I wanted to show an important step in developing a new painting. This process shows what I did in working on my piece titled Winter Druid. It can be seen here.
This step is all about deciding which colors to use. It can be really difficult to fully imagine a painting, colors and all. While that may happen sometimes, or to some awesome people, I prefer to work through a process to make sure I'm covering all options!
I do this step after I have finalized my sketch which you can see in the image. I brought this drawing into Photoshop and ramped up the levels to make the lines more clean. I then printed it out on regular printer paper at 1/4 size. This saves paper and materials.
On the first printout, I just went with my gut feeling on what colors would be good to use. Using colored pencils, I started with a light green, typical forest background, complimented by red horns and red trees.
For each successive attempt, I used an iterative process for deciding which colors to keep and which to change. For example, I liked the green background and brown shirt from my first go. I kept those and changed the hair color. Once I had that blue hair in, that changed everything. I loved it so I built the rest of the color scheme around it which led to the dark blue background.
As you can see on the 3rd attempt, I'm pretty close to the final, but the red horns just didn't quite fit. They became purple for the 4th iteration and here is where I had the idea to use more yellow (complimentary of purple) to lead the viewer's eye around the figure.
Iterations are a common tactic in art and by no means my invention. It's wise to use them pretty much any planning, from composition to color.
I find it very beneficial to make these attempts on regular paper so as to keep the mindset that they are not something precious, not something to keep. This allows you to make attempts that you might not otherwise out of fear of ruining the drawing.
Remember, just try it! If it doesn't look good you just move on to the next idea!
Do you use iterations in your creative process? Leave a comment below telling me how!