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Color Theory For Dummies

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2022-09-07
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Choose the right colors and color combinations for your projects

Color theory is the art and science of using color. Color Theory For Dummies explains, in simple terms, how colors relate to one another and how they can be combined to work together in an aesthetically pleasing way. An understanding of color theory can help you create art, decorate your home, design a beautiful wedding, and impress your friends at parties. With this book, you’ll learn how humans perceive color, how colors harmonize or clash with each other, and how you can apply these principles in your life and work to add a little, well, color to things.

  • Discover the history and science behind how we see colors
  • Understand how colors mix, match, and contrast so you can create better color combinations
  • Learn how certain colors have the ability to affect how we feel and think
  • Apply color theory to design, art, décor, photography, and beyond

Color Theory For Dummies simplifies and illuminates the world of color theory, outlining and defining color in a digestible and applicable way.

Author Biography

Eric Hibit, MFA, is a visual artist who has taught studio art at The Cooper Union, Drexel University, Tyler School of Art, and Hunter College. He attended Corcoran College of Art + Design and Yale University School of Art. He has exhibited at numerous New York galleries, as well as nationally and internationally. Hibit is co-director of Ortega y Gasset Projects, a non-profit art gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Why Dummies? 2

Knowing the four c’s of color 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: Opening Your Eyes to Color 5

Chapter 1: Your Color Journey 7

Color and the Power of Limits 8

Slowing Down to See Color 8

Where Color Begins 8

Appreciating the history of color 8

Talking about color 9

Why Is Color So Slippery? 9

Seeing color in context 10

Getting to know color contrasts 10

Dealing with dynamic color 10

A Colorist’s World 11

A limited palette is a powerful palette 11

Meaningful color 11

Ways of Working with Color 12

Getting systematic with color 12

Colorful mediums 12

My Colorful Part of Tens 13

Saying hello to a colorful crew 13

Getting your hands dirty with color 13

Chapter 2: History of Color 15

Early Humans and Color 15

Ancient Pigments and Dyes 16

Color in Sacred Art 19

Colorlessness in the Protestant World 23

Modern Color 23

Contemporary Color 25

Chapter 3: The Science of Color 29

Color in the Physical World 29

Defining light and color 30

Understanding why things are colorful 31

Subtractive and additive color models 33

Biological Aspects of Color Perception 34

The human eye 35

Photoreceptor cells 36

Color in the brain 37

The Subjectivity of Color Perception 38

Addressing “the dress” 38

Color vision deficiencies 40

Synesthesia 42

Other factors that affect color perception 43

Chapter 4: The Language of Color 45

Talking about Color with the Right Words 45

Value: Gray is not a color! 46

Hues: Colors from the wheel 48

Tints: Not just pastels 52

Tones: Dull is not boring 53

Shades: Black is beautiful! 54

The dimension of color: puce 56

Using Colorful Language 57

Getting creative with fancy color words 57

Describing color with adjectives 58

Developing your color vocabulary 58

Outliers and Oddballs 59

Fluorescent colors: Ack! My eyes! 59

Metallics: Color with shine 60

Part 2: Examining Color Relationships 61

Chapter 5: The Relativity of Color 63

Seeing How Value Changes with Context 64

Exercise #1: working with a dark gray 64

Exercise #2: working with a light gray 65

Seeing How Color Changes with Context 67

Exercise #3: the flushing effect 67

Exercise #4: simultaneous contrast 68

Exercise #5: light intensity 70

Exercise #6: flickering boundaries 72

Exercise #7: optical color mixing (Bezold effect) 75

Exercise #8: after image 78

Worksheet for exercise #1 83

Worksheet for exercise #2 85

Worksheet for exercise #3 87

First worksheet for exercise #4 89

Second worksheet for exercise #4 91

Third worksheet for exercise #4 93

First worksheet for exercise #5 95

Second worksheet for exercise #5 97

Chapter 6: Contrasts of Color 99

Distinguishing Opposites with Color 99

Contrast of Light and Dark 101

Contrast of Cool and Warm 104

Contrast of Complements 108

Contrast of Extension 112

Contrast of Saturation 114

Contrast of Hue 117

Chapter 7: Color Dynamics 119

Feeling a Color’s Weight 119

Watching Color Advance or Recede 123

Seeing Red and Blue: Chromostereopsis 125

Experiencing the Fluting Effect 128

Sensing Color’s Wetness or Dryness 129

Opacity: Hitting the Color Wall 131

Transparency: Seeing Through Color 132

Translucency: Obscuring with Color 136

Part 3: Coloring Your World 137

Chapter 8: Color Palettes 139

Building a Palette 139

Monochrome: seeing the power of one 140

Analogous colors: harnessing the power of three 143

Primaries and secondaries: palettes from the wheel 145

Complementary color: splitting the difference 147

Neutrals: using browns and grays 148

Working with Nature’s Colors 150

Gradation palettes 150

Flower-and-leaf color combinations 151

Autumnal color: blazing glory! 153

Forgetting Everything You Just Learned: the Intuitive Approach 155

Researching color 155

The power of your color limitations 156

Chapter 9: Using Color to Convey Meaning 157

Color and Consumer Culture 158

Color and company logos 158

Color and brand identity 160

Influencing Your Taste Buds with Color 161

Color and flavor associations 161

Color and taste preferences 164

Affecting Emotions and Mood with Color 165

Color and emotion 166

Color and mood 169

Getting Personal with Color 171

Color personality types 172

Color and group identity 173

Subjective color 173

Part 4: Color at Work 175

Chapter 10: Systems of Color 177

Understanding the Types of Color Systems 177

Standardization Color Systems 178

Werner’s color nomenclature 178

Munsell color system 179

Color-aid color system 182

Pantone color systems 184

Application Color Systems 185

Mary Gartside’s color blots 185

Sanzo Wada’s dictionary of color 187

Kandinsky’s color 187

Checking Out Digital Color Systems 189

RGB color system 189

CMYK color system 190

Chapter 11: Creating with Color 195

Painting with Professional Artist’s Paints 195

Oil paint 197

Oil mediums 197

Acrylic paint 198

Acrylic mediums 198

Watercolor 200

Differences in paint quality and cost 200

Paint compatibility 201

Color mixing 201

Painting with Other Kinds of Paints 203

Enamel 203

Spray paint 203

Interior Painting 205

Choosing interior colors 205

Painting a test square 206

Time to paint! 207

Drawing with Color 207

Color pencils 207

Acrylic markers 209

Pastels 209

Dyeing 211

Working with natural dyes 212

Working with synthetic dyes 212

Collaging with Color 213

Collaging with found images 213

Organizing by color 214

Painting paper à la Matisse 214

Cutting, tearing, gluing 216

Working with Color Digitally 217

Color work with digital photos 217

Altering color in Photoshop 219

Digital painting 221

Part 5: The Part of Tens 225

Chapter 12: Ten Colorful Careers 227

Marcie Bronkar, Textile Designer 228

Paul Bronkar, Film Colorist 230

Richard A Chance, Illustrator 232

Jamie Drake, Interior Designer 234

Leatrice Eiseman, Color Specialist 236

Aura Friedman, Hair Colorist 239

Jay Jones, Garden Designer 241

Keisha Prioleau-Martin, Painter 243

Fanny Singer, Food Aficionado 245

Gabriele Wilson, Graphic Designer 247

Chapter 13: Tens Ways to Kickstart Your Color Creativity 251

Exercise #1: Building Your Color Vocabulary 252

Exercise #2: Mixing Cellophane 252

Exercise #3: Exploring Nature’s Colors 252

Exercise #4: Planting a Colorful Garden 253

Exercise #5: Expanding Monochromes 253

Exercise #6: Concocting a Food Palette 253

Exercise #7: Crafting a Color Blot 254

Exercise# 8: Creating a Personal Palette 254

Exercise #9: Adding Color to Your Home 255

Exercise #10: Making a Mood Board 255

Index 257

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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