Art · Graphic Arts and Design

Working with Color: Creating Physical and Digital Gradations

After working for half the semester using only black and white for our assignments, the next step was to begin to implement modes of color into our assignments.  Before working with digital color in Illustrator though, we began by working with physical color through the use of paint to create a grayscale and a matching color scale.

We began by taking swatches and painting them different shades of gray and then choosing the best ones to create a perfect grayscale.

gradient Jpeg

After completing the grayscale we then did the same thing, but this time using red, yellow, and blue colored paint. gradiant

I found that creating the grayscale was much easier than creating the color scale. Creating different shades of gray proved to be easier because you are simply mixing black into white, or vise versa.  Creating the lightest and darkest shades were the easiest, but finding the middle grays were tricky because you need to mix the colors just right. By working in a team of three, each of us would focus on one spectrum of shading: the lightest shades, the darkest shades, or the middle grays. By doing this we were able to create the shades of the entire spectrum.

When trying to come up with a color scale it proved to be much harder to match shades of color to the already existing grayscale. I decided to start with getting the lightest and darkest shades first, much like with creating the grayscale, and then move on to creating the middle ground of the scale. Squinting to match the color scale to match up with the grayscale helped a lot too in finding the correct shades. It was a very interesting and fun project. I liked being able to work physically with the paint and experiencing the difficulty of trying to find the correct shades to use in the  gray and color scales.

After creating gradations with the paint, we headed back into Adobe Illustrator to create a digital grayscale and colored gradation set. Creating this was much faster and easier than painting swatches individually. Having instantaneous access to thousands of colors was fantastic and creating custom colors was easy. The tricky part was trying to find the best color to match the digital grayscale since now that colors could be created quickly they could also be matched much more closely. Matching colors correctly and exactly became the difficult part of working with digital color.


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