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.

art, painting

Walk in the dark

Here is a painting I’ve been working on lately, it’s the interior of a warehouse I got to check out a few weeks ago, pretty cool!

I have had a lot of freedom in the last little while to really explore my style when it comes to painting.  I love that I get to play around with expressive brushstrokes, rubbing away layers of paint, and other techniques I’ve never really used.  For the first time all year I’m starting to uncover a bit of the same elements that were present in a few of my large drawings from a year ago. (Here for even more.)

I’ve Included another photo below to try to give it some scale, but I’m not sure it helps that much.  Oil on masonite board, approx 43″ x 43″.

Let me know what you think!

art, painting

brush. canvas. paint.

Well!  Its that time of year again, students all around the world are hitting the books and preparing for final exams… or in my case, painting.  Here are a few things I’ve been working on (almost exclusively) over the last few days, I hope you enjoy!

Above is a partially completed work, you can check out the bottom of this post for the finished product.

Painting really was a challenge for me this year.  Just the amount of work required is quite staggering, each painting ranges more or less from 1 to 8+ hours. (Well okay, only one was 8+.)  I’m sure I could have dropped all my other courses this year and still have been busy with it, check out the pile of stuff I have on the floor too.  My focus in school is definitely design though, so I think there were a few times where painting took a bit of a back seat to other projects.  That being said, I did work really hard, and there are some where I surprised myself with what was done.

This one above is the ceiling of the studio, the goal was to capture a sense of architectural space.  I like it because it seems almost abstract at first, but there is still a quality of depth and area.  This was done fairly early after midterm and I really began to notice an improvement in my work after this painting.  It was a bit of a turning point from the stuff I was working on before it, which was, I must say, extremely frustrating.

Below is a reproduction from a Jenny Saville section and I love the way it turned out.  The colours are a bit low-key, but thats okay, its a pleasant change from my normally bright work.

And finally, here is the completed version of the very first image I showed.  It is a reproduction of a Catherine Kehoe self portrait.  A big, yet subtle, change from the image at the very top is the sizing, placement, and colour of the eyes.  Its amazing how the smallest alterations can move an image from something that doesn’t read well to a more finished coherant piece.

The quality of the photos is lacking a bit, I took them with my cell phone camera.  The studio is locked for the next week or so while we are graded though, so this is the best I will probably have until after the Christmas break.

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.

drawing, painting, photoshop, sketchbook

a mountie is on my skirt!

I thought I could post a few things that really got me started out with design and photoshop.  (Although, really, I am still just getting started out.)

One thing I really enjoy doing is taking sketches and pieces that I am already over and done with, and re-mixing them on my computer.  Here I have two images scanned from one of my earlier sketchbooks.  I hadn’t intended for either of these images to go beyond their initial states, but thats what is so great about sketchbook, you have all your stuff in one place to use and re-use!  This is one of my very first photoshop projects.  It’s also worth noting how I completely avoided drawing faces… I HATED drawing faces.

The first is a basic outline drawn from a newspaper add I think.  Crayola markers for the win.

sketchbook walker

The second is a small watercolor painting of a Mountie from a travel Canada magazine.

And, after some work on the computer, voila!

Kinda cool, still has a soft spot in my heart.  Let me know what you think!