colour, Inspiration

Saturday Inspiration: How to use Analogous Colours

Todays topic is Analogous Colour Schemes! Colour can make or break an image, and yet it is so often overlooked in illustration. There are a number of different techniques to use when trying to make an image cohesive, often revolving around the color wheel.


Analogous colours are colours that appear next to each other on the colour wheel.

Rather than get too in depth however, why don’t you check out these four colour scheme examples below.  I should note, none of these images are mine until you get to the very bottom.

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As you can tell, these images are really quite pleasing, despite the limited range of colour used.


Anders Zorn (1860-1920) became well known for using an analogous palette in some of his own paintings, sometimes limiting himself to only four colours. (It became so well known that the Zorn palette bears his name today.)

If you are interested in a great colour theory tool, check out, it has an easy to use palette to create your own colour schemes.

Here is a bit of work I did as a part of a larger project. I used collage and found as many magazine images as I could fitting into two analogous themes. I then combined them to create a final image. Here are the two separate collages:

And here is the final image, out of context so it won’t make much sense, but thats ok. Red and green are complimentary colours, so by adding these two collages together I was able to create something that was visually cohesive.

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Well, thats it! Thanks for reading. Get out there and make something.


Dinosaurs and Atmospheric Perspective

Alright! After a week or so of trying some different things out, it’s time to get back to dinosaurs. After sketching out some initial ideas, and taking the time to render the dinosaur in a way I’m happy with, it was time to put him into an environment.

In a video titled The Biggest Mistake Beginning Illustrators and Animators MakeWill Terry (can you guess who I’ve been watching lately?) mentions the importance of being able to put characters into a scene or environment. Employers, clients etc. are not only looking for interesting characters, but for them to be acting within a world.

So, knowing this now, I decided to create an environment for the dinosaur I drew earlier.


A cup of coffee is ready to keep me going! As I have done previously, I printed out the line-work from the previous piece so I could draw on it by hand first. I prefer working with a physical pen if I have the option.

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Here you can see the line-work scanned into my computer. Some of it will change a bit a little further down. I tried to carry the contour lines found in the dinosaur into the rest of the image.Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 7.08.29 PM

I was having some trouble figuring out the colours.  I wanted to have the stones ‘sit’ on the the surface of the paper, and I also didn’t want them to take too much focus away from the dinosaur himself.

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Here I am starting to find something that I’m happy with.  The cooler blue helps to remove some of the focus off the rocks. Because I want this image to appear to have a foreground, middle-ground, and background, there are a couple things I tried to do to create some depth.

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I thinned out the line weight on some of the rocks in the image above. On the left you can see thick black outlines around the rocks in the middle. On the right I trimmed those lines down, and faded the black out a bit to push them back into the page. By having the most saturated blue in the foreground, and moving into progressively paler blues as the image moves back, hopefully I was able to start to create a bit of depth. I tried to make the mountains in the very back quite pale, and removed the outline from them completely to hopefully show they are way back in the image.

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 11.18.34 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-23 at 8.01.46 PMSo here it is so far, not quite complete. I have a lot of work to do in terms of composition! This picture, while a good exercise, isn’t really as engaging as I think it could be. The dinosaur is just standing there, plopped in the middle of a rocky land.

I have some more work to do on this image, namely all the rocks in the middle-ground and background. They could really use some shadows to put them on the ground so they don’t appear to float as much. I’m trying to decide how to approach the contour stripes on the middle rocks.  Any ideas?

animal, Uncategorized

Sloth in Illustrator

I was hoping to get a bit of practice in on Illustrator, here is a quick image I worked on this evening.

I began with a quick sketch of a sloth taken from some source images on google.

Sloth Drawing

I brought the drawing into Illustrator and drew over my pen lines with the pen tool.

Sloth Pen
I looked into a few color schemes, but settled on this one.  If you advent used Kuler before, check it out, it is a great free color theory resource online.
Sloth Overlay
And here is the final image. Nothing special, but a good chance to get my feet wet.
Sloth FInishedish
drawing, sketching

real men draw plants

I had the chance to get outside today and man, it was sooooo nice out.

I drew up a bush, or shrub (can shrubs have flowers?) or whatever that was in my backyard.  I’ve been trying to use a wider variety of media lately, my sketchbooks now are primarily pen and pencil.

Watercolor scares me a bit, I tend to only use it to fill in sketches, but soon I know I should just jump off the wharf and do some stuff solely in watercolor.