Anna Day

Calligrapher & Designer



Fun with Colour Adjustments

After reading the article by Justin Mezzell, I designed a simple geometric pattern using the same five-colour palette he uses for illustrating his methods. He says it comes directly from default Illustrator swatches. Since he gives the hex codes, I was able to reproduce the colours. As Justin suggests, I ensured that each colour interacts with every other colour. I used my pattern to explore the adjustments and create a lot of variations, not to try for a 'perfect' result.

I don't have Illustrator, so I am using Affinity Designer. That application includes Curves, Levels, and Brightness/Contrast adjustments, so I had no need to switch to Affinity Photo. I applied only one adjustment at a time, not multiple adjustments in sequence. Each picture includes a brief description of the adjustment used.









Finally I had a go at changing Hayden's Invisible Friend. I love Hayden's blue-green versus red-violet contrast, and those colours have the advantage of connecting the boy (I see him as a boy, not a man) and the invisible friend against the background. Nevertheless I found the effect eerie (probably intended) and even a bit threatening (probably not intended). The eyes and mouth of the invisible friend really bothered me, so I changed the colours of those directly to be in keeping with the eyebrows. All the other changes are non-destructive adjustments to parts of the picture, plus a yellow-orange overlay over the whole. I made the scene slightly more realistic, with a brown brick wall and brighter green grass. The red jacket and umbrella contrast nicely with the grass. The invisible friend is sort of a darker shade of the rain, so it is like the rain itself is choosing not to dampen the boy.


Thanks for letting me rework your picture, Hayden. I was amazed at how totally the colours could be changed with these techniques. And thanks for a great class! I have used some of these adjustments before, and often play with blending modes, but Curves always seemed very obscure, and I never thought of applying a Brightness Contrast adjustment to a finished drawing.


Please sign in or sign up to comment.