Each time I color I attempt to do something new or different in terms of either the medium I use or the colors I choose. The two examples below are about my color choices. I attempted to incorporate colors that I wouldn't normally have used either in relation to the subject or in combination with the other colors used for the picture. I learned that getting creative with color can create some wonderful results.
I was inspired to do this by Christine Kowbuz (read an interview with her here) who uses color to set off other colors so beautifully! I still have lots to learn but I hope to keep experimenting and to learn more about color so I can achieve better and more exciting results!
TIP 1: Increasing Impact & Depth With Color
I colored the cow using a predictable palette of browns with some yellow and black. I found it was a bit flat so then I decided to try to create more depth & impact by using some reds and blues as accent colors. I made sure to still "follow the gray" when deciding where to use the reds and blues. This means I colored over the medium to dark gray areas with the reds and blues and not the light gray areas because that would have taken away from the highlighted areas which contrast with the shaded areas to help create the shape & depth.
By accenting with these bolder/contrasting colors the shaded areas are became more intense and interesting (i.e. more shape & texture) while also creating what I believe to be more of a 3-D effect (or perhaps I'm just hoping for that?!). To me, the head feels even more like it's coming forward vs. the cow's body that is a bit softer and fading away slightly. I'm very curious to try this with other pictures. I believe if I had just used a larger range of browns then I would have gotten quite a realistic result but it wouldn't have been as strong. What do you think?
Tip 2: A Limited Palette That Gives You All You Need
I love working with a limited palette. There is something so simple and relaxing about it (as if coloring isn't already relaxing enough!). However, if I limit my palette when coloring grayscale then I have usually limited it to a somewhat monochromatic palette with a range of lights to darks rather than a range of truly different colors. This time I challenged myself to work with just four different colors for the entire picture, including the background: yellow, green, pink & purple. For this picture I used three colors on the flower petals and three colors on the leaves and background:
Flower petals: yellow, pink & purple
Leaves & background: yellow, green & purple
Here are the steps I followed:
Overall, I was very pleased with the results. I love the beautiful, delicate colors that resulted from layering as well as the wonderful yet not too stark contrast between the flower petals and the leaves and background. Because there were common colors throughout the picture there is a nice continuity but that small difference in the palette for the flower petals vs. the background and leaves provides the perfect amount of contrast.
I really enjoyed coloring this way. I look forward to trying it again and getting more creative with my colors. If you haven't already tried experimenting with color I encourage you to. It was really fun! I didn't know what I was doing but that was part of the fun and made it that much more exciting when I achieved a result I was happy (and surprised!) with!
If anyone has any tips about using and selecting colors I would LOVE to hear them! Please leave a comment below.
Below you will find a collection of over 20 grayscale coloring video tutorials from a variety of creators. I thought it would be helpful to have them all in one place as a reference when learning how to color grayscale. I will make a point of continually updating this post when I find or create more grayscale coloring tutorials. If I've missed any, please let me know and I'll add them!
I've grouped the video tutorials into three categories:
Coloring Grayscale with Colored Pencils
TOPIC: Coloring Grayscale with Faber Castell Polychromos: A Butterfly & Flowers
Speed Coloring Video
Creator: Peta Hewitt
Synopsis: In this beautiful speed coloring tutorial, we learn some wonderful techniques that Peta uses when coloring grayscale. Techniques include: selecting your colors, using black over grayscale, creating a soft out of focus effect vs. a sharp in focus effect, using the grayscale to guide us in terms of where light and shadows should be, and more!
Today I will be providing you with a step-by-step grayscale coloring tutorial done by a very talented colorist, Ann Reid.
There is a wonderful Facebook coloring group that is focused on coloring pages from the Beautiful Creatures coloring book. It is full of amazing colorists from around the world (join us!) that range from novice to expert colorists. We all share our work and provide each other with tips, tricks and encouragement.
Ann is part of this group. She inspires all of us because of (among many other wonderful qualities) her incredible talent. Every person in the group looks forward to seeing her next creation. She is able to capture every single detail with such amazing precision. She achieves that hyper realistic result that so many of us are striving for when coloring grayscale. The dog above and the four stages below were all completed by Ann. As you can see, she truly brings the image to life! Amazing!
When coloring over grayscale the gray serves as your guide. Think of it as an adult color by numbers without the numbers. Instead the darkness or lightness of the gray tells you how dark or light a color to use and where to apply it. Simply put, light colors over light grays, dark colors over dark grays and medium colors in between to seamlessly blend light and dark.
Some points to keep in mind:
Here is a little cheat sheet I provide at the beginning of the "Beautiful Creatures" grayscale coloring book:
First, let's start with what "grayscale" means. Very simply put, grayscale is a range of gray shades from white to black. A grayscale image is composed exclusively of shades of gray, varying from black at the weakest intensity to white at the brightest intensity.
Grayscale coloring is basically taking a grayscale image and then coloring it. Imagine coloring an old black and white photograph. That is grayscale coloring! You just color right over the grayscale.
There are a couple ways to approach grayscale coloring
I'm a Mom of 2 from Vancouver, Canada. I recently discovered grayscale coloring and loved it so much I published Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Nature because there were no high quality grayscale coloring books to be found. Join me as I write about the grayscale coloring techniques I have learned and that I am continuing to discover!