Watercolor Flat Colors

To my surprise they liked it.

I have taken many photographs throughout my life and have experienced mixed results. At a restaurant last fall I painted  from a photo printed at the printshop. The colors were flat and a little murky. There was little dimensionality in the print and on top of that I was in a dark corner of the restaurant when I painted it.

I have been told that classical painters painted with intense variation in light because of the lack of natural light in their darkly lit studios. I don’t know if my situation had imitated that scenario, but I knew that if I did not do something my colors and piece would look flat. 

However, beyond my initial frustration, I have realized that my color separation was an advantage in impact. Below I have a description of the purpose of flatting used by comic book colorists/digital painters.

Glowing Bush

Flatting is a task used in comics to establish foundation colors for colorists/digital painters.

Flatting does these things:

  • Creates a color foundation
  • Separates values
  • Uses a predetermined color code
  • Creates a pattern
  • Makes background, middleground, and foreground separate
  • Is like a paint-by-number for the colorist/digital painter

Think of color patterns as the basis to build your painting. Use creative means to solve depth problems. Be ambitious when you attack details.

How do you think about your color painting process?

Share your insights below.


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