Monday, July 05, 2010

Copic Mondays - Color Chart - What does it mean? How can I use it?

So do you really understand the color chart?  I thought I did, but then I went to my certification class, and I realized I really didn't get it, yet.

We all pretty much know that Copics are numbered using a letter code and two number codes.  The letter represents the color family:

Primary Colors:      

  • B  = Blue                         
  • R = Red                
  • Y = Yellow            

Secondary Colors:       

  • G = Green                  
  • V = Violet       
  • YR = Yellow Red

Tertiary Colors:           

  • YG = Yellow Green     
  • BG = Blue Green         
  • RV = Red Violet         
  • BV = Blue Violet        

Earth & Tonal Colors:

  • E = Earth
  • C = Cool Gray
  • T = Toner Gray
  • N = Neutral Gray
  • W = Warm Gray

The first number represents the tone of the marker of the color.  The zero means pure color.  There is no gray tone added to the color.  A marker with the first number of 2, contains a bit of gray along with the pure blue color from the 0 series.  A B9 marker contains the most gray tone mixed with the pure blue.

The second number is the intensity of the color.  The smaller the number means the marker has a lighter color.  There is more alcohol than ink in the lighter colors.  The larger the number, the higher the ink concentration.

A B09 marker is a pure true blue marker with the least amount of ink in the color.  It is the deepest true blue color.  All of the markers from B0000 to B09 contain the same ink color, the concentration of the color is just lighter or darker.

So what does all this mean?  Well, if you wanted a nice blue ball, you may use B05, and then the shadow of the ball would be more gray (since there is less light on the shadow of the ball).  For the shadow you would use either  B45 or B95.  Both have the same intensity of the B05, but they have more gray in them  (approx 40% gray for the B45, and 95% gray for the B95.

Say you wanted to color a beach ball.  Beach balls usually have bright pure colors.  You would want to choose colors with the closest numbers possible.  In this example, I would use the primary colors of red, yellow, blue and green for my beach ball.  I would use marker numbers B05, G05, Y06 (since there is no Y05), and R05.  Those colors are bright and clear.  They are perfect for a beach ball.

If you are looking to add normal high and low lights to a color, you want to use colors a few numbers apart.  There isn't enough visible color variance with colors whose numbers are only one number apart.  For example, it is difficult to see the difference between E31 and E32 in a small image.  You would want to use E31 and E33 for the difference to be visible.

Well, that covers the colors and color chart, but what about the gray scale markers and toners?  What gray scale toner family should you invest in first?  If you select the neutral gray color family, you can use it with your warm and cool colors. 

When you  really understand what the color numbers mean, it is much easier to select colors that compliment, contrast, and shadow each other.   You can make wise choices on colors to maximize your budget.  Like we discussed before, when you select any color family, you want to choose at least three markers from that color family.  You want a light color, a medium and a dark to allow for contrast and shading on your images.  In previous articles, I have given many examples of color family choices for the most popular colors and applications.

Next time, we will be talking about the fun and techniques you can achieve with the Colorless Blender and the Blending Solution.

Please, ask questions or make suggestions for any topic you would like to see covered in Copic Mondays.


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