Fall Leaf from my yard: choosing the colors!

I’m working, working, working on figuring out the layers of colors and how to apply them outside tutorials. It seems to be the hardest thing to figure out, other than how to do a portrait that doesn’t look like it has a clown’s mouth! LOL! That’s another story.

This is a sweetgum leaf which I’m mostly pleased with. I’ll also attach the photo reference.

I’ve been working in Photoshop to pull out color swatches using the eyedropper and brush tools to see if that will help me. What tips do you have for figuring out the appropriate colors for a project?

Brenda

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Sorry. This was done with Prismacolor Premier colored pencils.

Brenda

Very well done. Love it.

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Thanks, Denise. It was fun to work on.

Brenda

You got the colors spot on! I try not to obsess over getting the colors exactly right. I will take a photo of my work and edit to black and white. Then I compare that to the photo (in black and white). That helps me makes sure even if I don’t have the same colors, I have the darkest darks and the lightest lights. Have you tried doing that?

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Hi June! Thanks for the feedback! I have begun using what you said as sort of a mantra. The colors are important, but the values are critical and the most important! I do go into photoshop and desaturate my drawings to check values. When I did this one, I already knew the darkest darks needed to be pushed further. I may do this drawing again and work a little more on values. Again, thanks for you feedback!

Brenda

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That’s really pretty! :star_struck: It’s also very smart of you to pull the colors with Photoshop! :clap: :fallen_leaf:

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Picking the colors and composition is the hardest part for me as well. I don’t venture much outside the tutorials for that reason. The photoshop idea is good. I’ve used a HSV dropper to get idea on what changes in shadows, usually darker value and almost always to the cooler side of same color, for example. Doesn’t help me pick colors from what I have available though.

I got one of those “value finder” sets of 2 lenses, one red and one green to make monochrome to help find the correct light/dark value to match, but getting color to match is different. Most tutorials I’ve seen for colored pencils have the color then they pick out 3 or 4 pencils out to go either side of that color in both hue and value, then swap out a few more colors so they end up with a dozen pencils that can be layered to make nearly all the colors needed for entire piece. That keeps things tied together as well. I don’t know how that procedure actually works beyond “lots of experience of what it looks like when I put these together and I know 100 ways it doesn’t work”.

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Matt’s colored pencil course is excellent! I had no idea there were so many ways to mix the colors on the paper to achieve not only the color you’re looking for but also help with getting the values correct. And the correct values make all the difference. I was surprised when the darks were really way too light in my leaf. I may still go back in and try to darken those up.
I’ve done professional photography and have taught basic photography for DSLRs. I thought I was pretty good at composing images. Matt has taught me so much more tha I already knew. He’s such an amazing teacher.

If you have time watch some of the Members’ Minute videos. He addresses all aspects of the art from composition to values and everything in between.