Color: #3 Split Complementary Triad

Split Complementary Triad

Looking at plants: Looking for the hues which strike me first:

Blue-violet and yellow-green dominate my color-perception of this plant.

Here, yellow-green and red-violet dominate.  I’m going to work with this one for now.


1. I make two Split Complementary Triad color stars to show how the dominant color dictates the split. The first one shows Yellow-Green plus red and violet, the second; Red-Violet plus green and yellow.  I make two drawings of the same plant to show how the two different palettes turn out.  (you need only make one drawing for h.w.-but of course, the more, the better)

2. Blending the triadic hues to neutralize and dull them.

3. I make a light line drawing of the plant. I very lightly shade yellow-green over most of the paper before I start with other colors. This breaks the tendency to reserve the background for “last”. Make sure you work the space surrounding the plant (background) at the same time as you work up the plant.

4. I then decide which hues are “cooler” and “warmer” in relation to each other. I’ll use cooled and/or dulled hues for the background because we don’t see them as quickly as we see intense/saturated and warmer hues which I’ll group in the foreground and plant.

I’ll work throughout the piece with each color, varying  pressure and quantity to get the desired effect, overlapping colors for increased shades/darks. Resist the urge to increase pressure to make shades-blend colors instead. (colored pencil is difficult to erase) .

With each buildup stage you may loose detail. Go back into the drawing with the pencil point and pressure to refine edges of value and temperature contrast. Continue to update your drawing until the very end.

Pull highlights out and bring back tints (hue plus white) with your eraser.

See how a different dominant color effects each drawing.

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