Color and Value

This week I’ve been painting a spread from my story The Monster Under Jacob’s Bed. I’ve done it with acrylic paint and it is not done, but I wanted to share with you something I do to make sure I’m using the right colors. First, I take a picture of it.

Battle with the monster. July 9, 2020

Battle with the monster. July 9, 2020

Then I turn the picture into grey scale.


When I did that to this one, What I couldn’t see in real life, I could see in the grey scale.

I was really surprised that the little girl’s dress disappears in the middle and the right vignette. . I have to change the color of the girl’s dress completely. If I just add white to that color, it will be the same color as the bubbles. I don’t want her dress to compete with the bubbles. I’m thinking a yellow or a green. Let me know what color you think I should do.

The boys shirt also disappears. Fortunately, I can make a lighter tint of that same color and it should fix the problem.

I also get to see what is working well, like the value of the bubbles, hanger, and laundry bin. The background into the closet and around the bookshelf are also working for me. And the drawings on the monster itself have enough value contrast to be seen well.

Let’s look at some other paintings I’ve done recently. This version of my monster uses water color:



And here it is in greyscale:


The bubbles just disappear.

But this next one:


In greyscale,


You can see the bubble splats really well. Which is lucky, because I happen to like the effect of those bubbles on top of the monster. They have a transparent quality that I find really interesting.

Seeing value in colors is not my super power. I have a friend who is color blind, and it is her super power. She can point out to me different colors that are so close in value, that it is hard for her to tell the difference. hmmm….what if I try a painting based not on color but on value. Use any color I want so long as it is the correct value. That would be fun. I wonder if it would work. I feel a color experiment coming on.

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