The Story I’ll Paint: Part 4 – Color Magic, Plus a Giveaway
Welcome to part four of my series on the making of The Story I’ll Tell. (Read down to the end of the post for the first print giveaway!) And now: color.
The Story I’ll Tell weaves a lyrical tapestry of fantasy and reality, and I wanted the palette of the illustrations to match the lush, dreamlike quality of the manuscript. I noticed early on that the story alternated between daytime and nighttime scenes, and I knew this would become an important element in the illustrations.
Reference images were the starting point. These Ukiyo-e prints were the inspiration for the blue nighttime pages. Matching the color was not a priority so much as capturing the mood of the image. I tied to imagine how it might feel, physically and emotionally, to step into these peaceful nighttime scenes.
Once I knew what I was going for, I made a detailed color study for each image Photoshop. I find this useful for getting the value range correct. (For those not familiar with art terminology, value is the measure of how light or dark something is. Not to be confused with saturation, which is a measure of how vivid the color’s hue is.) Ideally I want the illustrations to read just as clearly in black and white as they do in color, and good value organization is essential. Coloring an image in Photoshop is such a mindless activity that I listened to quite a few audiobooks during this phase. Then I made a full-color, printed dummy.
Finally, I painted color studies and chose an overall palette for the book. I wanted to use similar pigments throughout the book, and I needed a blue that could work either with a warm (daytime) or cool (nighttime) color palette. I tried quite a few combinations before I settled on Holbein’s French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow light, and Winsor Red, with other colors as needed. I went through a tube and a half of blue.
Okay, you’ve been waiting for it: it’s giveaway time! Leave a comment for a chance to win a giclée print from the book. (It has to be a real comment. If it’s about Louis Vuitton handbags or search engine optimization, I’ll delete it.) Winner will be announced this Friday, October 23. And if you don’t win this time, you’ll have another chance next week with my final installment in the series.
Coming up next: Painting with Guts! The final art, and how to avoid being wimpy with watercolor.
Other posts in the series:
- Part 1 – Getting Started
- Part 2 – Finding Harmony
- Part 3 – Devil’s in the Details
- Part 4 – Color Magic
- Part 5 – Painting with Guts