This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Choosing color – the trick of the proper palette.

May 19th #BPDummy challenge chat 9 PM eastern

We’re coming to the end of the creating final art section of the challenge. By now you should have decided on a style and a medium. The last thing to consider is the color palette.

As illustrators, we’ve discussed how our art needs to add to the story put down in the text. We were talking about the drawings, the characters and the story inside the story. In case you never thought of it this way before, did you know that your color is another layer in story telling? Another character, as it were?

That’s right. The colors you choose, the way you use them help to tell the story.

A story that takes place mainly at night will be cool muted colors, shades of blues, purples and greens. Tuesday by David Wiesner is a perfect example of this. http://www.amazon.com/Tuesday-David-Wiesner/dp/0395870828/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305732734&sr=1-1

A story like Red Ridinghood would have colors that help depict the storyline of danger and deceit. Reds, bright purples and shocking oranges might be included in such a pallete. http://www.amazon.com/Little-Riding-Caperucita-Bilingual-Fairy/dp/0811825620/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305732945&sr=1-4

When deciding on a color palette keep in mind the mood of your story. Is it funny? Scary? Historical? Does it take place at night? Inside? Underwater? IS your style realistic? Or is it more stylized?

It is also a good idea to check out color theory as it relates to fine art. The practices of using tone and complementary colors to highlight the center of interest also translate into picture book illustration. The job of an artist is to lead the viewer’s eye around the art. As a picture book illustrator, you have to do that as well as lead the viewer out of the right hand page so they will turn the page. All this can be accomplished with thoughtful use of color.

And the last thing you have to keep in mind has to do with the final product, the printed piece. The colors you use, whether you paint traditionally or digitally have to be reproducible. Pale yellows and blues in watercolor, while lovely, will most likely leach out in the scanning and reproduction processes. Those bright tones you see on the computer screen are RGB while the printing piece uses CMYK. Make sure the colors you choose will reproduce in the book the way you intended by avoiding non-printing colors.

So what’s holding you back? Go paint already!

Some suggested links:






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