Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Color Me Happy

Every crafter is a visual artist, and, as such, works with color. You probably learned in grade school that red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors (of pigment, not light, but that's not the issue here), and that combinations of any two of those make the secondary colors, orange, green, and purple. You might have learned about complementary colors, colors opposite each other on the color wheel. And of course you know that black and white go with everything.

But what do you do when you're tired of primaries and secondaries, monochrome and two-tone, black and white? Unless you followed an art track in college, you probably don't know much more about color theory. What happens when you open your bead box, your yarn stash, your fabric closet, and don't know where to start?

Color Scheme Designer to the rescue! Created by Petr Stanicek as an aid to web site designers, CSD is an elegant, easy to use guide to color.

Above the color wheel on the left, there are buttons for selecting for six different color arrangements (monomchrome, complementary, triad, etc.). Once you've chosen that, you can pull the dots on the wheel around to select your main color, and the colors that fall within the range of your chosen arrangement. On the left are four blocks in a row that show the main colors of your selection, above a larger block showing some different shades of your palette. Below the wheel are tabs that allow you to play with brightness, saturation, and contrast. If you do happen to be designing for a website, or need a color for your digital art, you can get a list of the colors with their hexadecimal codes. There are even controls for viewing the colors as people with different kinds of color blindness see them. I could write a how-to guide for this application, but really, the best thing is just to go play with it. Try everything on the page, just to see what it does.

If Color Scheme Designer can't break you out of your color block blues, I don't know what can!

P.S. Idle fun for sports fans: set the color wheel to "complement," then pull the dots around and see how many team colors you can find. ;)

Happy New Year!

I know, I'm almost a month late to be offering such greetings. If you look back through my posts of the past year, you'll see that you might consider yourself lucky to be reading anything from me at all, given how infrequently I've posted in that time.

I'm not usually one to go for the whole New Year Resolution thing, but I've decided to make just one this year. You're all witnesses, and I expect you to call me on it if I fail. Here goes:

I, Carin Huber, Mad Craftwoman Extraordinaire, hereby resolve for the year 2010 of the Common Era, to make at least one post during each month of substance, where "of substance" means not relating strictly to my craft woes or published works (though those posts will continue to appear as well), but shall impart useful knowledge, whether it be a tutorial of my own making, or discussion of others' works or events, or of trends in craft. Making two such posts in one month will not excuse me from making another one in the following month. Posts intended to fulfill this resolution will carry the label "resolution," along with any other applicable labels.

Okay, there it is. I'm counting on you to poke me with a stick if a month comes and goes without a substantive post here from me. And, no, this post doesn't count as "substantive." That one's coming next. :)