Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Leveling Up - Experimenting with Color Theory

I have been painting at a high silver level for a long time, I haven't received anything lower than a silver medal at Reaper for three years now. The issue is I'm not hitting the gold level either. So for next year's ReaperCon (as well as Genghis Con) I'm really going to try to push the envelope and getting over that gold finish line. My objectives are quite ambitious, but I'm at the "Go big or go home" stage. I currently have plans for three dioramas, four conversions, four singles and one vehicle. All selected to really push myself. I'm aiming for a gold in each of the four categories and I want my Reaper entries to be at least considered for a Sophie, whether I get one isn't relevant (I have two silver Sophies but that was before we went to the medal format, still more than most people!), I just want to make the cut for Sophies.

With that in mind I have been playing around with basing, the results of my last two posts, and really paying more attention to colors. I asked Anne a lot of questions after the convention and she recommended a book "Color and Light" by James Gurney (creator of Dinotopia). I acquired the book and I have been sifting through it for a couple of weeks now. I also figured out (thank you Anne) why the color wheels you can buy are pretty inadequate for our needs. While I understood basic color theory the concept of a six color wheel really turned on some lights for me.

I asked Anne, again, about which Reaper colors were close to the artist tube colors in the example I saw. What she suggested were close, but weren't going to be exact, its kind of the nature of the pigments and the various chemical processes used to make our paints. Oh and by the way, all hobby paints are made with liquid pigments, so why Privateer Press thinks that's a selling point is beyond me. What's really important is the base, its the base plus the pigments that give us paint.

I started the color wheel today. The results were not quite what I expected. Part of that is I'm using hobby paints which are going to behave a bit different from the artist colors. I think the other thing that gave me some odd results is that I just don't know what ratios they really use to get the tones and the shadows. They talk about adding white, a little more white and then a little more white, which is far from exact. Also I'm not sure if the shadow colors should be mixed from equal proportions or by adding just a dab, the same with the grays. Anyway just more for me to think about.

Here is the color wheel that I managed to create today. I didn't quite finish it since I'm not sure I was creating the shadows and grays correctly. 

The location where I keep pictures created this graphic. Kind of cool.

Adding in the reds and yellows. All from Reaper; Ultramarine Shadow, Sapphire blue, Clear Yellow, Sun Yellow and Crimson Red. I'm missing the Republique Red which is out of their Heavy Gear Paint range, I'll have to order that. So this wheel is actually a variation of the one I intended to make since it just uses one red instead of two.

Creating the violets. There isn't a lot of separation between the colors, I may have to add more ultramarine blue on one side and more crimson red on the other.

Filling out the "secondary" colors. Didn't really get the orange I was expected. The green looks okay.

Creating the tones for the secondary colors by adding white. I'm just not sure I added enough white (same for the primary colors"

The tertiary colors going in and getting their tones

The wheel's inner ring is complete

The shadow is in the fifth ring, the main color plus its opposite. I mixed 50/50 here and that might be to dark. The "gray" is the shadow plus white. I'm pretty sure that I have this mixed wrong.

My idea here is to be able to create a unique color wheel for each of the entries based on the main primary colors I'm using. From this I can also create a gamut map which would let me select a limited palette and be confident that everything will work together and that I can create every color within the map.

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