Today’s post comes from YouTube sensation Josiah “Jazza” Brooks and his book with IMPACT, Draw With Jazza. Colors are a great way to define character traits. Read on and use the handy character color wheel below for reference when creating your own character.
Working With Color
Exploration and experimentation are crucial to finding the perfect design and experimenting with color is no exception. Color can aid the viewer’s ability to categorize the characters they meet. It can communicate mood and aesthetic tone, and can make characters more recognizable and appealing. In the example below, notice how even though the character’s design is identical, the color changes create an immediate impact on assumptions about the character. Is he good or bad? A friend or foe? Different colors communicate different things.
Test Your Colors
Test several colors on your character’s clothing and props to see which one creates the right feeling and tone.
Try Them Out
Your first idea isn’t always the best idea! When you have a finished character design and are ready to add color, try your initial ideas first, as well as a few more adventurous ones, and see if something emerges that you like. Then, using the same process of elimination and refinement, find the color combination that works for the final design.
Communicating with Colors
Colors have both positive and negative emotions and attributes associated with them. You can use color to accentuate a character’s personality and role. See some of the attributes tied to each color below.
Positive: Reliability, classiness, formality, solidity
Negative: Death, darkness, unknowability
Positive: Purity, innocence, cleanliness, order
Negative: Isolation, emptiness
Positive: Tranquil, secure, honorable
Negative: cold, fearful, dispassionate, depressed
Positive: Nurturing, eager, healthy
Negative: Envy, poison, naïveté
Positive: Noble, wealthy, spiritual
Negative: Mysterious, moody, volatile
Positive: Joy, energy, intellect
Negative: Cowardice, irresponsibility
Positive: Romance, passion, power, strength
Negative: War, violence, anger
All of these different emotions or character traits come across just with the aid of color. The right colors can bring a character to life and communicate to your reader who they are before they even speak.
MORE RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS