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    Misty Huckstead

    I want to try using color in my art. It honestly intimidates me as I feel like I need to start all over with so much to learn (and I still have a lot to learn with just pencil drawing). But it also sounds fun. So, what is the best medium to start with? I have seen some great things done with colored pencils or watercolor pens. In high school I played around with oil paints. Does anyone have anything that has worked for them to make that transition? I also don’t have much extra money and know some paints can be spendy.


    Arjun Khode

    Hi Misty. I made the mistake of starting out with watercolor as my first traditional color medium. I found that the medium in itself is so hard to control, it became very difficult for me to implement the concepts of color theory I was learning. Plus watercolor is so much about timing. How quickly the paint dries changes with season, time of day and location. Brush wetness, paper wetness, thickness of paint, granulation. There are just too many variables! A little later, I started watching acrylic and oil tutorials and it really relaxed me and even helped with my watercolor.

    I recall Matt mentioning in a podcast that acrylic is a good medium to start with and serves as a good precursor to oil.

    Btw, a really great book by Stephen Quiller, the guy who invented the Quiller wheel: “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory”

    Misty Huckstead

    Thank you! I will look into that book. I was thinking of getting Betty Edward’s book called “Color”, she is the woman who wrote “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.”

    Magnus Burén

    I would recommend adding one extra color at the time, eventually using the “trois au crayons” technique of the old masters.

    If you want to stay close to pencil I would start by adding a middle tone with color pencil to the “black pencil” you’re already drawing. You then have white (paper)-middletone-black (pencil)

    One option is to draw with pencil and white chalk on toned paper

    Next step would be to add a warm red to add the complexity of color temperature relations.

    You then have white-middle-red-black – and can get images feeling very full of color using this very limited palette. Once you’re comfortable with that, you could take the dive into color theory.

    Use the same principle for oil painting, one color at the time. But also remember to have fun and “go wild” for the fun of it from time to time. Best of luck 🙂



    Listen to yesterday’s podcast. I added some comments for you.


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