Us­ing colour

Chris Le­gaspi helps you build on your core anatomy skills by pre­sent­ing his tips for sketch­ing the hu­man form in colour

ImagineFX - - Issue 108 May 2014 - Chris is keen to share his knowl­edge of art and pic­ture mak­ing. You can see more of his work at www.freshde­

Colour sep­a­rates paint­ing from draw­ing, bring life and vi­brancy to paint­ings and sketches. Yet be­cause colour is so com­plex, I pre­fer to sim­plify colour and limit the colours I use as much as pos­si­ble. And to do this I must first prop­erly shift a colour’s tem­per­a­ture.

Tem­per­a­ture is a property of colour that’s of­ten mis­un­der­stood. It refers to how warm or cool a colour is. I de­fine warm colours as red, yel­low and or­ange. Cool colours are blue, green and vi­o­let. Tem­per­a­ture is rel­a­tive, so any colour has a warm and cool ver­sion.

One way to ap­ply this to fig­ure paint­ing is by start­ing with only two colours, us­ing burnt umber as my warm and ul­tra­ma­rine blue as the cool. They en­able me to cre­ate a range of warm and cool greys of vary­ing value and in­ten­sity. Once I com­plete the first pass of colour, I’ll then add vari­a­tions and tem­per­a­ture shifts.

Vari­a­tion and tem­per­a­ture shifts are the se­cret to mak­ing colour feel be­liev­able. For ex­am­ple, I’ll add a wash of yel­low to the light side of the skin to en­hance the colour. Next, I’ll add reds and pinks to the blood-rich and sun­tanned ar­eas such as the hands, face, knees and feet. Fi­nally, I’ll add sub­tle cool colours like blue and green to the halftones: this helps to make the skin more alive and real­is­tic-look­ing.

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