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Illustrator's Palette

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Hello,
I have been working on illustrations for a pb book I wrote. I'm self taught and learn from videos, blogs, books and mostly by practice. I also study pb illustrations.

Palette is something I don't see discussed much except sometimes very generally, like"she uses a limited palette."

My illustrations are very colorful. I like them. But I'm not sure if they're amateurish because of a very full palette.
So, professional illustrators, please help me. Is there a set number of colors to use in a pb? Any thoughts to enlighten me will be most appreciated!

Thank you,
Nancy
#1 - September 05, 2015, 02:04 PM
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." ~ Oprah

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I don't keep to a set number, i use as many colors as the project demands, but I do carefully choose my colors, and will use the same red throughout, same green, etc. I will usually pick two reds, two greens, etc of different hues for depth. For the sake of consistency I no longer mix colors (except for flesh tones) but use straight from the tube. I keep an illustration journal and list what colors I used for each element of illustrations for a project. I use those little round plastic palettes you can get from the dollar store, label each color with a sharpie, and write the project name on the back. I buy new palettes for each project.

I'm self taught as well, so I think it's OK to do what works for you as long as you are consistent.
#2 - September 05, 2015, 03:59 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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 Thank you! I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question.  :thankyou
I like the idea of a journal - much more organized than my notes everywhere. All of your advice is very helpful.

Best, Nancy
#3 - September 05, 2015, 10:00 PM
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 10:05 PM by nancy-salus »
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Thank you for starting this thread, Nancy! And thank you for the excellent advice, Arty! Hugs! :)
#4 - September 08, 2015, 01:44 PM

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#5 - September 08, 2015, 03:28 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

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My pleasure, Mercedes!
And Arty's answer was very helpful😀
#6 - September 08, 2015, 06:02 PM
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." ~ Oprah

I agree with Artemisia,great advice :)
#7 - September 09, 2015, 09:08 AM

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I used a limited palette on my latest painting. A yellow, a red, a blue and a green. The final image is still very colorful. (the image is here: http://www.wendymartinillustration.com/turtle-tower/)

The appeal of a limited palette is in the consistency of tone and chroma throughout the painting.

The last book I illustrated also had a limited palette of 8 tube paints. I tend to work assembly style to maintain color consistency throughout the book, I mix up a large bowl of color for items that need to remain the same color from start to finish and paint those items all at once, then add final touches to the pages for the other colors which vary from each page.

There are some tube paints that blend so well, you can use two colors to paint a very colorful scene.

I work in watercolor, so the white of the paper can also be considered a color. I tend to use white gouache to reclaim some whites at the end of a painting, but I don't consider that part of my palette.

To learn more about limited palettes one needs to head into the fine art side of things. There are lot of pages out there if you Google it. A good fine artist to learn from about the use of color is Hilary Page. Another good one is illustrator James Gurney. Both have in-depth books on the subject.
#8 - September 10, 2015, 05:14 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (PiƱata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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Thank you, Wendy!
I enjoyed looking at your art😀 and I can see how there is still color though the palette is limited.
I appreciate your advice and recommendations - I'll check out those authors you mentioned.

Back to the drawing board...🎨
Gratefully yours,
Nancy
#9 - September 10, 2015, 01:55 PM
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." ~ Oprah

Nancy

There is nothing wrong with using bright colors per say...as long as the colors do not get too busy and hurt your composition. I think an important part of choosing the right colors is understanding what they do in terms of composition. A simple example would be if I painted a bright red apple in a background of mainly greens, you'll ensure that apple will stand out because it's a complimentary color. And how much you want that apple to stand out will determine how bright and/or saturated the color red you choose. And likewise, how bright and/or saturated your greens will be. My suggestion is the go on Youtube and watch some videos on color and composition, it's a valuable tool in how you create art. Definitely worth learning. 

Good luck

Donald
#10 - September 14, 2015, 12:35 PM

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This is really important- I don't think there is anything inherently 'wrong' with using any color palette, just be sure to do it for a reason.  For example, I see many talented artists who use saturated color EVERYWHERE in the image- to me that is a waste.  Use color to your advantage- keep it saturated in the focal point, and desaturate elsewhere.  Lead the viewer's eye around with color- just like you would with line and shape. It's not a coloring book- you are telling a story with color just as much as images.
This is why I created my Pintrest "color theory for artists" board.  (I don't use Pintrest for followers, I use it mainly as a swipe file)  I often go there and reference limited palettes for my current illustration. (Pintrest is GREAT as a reference file- and it doesn't take up any space on your computer).
It's hard to do this! You have to really control yourself and not veer off.  James Gurney has whole books/blog/ etc. about this topic.  He calls it 'color gamut'.  There are examples he has in "Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter" - it is the single BEST book I ever read on color. Changed the way I work.  I learned more in this $16.95 book than  art school!
Good luck!
#11 - September 18, 2015, 10:08 AM

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What a great thread! Every time I come there's more wonderful advice! Thank you all! :)
#12 - September 26, 2015, 08:15 AM

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Thank you, Donald. I've been watching videos about color and composition - SUPER helpful for me.
This has been the missing piece for me. I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my question.
 :running
Best,
Nancy
#13 - September 27, 2015, 05:45 AM
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 :paint Denise, thanks for your advice. I will check out his blog and books. I couldn't find your Pinterest board. But anything about color theory will be helpful.
Thanks everyone, for VERY helpful advice. This is the next step on my journey...
#14 - September 27, 2015, 06:14 AM
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." ~ Oprah

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