you can see. So if you're interested in this and or you don't have a design software on your computer and you need to do very simple things, do feel food to put this as your favorites. Like I said, it is free. So having it very close and always ready won't hurt you, and this is all for the resource is. So next we're going toe start to talk about color 3. Guiding the Viewer with Color: Hello and welcome back. So a tiny intro about color and how to use it. So when you're using color, you're not just handedly adding colors to your drawings. You're trying to tell something with it. It doesn't need to be anything to profound. Sometimes all you want to say is, Hey, look at this part off the painting. This is the most important one or other times. It can be just a This is a bit off a set of scene, and you can do it true color. So in short, it is important to use collar correctly to be able to create the right atmosphere and to be able tow, express the right message that you want to. So there's a lot of ways to use caller. The 1st 1 is to create a mood or atmosphere. You can also use it to create emotion, for example, if you're familiar with it or you probably already heard about this. But usually certain emotions are associate ID with colors, for example, anger is usually associated with red, while sadness is associate ID with blue. That's why sometimes we say I've got the blues and a very good example off this being used . It's a movie inside out. This is the Pixar movie, an animated movie. So if you watch it, you surely noticed how calories used not only to create an atmosphere but also to show emotion. So here we can see some off the characters, and each one off them represents an emotion inside off the character. So, for example, you can very clearly see that the blue one is sadness, and the red one is anger now. Like I said, these movie also shows and creates atmosphere very well. Using color, let's see another example. So right here we see our main character, who's the keys? Weeds, her parents. She's at home. She's having your meal. But one thing you might notice is how colorful the picture is. Everything in here is very bright colors, even if they can be a bit more neutral colors like the purple off the shirts and the gray off the father shirt, they still have a very vibrant quality to it. There's a lot off light here, so we can clearly see that this is a happy scene. Now. If we fast forward, it beats in the movie, we have our Cowser moving into a new city, which he isn't happy about. Now this is very clearly shown not only for her actions or the expression she she's showing , but also through the color. As you can see, this is very different from the picture before, where everything is scholar, everything is vibrant here. Everything is very dark that aren't a lot of colors here. Besides the mom scholar. Maybe because she's the only who's really comfortable with the move, you can take any interpretation that you want from it. But the truth is that true, this colors. You can clearly see that this scene isn't as happy as the one before. This is set Erstein. Clearly, our main character isn't happy with the situation. Now. Another thing you can use color for is to break monotony. Now the best way to explain this to you is by showing our next example, so I'm not sure if you're familiar with Sin City. It isnot Onley, a famous movie actually movies. There's two movies, but it's a very famous and popular comic, and the comic books are especially known for their use off color or, more importantly, the use off color to contrast the black and whites. The whole comic book is in black and whites, except for some splashes off color here and there. And, of course, when making the movies, they did take inspiration from this. So the whole movie is in black and white, except that beat off color that will break the monotony off the picture. So as you can see here we have black and white seen but are female character here? The character on the left has her coat in blue. Not this is a good way to wake up the viewer. The viewer can be looking at the black and white movie, for example, and even consciously think might stop paying as much attention as they would until they're suddenly this flash of color. We are basically awake, and we are looking at the scholar Now. This does break them or not any but his bring us toe our next point, which is using color to grab the viewers attention. So, like we've just seen, that was an example. We see the color, we automatically look at it. Our attention was scrapped for it, and we know what is important. Subject there Another example. We have here the spending and the same happens here. Not only we have the men's subject looking directly at the US, but her color. Scrap our attention immediately, even though we have some whites here, a bit off blue in the face right there, the woods, where the lightest touching is also quite vibrant. There's nothing here that IHS more vibrant and saturated than the red from the men subjects shirt. So when we look at this spending, our eyes would automatically go into the main subject and using color this way, not on Lee grabs our attention, but it also serves for composition and balance. We have here another great example off this being used. We have a very big space off flights and bright colors right in the middle, while everything around it doesn't have that much flight. And even though it still has a very bright colors, they are not as right as our centre dispensing is very well organized. It has a very simple composition, but what makes this composition balanced is the use off color. So in short, let's see everything all together. Now we can use caller to tell a story so as you've seen special in the beginning, with our character moving away, going from a more happier place toe a different place, which is not really looking forward to to create a mood or atmosphere. The same example goes here. Also, you can use your colors toe express an emotion. You can use scholar to break monotony either. If you're doing something that only has one color are there isn't a lot off contrast in AIDS. You can use color to create a bit of contrast and give it something else to your painting. We can also grab the viewers attention. This is the most important one. We always want to guides our viewer. We are the ones who decides where to look in the paintings, and the best way to do this is true color. And finally, we can use our color for composition. Not only when you're blending are trying is doing your sketches and organizing everything. You can also make this composition very clear and balanced with the colors you use and how you use them. So this is all for now. Next, we're going to learn about color modes. What are the and water for and why they're so important? So I'll see you there 4. RGB vs CMYK - When to Use Each: Hello and welcome back. We are now going to talk about core modes, specifically RGB and speak. This is very important if you paints digitally. If you work on your computer, you might have noticed it in every drawing software. These molds are always there in the most important wants to know, So let's get into them. Let's see what each one off this means. RGB stands for red, green and blue, and the most important thing you want to know about it is that if you're working for something that will be displayed on the screen, you want to use RGB all the time. This is the color mold you want to have active, and then we have speak that stands for CNN, Magenta, yellow and key Key is the color black here. Now, if you're drawing in on your computer, but you're going to print at work, pay very intention to this. Who wants to have speak? Molds active? Why? Very simple. When you're working on your computer, your colors will look good. Why? Because they are being displayed on the screen, and if it's an RGB, it will look as it should on the screen. But then you go and print your document, you goto your printer or to someplace to print your work, and then you go to the shock off having your colors all wrong. This happens because when you're printing something, the colors are different than from the screens. So always pay attention to this. If you want to print your work, make sure you have speak mode activated. So, like I said, RGB is to be displayed on screens, so you feel doing something. If you're doing a website, for example, if you're doing a game or up, you have RGB. I'm going to spend this little bits more so you can understand. So our screens are made of pixels, thousands off them, and if you see them closer and closer, you'll come up toe tree small pixels, which iss one red, one green and one blue. This pixels will overlap with each other until the form other colors. So as you can see if we overlap the blue with the crane who have a centam, the green with the rest will have a yellow tone, so all these pixels will overlap with each other until they'll form your image. Now, another thing that that's interesting with this colors modes is that if we overlap each off this, scholars completely will get white. And this is why we call the RGB color modes and additive mode. On the other hand, we have speak. So as you can see CeCe quality opposites from Rajabi. If you overlap, every caller will get black. But if we take each color out, we'll get white, and this is why we call to speak a subtracted color mult. So, like I said, if you want to print your work, always make sure that you have speak color modes active. When you're printing something, each color is layered together until it produces your final image. This is basically official example off. What happens with your colors when you're using speak. So very simply put, you're printed. Image is made out off thousands off dots, yellow CNN and magenta dots, and as you can see, the bigger the dot the more that colorist represented. But the more they overlap each other, the darker debt color will be until it goes black. So this is it for color modes. If you draw a traditional, you don't need to worry about this But if you work on your computer or iPad digitally, you always want to pay addition to these modes. So you're doing your work to be displayed on screens. Let's say you're doing some game arts. You're doing some Aiken's for an APP website, a game you want to use our chubby. But if you want to print your work, so if you're doing some posters, cards, Kovar, letters, postcards, you want to use this make color mode, that's it for now, and I'll see you next. 5. The Color Wheel - All You Need To Know: Okay, by now, you're probably asking yourself. Hey, I came here for color, and you haven't really showed me. Caller. Yes. Well, get ready. This really? You will have all the colors you want. We're going to talk about the Kola real and what's in it. The money question is, what is the color real? Very. Simply put, it is a visual representation off the color whose So if you go to your trying software, you'll noticed a lot of times a wheel off colors on it. And then inside there's maybe a triangle or square where you can choose more specifically which color to you once, if you want brighter, darker, more vibrant or less vibrant. But you always have that representation off color that will with the main colors that exist . So we have here a very simple color wheel. Here, we can see each color in their defaults view. These are the color that exists, and then inside of each one off this, we have different tones, darker or lighter, more or less firings. So how do we build this will? The first thing you want to know is that there are three groups off colors, probably as a kids, you had some exercises with color where we learned colors. So first we will learn about primary colors. Our teachers will come to us and tell us these are the primary colors. They cannot be formed by mixing other colors. They exist as they are. So we are given a sheet of paper and we pain some circles one red, one blue and one yellow. And then we ask ourselves, Where do the other scholars come from? And then the teachers tell us, Well, then we have secondary colors. These colors come from mixing each off the primary colors, and now we have crane, orange and purple. So we make this experience. We makes blue and yellow, and we see that we get green. Henry makes reds and yellow and we got orange. And finally, when we mix blue and reds, we get purple. So we already got two main groups off our cholera. Now we are missing on Lee one, which are the tertiary colors. This you get by mixing primary colors with secondary colors. Not this is when it gets confusing. We decided to call this colors yellow, orange, red, orange, red violets, blue violence blue, green and yellow green. Well, the first thing you you want to know here is you don't need to worry about his names you want really needed. You can call them darker yellow, brighter orange, pink, purple. You know natori about this, but if you're curious to make it easier to identify them, we named them with a primary color first. So this means that by mixing blue with green, we get to blow grain. If he makes the red with purple, we get red. Violet. So this is how this colors work. Once again, you don't really need to know these names. This is just for curiosity's sake. And if you never thought about how the color real is made, well, now you know. 6. Fun Assignment Time!: we reached the end of her class. Before we jump into our conclusion. It's time for a small assignment. We talked about the use of pallets to aid you in choosing the color scheme for your painting. Let's put this into practice. 10. I made this small, prompt least. You can either choose one pallet in one word and draw it, or you can choose at random. For example, roller tie. Just close your eyes and point at your screen. Once you have both the colors and your seem, draw them. Remember, the colors in the palette are the only ones you're allowed to use. All right, that's it for now. Have fun and feel free to share your artwork with me. I'm really curious with what you can come up with. 7. EXTRA: My Step by Step Assignment: All right, so photo polit trying Brant's. Like I said, you can just blindly point to one pilot and one word and do them our choose one that you want a roll A dice. Since I like dice, I'm going to roll some right now to know which palette I'm going to use And what am I going to draw with it? So I just went to random that ark where you can roll some dice. But if you do have Sundays at home, it's way more fun. So let's see what I'm going to get going to roll to dies and one and five. So the first Pollitz and I need to draw my favorite food, huh? Okay. We'll see what we can do with this then. 8. Conclusion For Now! Part 2 IS LIVE!: So what? So you think Have you enjoyed the class? Did I give you good tips and information on how to become a better artist using color? I honestly hope so. And I would like Toa take small time to thank you for joining the class and for being part off this amazing community. I'm always striving to be better. So if there's anything that you think I could do to improve this class, please let me know also to consider leaving a review so others can find the scores and money from it as well. Now, depending on when you're seeing this, there will be a second part to this class posted on my profile. If it's not there yet, do feel free to check my other classes. If you're interesting improving your artwork step by step. Thank you again So much for joining the class and hopefully else you in my other classes. So my foot now