The 12 Colour Equations
November 24, 2012 by Christine Scaman
The first draft of the Training Guide came back from my wonderful editor. Iryna, my equally wonderful book formatter, is waiting to start but I still have some work to do. Â I’ve been keeping my head down and not attending to posting articles and answering comments as I should. My apologies for that.
I should sound more excited because I am. I’m really looking forward to these training events – maybe especially the part where we put our feet up at the end of each day, have a glass of wine, and share some informal conversation. That and going across the street (from the hotel in London ON) to swatch makeup at Sephora. It’s going to be good.
I’m not going to talk much today. Many have asked for the 12 Colour Equations from the book, Return to Your Natural Colours (linked over in the right column) to be posted all in one place. Here, they be. Any that have appeared previously have a link to that article posted with the title. Explanations are in the articles and/or the book itself.
A reminder that these palettes went through Photoshop’s colour model, my computer, the servers, and your computer before you saw them. At each step, they changed a little. No two readers are seeing the same thing. Don’t use them to buy clothes or makeup. Use them as comparison with the eleven others. To choose your colours and know your true darkness range, use your 12 Tone swatch book. Nothing else is calibrated right.
Use them to notice how my taste Â prefers to see neutral colours used, the overall degree of colourfulness, the use of complementary colours (to each other and to the skin undertone), and the gradual or sharp flow between colours. The geometric figures make it hard to impossible to illustrate watercolour diffusions between colour blocks, so for that, you need to read the book or other sections of this website.
Â True Winter
If you see light icy gray, feel free to sub in diamond and platinum, certainly neutrals for you. These also can be used in place of white to set the high contrast range with black.
Very purple, this Tone. Not much red, but a lot of pink, fuchsia, and purple. No. 5′s purple is also a near neutral colour for True Winter, more magnificent than black against the skin tone.
In the article Colour Equations Dark Winter.
Easy one. Shoot the sat up to 98-100%.Â Small areas of complementary colours. Something has to be happy, which means a little random (repetitive=predictable=work=Autumn)
, but not too happy. If it gets too happy, rein it in. Move it darker. Make the pattern repeating. Bright Winter is the “Life is a party. So, how come I’m not having fun?” paradox.
Something has to be delicate too. Add significant jewels profusely. Jewelry is your normal.
And shiny shoes and purses. Super shiny is also your normal.
The original is darker and more saturated in Photoshop. They lose when they’re uploaded. As dark as the belt inset in #1 feels right.
Dark Â Autumn
In the article Dark Â Autumn CE and Apparel.
In the article Light And True Spring Neutral Colours at the Office and CE.
True Spring is a (2 colour + 1 neutral) or (2 neutrals + 1 colour) look. Actually, that’s probably everyone’s best way to use neutrals, but when you wear the Â 2 colour, they can both be equally sized if you choose (others might use 1 large and 1 smaller block), and they can be complementary or at least quite different colours (others would wear colours of the same family or neighbours on the colour wheel). Â When you wear the 1 colour look, make it a bright one, not one of the gentler ones.
In the articleÂ Light And True Spring Neutral Colours at the Office and CE.
Not happy with that one, it uploaded at the very low end of the saturation possibility. The bigger problem is that it looks too warm. True Summer hinges on absolute coolness. Try again to give a better sense of the darkness and saturation levels. Darn, now Soft Summer looks too light. It’s all about comparison.
In the article Light Summer CE and Being Not Pale.
Also in the book RTYNC, I write an equation called Undertone Colour for each of the 12 Â Tones that describes how I see my version of the 12 undertones happening. The undertones are shown in the top right corner of the 12 colour layout pages. Below is a graphic that shows the colours I saw as the building blocks of those undertone equations.
To be really clear, I am not a colour mixing expert. This is only how I figure it in my head and much of it is probably incorrect. Â You gotta start somewhere. This colour chart is a good guide to the colours referenced.
Blue = French Ultramarine
Red = True Red to Alizarin Crimson
Blue = Cobalt Blue
Pink = Rose Madder Genuine looks right. In the photo below, I used Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, and some yellow to make the colour at 6 o’clock, True Summer.
Gray = is gray really added? As a product of black in pigments, a single drop can take over a mixture. Is the muting of the Tone done with complements alone to preserve the blue-pink undertone? I don’t know. In the colour circle below, no black was used, even for the Winters.
Yellow – the daffodil, the buttercup.
Gold = Raw Â Sienna to Gold Ochre.
Practicing The Undertones
A year ago, when I was thinking about the Undertones for the book, I did this. The white page at the top gives you a white balance.
I have many watercolours. If I had one straight that felt right, I used it, though it could easily have been made from the neighbour colours.
True Winter: Winsor Violet + Ultramarine Blue.
Dark Winter: Crimson Lake + Sepia.
Bright Winter: Permanent Red + Cadmium Yellow.
True Summer: Cobalt Blue + Permanent Rose + Spring yellow.
Light Summer: Cerulean Blue.
Soft Summer: True Summer’s mixture + Sepia.
True Spring:Â A mixture of Cadmium Yellow, quite warm on its own + Lemon Yellow hue.
Light Spring: Permanent Rose + Spring yellow + trace of Cobalt Blue.
Bright Â Spring: Permanent Rose.
True Autumn: Burnt Sienna.
Soft Autumn: True Summer + Yellow Ochre. I like yellow ochre, it has a thickness and opacity that reminds of a strong Soft Autumn visual I have, which is fudge.
Dark Autumn: Brown Madder (and maybe some red or blue, I don’t recall)