Danny Gregory writes in his book The Creative License about using color as a beginner:
“I’d hold off on the color for now, too; stick to black ink on white paper. (…) I stuck with one type of black pen for my first year and then added a single additional warm grey marker.”
But I’m a sort of restless and couldn’t resist the temptation of bright colors, so I bought some markers, liquid watercolors and wax pastels after half a year. I must admit: I got overwhelmed. I love the colors, but I have no clue what to do with them.
Sure, I can use them for adding the same color as the subject I’m drawing. It worked very well with these eggs. Without the yellow they didn’t look like eggs and with color they do. The scan isn’t as yellow as the original 😦
In the book Drawing Lab of Carla Sonheim there is an exercise to paint random forms of watercolor and then look at the forms whether you ‘see’ an animal, a foot, a face or anything else familiar. I found this anxious guy.
In film school I learned that one of the best way of testing the color quality of film stock was by shooting a test of the face a woman. We as humans seem to be very sensible of the color of human skin, in this way we can see whether somebody is sick, when the face is green or pale.
As a cameraman I learned to look at shadows and lights, so that is now the way I approach a portrait. I choose three or four colors for the face and attach one color for a different kind of darkness in the face.
My neighbour and artist Elspeth Pikaar made the remark that when you make a drawing in black and white, your brain fills in the forms. This effect disappears as soon as you use color. Therefore I end with two portraits without colors, so you brain can do the rest.