Textures and Palettes

I am currently concerned that my digital work can be quite flat, often using block colour and little texture. I am also becoming increasingly aware of the colours I gravitate towards and stepping outside of that boundary, bringing other colours in that I wouldn’t normally use and creating palettes with tonal variety. So doing the paint workshop in Illustration was really helpful.

As someone who rarely strays from black ink based illustrations and doesn’t really use colour outside of digital applications, this was uncomfortable for me. I am not used to making a mess with my artwork, but it was really freeing, breaking these boundaries I’ve made for myself, and to create resources I can use in my digital work.

We played with paint, mixing colours and putting colours together that we don’t normally gravitate to. I started using colours I enjoy using, like magentas, oranges and reds, then see what I get when I add blues and white. It was interesting to create colours that I don’t normally use, and see the relationship develop between colours, how they respond to each other.

There were sections of each page that had an interesting range of colours and relationships. I scanned in the pages to a high resolution, so I could pick out these colours to make palettes. Some of them are only very small within the sample, but play against each other nicely as a palette. I surprised myself as the painting process went on with what colours I was gravitating towards. In my digital work, I almost always go for the most saturated version of a colour, hence why my coloured pieces are very bright. But I now have to question the accessibility of this. They are more appealing, but something too colourful can be overwhelming. I am dealing with an illness that involves aspects of sensory overload, so bright colours could be a deterrent; I want my work to be as inclusive as possible.

I am also aware with previous digital work, that my tonal range is limited. When I was creating these palettes, I kept turning it into black and white to check I had enough tonal range. I have never thought to do this before, but really helped when putting the palettes together.

Most of the palettes I have created have a strong tonal range, something I have to consider when printing. There may be factors in future projects where I cannot print in colour, therefore will have to be clear in black and white, so the range is important. I am pretty happy with the palettes I have made and am looking forward to using them in different projects. There’s a range of different palettes that could be useful for a variety of projects. I am currently working on a new zine about waiting rooms and want to inject colour into these pieces. What I call “NHS green” is featured heavily in these images, and there are colour ways that include this kind of green from what I’ve made. So I can create pieces where the colours work well together aesthetically but also resemble an element of truth to subject.

From playing with paint, I got to create different textures. Using the hi res scans, I opened them in Photoshop and turned them into brushes. Some of these brushes were made to act more like stamps; a single click for an entire texture background. I can use these to overlay or colour in areas of an illustration. It’s also quite fun to layer these with other brushes to create different textures.

Some of the other brushes were made to add texture when colouring in. These means I can also draw with them, create shapes and the texture will be there. I can also layer these.

I am looking forward to start to use both the palettes and the brushes in future pieces. Making my own brushes also means that I am not using textures created by others. Everything I create will be my own, which reduces any ethical issues regarding my work

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