|color color everywhere
||[Apr. 21st, 2004|12:57 pm]
I have seen a number of people (and talked to people I know) who have real trouble with color in their knitting and sewing. They're fine with a one-color item, or with using colorful yarn that someone else has designed. But putting colors together freaks them out. Now there's a lot of things that freak me out, but color is not one of them. I was matching my mom's outfits and accessories from before I can remember, and I've always loved color.
In fact, I don't do it full time, but I actually color professionally (and I was even nominated for an award for it once!), and think about color a lot -- putting together combinations in the house (turquoise and pale blue dining room; red and gray living room; orange and cream in the boy's office, etc) or wherever. And starting to play with color in knitting is something I look forward to!
But for those who aren't comfortable with color there doesn't seem to be a lot of help other than the most basic color wheel instruction that you get in any home decorating book, although there is an upcoming book that looks very valuable, Color Works, which addresses the issue.
Here are some things I recommend to anyone interested in color:
Read through some basic color theory books. For the most part, get them from a library as you will not really need to refer to these books later. The Elements of Color is a great book I read in one of my design classes in college. The Color Star is by the same author. Skip the books about mixing color, or that are geared towards painters. The effects of color in paint (or printing) are quite different from the effects of putting two opaque colors side by side.
Also check out some books on color for graphic designers. The pantone books are almost always great (if frightfully expensive). The Guide to Communicating with Color is a very good one.
For slightly cheaper inspiration, look for home magazines that focus on painting. There are often specialty issues that are about nothing but color schemes for rooms, which I always find fascinating. There is nothing wrong with copping someone else's color scheme!
And finally, my #1 source of color play and inspiration: every time you are near a home or paint store, look at the paint chips. Pull colors that attract you, whether you think you'd ever use it or not, whether you think you can put it with anything else or not (skip the metallic and special effects stuff). The larger single-color chips are especially good for this. Take them home and start a collection of them. Eventually, you will have a vast range of little swatches of colors you have found interesting, and you can combine and recombine them to your heart's content. There is no better way to learn about color and to learn what combinations you like. Reading up on color theory may help you understand why you like what you like and make it easier to find other colors you will be able to integrate into your color schemes. But even if you're just running on intuition, this alone will really help you look at color. I have a whole box of paint chips myself (going all the way back to the 1930s) and I may not pull them out all the time, but I still will go through them looking for inspiration every so often, whether it's to change the color of a room, pick fabrics for a new project, or whatever. And if you decide to chuck it all and never think about color again, your investment was $0!