Last week at The ca workshop, in Wellington, Jason Manley had an awesome lecture on colour theory, which really opened my eyes on the subject.
After the lecture, inspired by his talk i really wanted to know how being colourblind affects my illustration work and if there is any way to help overcome it.
I went up and asked him, and to my delight he gave me the first decent advice i have heard anywhere on the subject.
He told me to do landscape painting, lots of landscape painting, and he also gave me a bunch of exercises to do over the summer to try and help me increase my colour sensitivity, using traditional paints.
At first when he told me this on the night, and i went back to my room, and madly scribbled down what i could remember, but i was still unsure on a few things, such as what paints to get and what type of paints. So i went to him again and he kindly wrote out a list of colours and what i should be doing with them.
Note this isn't all Jason's words, they are my interpretation of what he was telling me.
Just as a note, this is over 1000 colours to mix.Jason Manley's Paint Mixing Exercises.
These exercises are made to increase colour sensitivity in someone who is colour-blind, but they according to Jason, will also prove invaluable to a normal artist as well for practice in blending colours and understanding colour theory.
Cad Red Medium
Cad Red Light
Permanent green light
With "every" one of these colours mix them with another colour in a 50/50 ratio, and from there mix 4 degrees from that mixed colour to black, and the same to white. Keep in mind that the 50-50 (as well as 25/75, and 75/25) ratio is not mixed in volumes; instead you are trying to mix the colours to be the 50-50 mix, so you might need more of one colour than the other to reach the 50-50.
It doesn’t really matter what type of paints you use, though some paints are better for mixing than other paints. Gouache and oil paints are good to use.
I'm nowhere near as colorblind as i would imagine a lot of people on this forums could be, but it is most certainly enough to screw with my art.
Just to demonstrate the level of colourblindness i have i put together this image.
I wont have the money nor the time to buy the materials to start these exercises for about 2 weeks but i thought that posting this thread up would also help other artists out there .
I will be updating this thread with my colour studies as soon as i can get the materials and i can start painting. It should be an interesting experiment and i think it is definatley worth trying.
I used to be afraid of saying that I'm colourblind as an artist on the internet, scared that it could affect my chances professionally.
And the truth is it most probably can, but i think that being able to help other people with the same problem is much more important than my professional career.
If you guys have any more tips for colourblind artists, please dont hesitate to share them.
I'm not colorblind myself, but one of my close friends is red/green colorblind. We've had a lot of interesting discussions trying to tease out differences in aesthetic preference.
Don't get discouraged dude. You can see the world in a different way than most of the rest of us, and can read into patterns that we might miss - Predator style. Think of it as a biological and artistic advantage, rather than a deficiency.
For anyone who doesn't know much about this subject, check these images from the wiki.
The colors of the rainbow as viewed by a person with no color vision deficiencies.
The colors of the rainbow as viewed by a person with protanopia.
The colors of the rainbow as viewed by a person with deuteranopia.
The colors of the rainbow as viewed by a person with tritanopia.
trust me I'm not discouraged, and the truth is I'm not really majorly colour blind, but it is enough for me to make a fair amount of mistakes with my work. Hell it may even work out for the better as it forces me to study and observe colours that much more closely .
Though i must say that not being able to see the the differences in saturation between that blue aqua colour took my by surprise.
Sweet stuff bro! I'm in the same boat as you, partial red/green colour blindness and it was affecting my confidence earlier this year. I just stuck to value studies mainly. After that talk by Jason though, I was fully amped about colour. that is the sort of information that really helps any artist, but even more if you're colour blind.
I'll definitly be keen to follow this thread. Over the years I've been able to very slowly be more aware of colours that I may have problems with. Sometimes though (I think because it's your brain that interprets signals from your eyes) I actually "see" red when in actual fact it's green, and then when I realise it turns green. Thats always a bummer. I don't have any tips really, well maybe one. Black and yellow I always thought gave you this sorta tan brown colour. It can actually look quite green, especially when next to red. apparently. so beware! it's stung me a couple of times.
Just to be clear, it sounds like he's talking about tinting strength. I don't know of any way to determine the tinting strength of an individual color, except perhaps just adding white. I add white to a color, then add the same amount of white to another color and compare the differences. Ultramarine blue for example has a STRONG tinting strength, meaning I add smaller amount of it when mixing colors.Keep in mind that the 50-50 (as well as 25/75, and 75/25) ratio is not mixed in volumes; instead you are trying to mix the colours to be the 50-50 mix, so you might need more of one colour than the other to reach the 50-50.
OK that makes sense. Thanks mate.
I'm still waiting on money to buy the stuff to start this :/.
Darn acer cashback that hasn't been returned with the 6 weeks they said yet....
Oh I had no idea you were colour blind, dude.
Don't let it discourage you man.
Like Hybrid mentioned, go hard on the value studies, then you won't even need to worry about colour.
I'm color blind too. I just finished a portfolio review with Jason Manley and his first question to me was 'Are you color blind?'. He told me to study up on Sargent, Velazquez, Rembrandt, and Howard Pyle. He also told me that JP Targete is color blind, but he's learned to use it to his advantage. The color exercise you posted will be of great help.
Unfortunately, there is no way you can improve your color vision naturally, it depends entirely on the physical presence of rods and cones in your eyes.
The exercise suggested by the OP will only show how different pigments react when mixed, good for learning paint mixing, but it will do nothing to increase anyone's color sensitivity.
As a partially red-green color blind artist who has researched this area, I would suggest visiting an opticians who can prescribe the specially tinted contact lenses or glasses which can enhance color perception, although they are expensive they are the only thing that I'm aware of that can do this at the moment. Even then the results are mixed.
Recently heard of some potential new type of gene therapy in monkeys which can correct color blindness, don't think its available in humans yet though.
Last edited by Nerrad; October 13th, 2009 at 08:23 AM.
Obviously the exercise isn't claiming to fix the eyes.... It is instead trying to help the artist to see the difference between colours that are similar but slightly different, and make the most of what they have.
For example, you might be able to just see the difference between 2 colours, with training you will be able to see that difference.