Cover Image Credit: Still Life with Blue and White Chintz by Janis Zroback
Goethe’s color wheel from his 1810 Theory of Colours
At its most basic, colour theory describes knowledge and principles that can be applied when using color in your work. Color theory is believed to date back to the 15th century so you can imagine there’s been quite a lot written on the subject. The following articles cover the basic principles as well as a few fascinating historical nuggets (check out the history of the color wheel for some lovely color charts dating back over hundreds of years). We recommend taking some time to have a browse through these articles as they contain information that should be of value to artists of all backgrounds and genres.
The following resources are useful for learning more about color theory, finding inspiration and making decisions about the colors you use in your work.
It’s all very well having a good read but there’s much more to be learned from practising. And by that we don’t mean jumping straight in and applying these principles to a finished work – just playing and experimenting with color.
We’d be keen to hear how you work with color when it comes to your own art, design and photography. Have you studied color theory? Are there any useful exercises that helped you learn how to appy these principles? Do you begin with a particular palette in mind or make decisions as your work develops? And if you’re giving the exercises above a try, we’d love to see the results.