Discover more from From Jessica Wesolek's Studio . . .
Sketchbook Stories 6/23/23
Using Color to Harmonize a Two Page Spread
Color is great for so many reasons, and it plays a huge role in successful design. It can establish the mood of a piece, certainly add beauty, and in a less obvious role, it helps hold a composition together and give it harmony.
An extreme example of this is a monochromatic (one color painting), where only values of that color define the image. Of course, there is harmony.
And, if you use an Analogous color scheme (a few colors that are actually neighbors on the color wheel), the harmony of the piece is guaranteed.
However, when you start to use a lot of colors, you have to tread carefully, because this can actually create disharmony. Many different, attractive colors can pull the viewer’s eye all over the place, and make a piece of art an unsettling experience.
My travel journals have a LOT going on and there are usually a lot of colors involved in the goings-on. And sketchbook compositions are challenging anyway because of the natural page divide. You harmonizing has to jump the gutter to hold a spread together.
To do this you have to use a trick called “echoing” with shapes and with colors.
Echoing means there is never an orphan shape or color. If there is a rectangle, there has to be another rectangle somewhere else on the page or spread. Usually, there is more than one echo, but there must be at least one. The same is true of color.
The more echoes are distributed around the composition, the more they harmonize the whole
The human eye is attracted to related things. If it sees a red thing, it looks for another red thing. If there is only one red thing, it gets stuck there. Same with only one square or rectangle, one circle, oval, or curved thing.
The spread above is about a recent visit my sister made and she stayed in a darling Air BnB nearby (she can’t take the fur factor in my house). We took a road trip to Texas together from here and had a most wonderful time.
When I do a sketch of a room, I rearrange things freely so all the interesting things can be in the sketch. Like that little table fountain was not on the same wall with the fireplace, and the rug with socks(?!) was near the door. I guess the host didn’t want muddy shoes in the house. The glass block window was on the wall on the other side of the fireplace.
This kind of thinking is good when you are trying to simplify a scene. What’s important is remembering the interesting things, not having to draw a whole room in order to show them all.
Scroll back to the top and spend some time looking for color echoes and shape echoes, and you will see what I mean about how they kind of sew the whole thing together and coax you into looking at all the parts.