Hey I had a question about the color wheel thing, uhm I thought the primary colors where red green and blue because it's impossible to mix colors to make them, but you can mix colors to make cyan and magenta, what's makes them primary colors? I'm an artist and I'm intrigued, thank you
hi friend! so there are two models of color theory, one is for light (the colored lights at concerts and colors on computer monitors fall into this camp), and one is for pigments (like paints and colored objects and stuff). the two are closely interrelated.
The primary colors for light are red green and blue (RGB), and from these you can mix to get all the other colors of light. Red and green make yellow light. Green and blue make cyan light. Red and blue make magenta light. All of the primary colors of light put together make white light.
The primary colors of pigments are cyan magenta and yellow (CMY). From these primaries, IN THEORY (all caps because that’s important), you can mix to get all the other colors of pigment. this is because of the light-absorbing properties they have. When you shine a white light on the three primary pigment colors, cyan absorbs all the red light (so we only see green and blue light reflected back at our eyes). magenta absorbs all the green light (so we only see red and blue light). yellow absorbs all the blue light (so we only see red and green light).
it is true that you can mix green and blue pigments to achieve a cyan color, and you can mix red and blue pigments to achieve a magenta color, but that doesn’t mean that green and red and blue are the primary colors of pigment. the reason that C M and Y are the pigment primaries is that they absorb pure R G and B light. this is why you get the strongest and purest color mixing results by starting with cyan yellow and magenta and mixing your other colors from them.
for example, let’s mix cyan and yellow paint to make green paint. this is gonna get complicated so stay with me:
Cyan paint reflects green and blue light, and absorbs red light. Yellow paint reflects green and red light, and absorbs blue light. when you mix the cyan and yellow paint together, the blue light absorption of the yellow paint cancels out the blue light reflected by the cyan paint. the red light absorption of the cyan paint cancels out the red light reflected by the yellow paint. all you’re left with is the green light component reflected by both paint colors. which means that the newly mixed color on your paint palette will reflect green light at your eyeballs, and your brain will look at it and say “neat! i just made green paint.”
however: the reason I said “IN THEORY” in all caps up above is that we live in an imperfect world and just mixing CMY doesn’t actually in practice make you every single pigment color in the universe. (if you had 100.0000 percent perfect pigments it might work i guess? but no one has 100.0000 percent perfect pigments.)
so just because CMY are the three primary pigment colors doesn’t mean that you as an artist will never need any other paints ever. it is still incredibly helpful and important to have other colors like ultramarine and cadmium red and alizarine crimson and all the siennas and ochres and umbers and black and white etc.
I’m not even getting into the other physical pigment properties to consider when you’re selecting paints, like transparency, tinting strength, etc. etc. etc! paint is complicated.
however primary colors themselves don’t have to be complicated! CMY for pigment. RGB for light.
i hope this mad essay by a crazed fanatic has been helpful to you.
What advice would you give to someone trying to get a style and draw from their head more?
Start off copying the styles of artists you like. You get a feel for what liberties they’re taking, their system of simplifying realism. Don’t just copy images though, try and challenge yourself by applying their style to something completely different. All the TV show crossover drawings aren’t just popular for the fandoms sake, it’s a really fun and helpful exercise. Anyway, as you try out different styles you’ll retain the elements of them you like and start adding in your own stuff. Vary your angles and poses, use different programs and mediums- all these things will help push you in new directions. Personally I’ve had a hard time finding any style I want to (or am capable of?) sticking with, but I go through cycles of artist blocks that lift when I discover some new look to go for. At least that’s how it was when I was drawing more regularly
Did you take a life drawing class when you were in school, and if so did you find it particularly useful?
Oh YEAH, life drawing is the shit, take as many as you can. Its probably the single most helpful thing you can do for yourself, and its a lot easier to do while you’re still in school. It’s kind of pricey in the real world, as it turns out.
To give this post some context- here’s a link to some stuff from the last life drawing class I took in college, few years back.
I remember having an extremely hard time with gestures the first time someone made me try it. Like super quick 60 second poses, and you are just supposed to get the posture and feel of it without drawing outlines or anything. It was like breaking a fever, I was frustrated to the verge of tears in the middle of this darkened room full of people who seemed to have no problem with it. But those sessions marked a complete change in my style, its where I left behind carefully inked bad half-anime (go dig around the bowels of my deviantart, I haven’t deleted it) and learned to draw quick and loose and intuitively and its made such a huge difference.
Have you ever gotten to the point where you thought about giving up drawing, like you were just fed up with what you were putting out? would you have any advice for someone who feels like they've gotten to that point?
Ah, I guess it’s always felt like trying to stay mad about something you’ll inevitably get over. Sometimes I can’t draw anything the way I want to, so I just stop for a while until one day I’m on the phone with a pen in my hand and whoops I guess I’m drawing again. Or some new inspiration will come along, I’ll see a style I want to draw in or improve upon. Whatever you’re trying to do that’s frustrating you, stop for a while and do the opposite. If portraits are driving you up the wall, go practice some landscapes. If landscapes aren’t working, how about some sci-fi concept sketches.
My go-to distractions are the low fi drawing games and apps, like DrawSomething, Doodle or Die, Flockdraw, or just straight up cheap crayons and fingerpainting.
And sometimes an art block is a result of something that needs to be overcome elsewhere in your life. I know I can’t enjoy drawing or do it very well if I’ve got some huge stressful thing I’m avoiding. Constructive self-criticism is great, but if you get stuck spiraling around “I suck” you aren’t gonna get anywhere. So don’t be too hard on yourself!
Are you tired of feeling like your art just isn’t improving? Do you want to do a 30-day challenge that’s actually useful? Welcome to 30 Days of Improvement Hell. >:D
I made this because I’ve been feeling super ‘blah’ about my art these days, and I needed something to kick-start myself. Who wants to do this with me!? Start now or whenever you can (now you procrastinators!). Challenge yourself and have fun at the same time!
Tag your posts with #Improvement Hell so everyone can follow along and see each other’s awesome artwork. I may even create a blog and reblog them! :D
What are you waiting for? START!
Self-Portrait - Introduce yourself
Draw a figure using a reference - link to reference
Draw a figure that’s in action, using a reference - link to reference
Draw a part of the human anatomy you have trouble with. x20, with atleast 5 being skeletal/musculature studies.
Draw more figures. Quick gestures and silhouettes. x20, with atleast 10 different body shapes
Pick the weirdest object in your house/room. Draw it. Shadows and Highlights.
Find 2-3 objects, make a scene with them. Draw it. Bonus points for creativity. Double points for dramatic lighting.
Draw a landscape of a place you’ve never been or drawn.
Draw a BG with 1pt Perspective. Negative points if it’s a railroad or an empty street.
Draw a BG with 2pt Perspective.
Look out a window. Draw what you see. Bonus points for adding something interesting.
Draw an interior setting with the character you designed on Day #6 in it.
BG with either bird’s eye or worm’s eye view.
Halfway there! Draw three ‘action’ scenes with different compositions in each. Quick sketches are fine, just make them interesting and understandable! Bonus points if it’s the same scene, but different composition.
Draw a single page comic with 5-7 panels (the story begins and ends on one page).
Draw an animal you’ve never drawn before. x10 Link references.
Draw a car. Negative points for whining. Hint: Use a perspective grid.
Think of the thing you hate drawing the most. Guess what? Draw it! Negative points for lying to yourself.
Pick an object in your house/room. Now design a character from it, color scheme included. (often known as a gijinka). Also link/post the object you used. Negative points for using a humanoid action figure.
Draw a character/object/scene, and shade them using ONLY solid blacks and whites. Bonus points for good use of lights/shadows
Draw a different object/scene/character. Shade using hatching, crosshatcing, and/or pointillism. Bonus points for lights/shadows and textures.
Colors! Pick a color palette, and paint a scene/character/object using only those colors (some blending allowed). Bonus points for good use of lights/shadows.
Draw and color a scene/object/character - no lines allowed! (aka - lineless art). Don’t forget light and shadows!
Draw a scene/character in a style you’ve never drawn before. If emulating an artist, credit+link. Bonus for color style.
Draw a character. Draw 10 emotions/expressions. Bonus points for ‘uncommon’ emotions. (i.e. anxiety, guilt, despair, loneliness etc.)
Draw three random shapes using your opposite hand (or your foot). Now design characters from those shapes.
Turn on the tv (or load your illegally download movies). Pick an actor and draw them.
Almost done! Let’s have some fun. Draw some fanart. Bonus points if it’s super obscure and unknown. Make people guess what it’s from.
Last day! Find a drawing you did within the last year. Now draw it again using what you’ve learned! Link it for comparison!
Look at all that amazing improvement! Congrats!
Posting this here to encourage myself and all my tumblr bros