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Color and Mood: How to tell stories in your art with color

When creating art, utilizing colors and the emotions they entice can be a great way to enhance the story you are telling. Simply changing the color in a scene can shift it from being uplifting and hopeful, to dark and moody. Understanding the emotional impact of colors is an important step in learning color theory and deepening the impact of your art.


RED

Let's start with Red. Red is a color of power and drama. It can represent love and passion, but also war, violence, and anger. But through all meanings, it creates a very strong emotional response. It is a bright color that grabs people's attention and draws the eye in.


red-color-meaning


ORANGE

Next up, we have Orange which represents warm energy. This can be through people, by using orange to show they are friendly and happy, or through the setting with orange representing a cozy autumn scene. It can also represent warmth literally, as most people associate orange with fire.


orange-color-meaning


YELLOW

Similarly, Yellow is an energizing color. It represents the sun which gives earth light and warmth, but it also is associated with spring and rebirth. There is a very bright hopeful and happy emotional response with yellow.


yellow-color-meaning


GREEN

Many people associate green with growth as it is the color we see most in nature. You can use green in your art to represent something relaxing or peaceful. But if you use more neon shades of green, you can create something that feels very alien and out of this world.


green-color-meaning


BLUE

Blue is another color that can represent many different moods depending on the use and hue. Bright blue can symbolize calm and trustworthiness. But blue can also be used to represent sadness and storms.


blue-color-meaning


PURPLE

Purple can represent wisdom or royalty. Back in the day, purple was the hardest dye to come by, so making it was expensive and only accessible to the wealthy. While purple pigments are no longer scarce, the color is still associated with royalty.


purple-color-meaning


PINK

Like purple, pink is a very sweet color. With it being used in modern-day to often represent femininity. Since pink is a combination of red and white, it also has themes of each, representing romance and innocence through its childlikeness.


pink-color-meaning


WHITE

White is the color of cleanliness. This can be the cleanliness of a space, representing sterile objects, or it can represent pureness.


white-color-meaning


BLACK

Black can be used to represent dark themes. But it's also a very classic color that can be used to show sophistication or power.


black-color-meaning

However, through all of these meanings, it’s important to remember that colors are just colors. They do not have to mean anything, but they can. Don't let these color moods dictate how you make art, as they are not hard and fast rules, and, at the end of the day, everyone has their own unique interpretations.


If you would like to learn more about color and improve your art, make sure to check out my full course over at Skillshare, where I'll walk you through the element of color and how to use it to create beautiful pieces!




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gabrielle-brickey

Hey! I'm Gabrielle

I'm an American artist from the East Coast who specializes in portrait and character drawing and painting. 

My passion is teaching artists like YOU how to draw and paint portraits and characters that you can be proud of. I'm so excited to help you improve your art skills, gain confidence as an artist, and create the art you've always dreamed of!

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