Joint Training Synopsis

It is our deepest wish and intention to train colour analysts to the highest level of accuracy in human colour analysis. Now that I have been training analysts for a year or so, and Terry for much longer than that, we wanted our courses to streamline as much as possible for consistency of content. It matters to us that your return on this investment be major.

Terry’s and my script as we move through the PCA process is quite different. We wanted to give our students exposure to both, understanding that as instructors, we are more effective by adapting the material to each student’s learning approach. All people, teachers and students, have R or L brain tendencies. For our own development as analysts and to provide students with the best experience, working together has been invaluable.


In the past month, we held two joint training sessions. Here are some of the concerns and solutions from last week’s debriefing.


1. For a couple of models, we did not arrive at the same Season.

This can always happen. The process is far more difficult, detailed, and in-depth than people realize. Students are consistently taken aback by the thoroughness of a good PCA. It is very clear that no living human being has, or can have, an unbiased visual system. The process and drapes must maximize the great value of our intuitions and instincts without introducing error.

For the course in Chatham, 7 of the 8 models had not been previously analyzed. Terry and I agreed on every outcome, including the 8th. Our path to the answer was not identical, which is neither necessary nor significant. With one model, one of us took the path of Spring heat to arrive at Bright Winter, while the other took the path of Autumn darkness in this particular comparison. Bright Winter colouring needs both so either preference would be good. The algorithm, followed correctly, would never eliminate a Season prematurely.

For the course in Michigan, former students had previously draped the models. Season outcomes did not always match. Both disturbed and excited, Terry and I examined the possible reasons. Why excited? Because the Autumn in us likes to know how things work and needs to fix them until they work. If the original drapes had been 100% perfect, the drapes that students buy today would not be as magnificent as they are.

The reason for differing results is unknown, and probably not that exciting after all. As instructors, the angle of vision is altered as we’re not in our usual place behind the client. The drapes are not switching as often while we help the student maneuver them. The distractions of worrying about time, and speaking to the student rather than the client add up. Unlikely that the drape colours were the cause since those now match very closely between analyst sets. Nevertheless, if there is space for improvement and learning, we intend to use it.

Conclusion: More joint training sessions with models that neither of us has draped previously. Note that under PCA Training Course in the sidebar, Terry and I will train together in Canada at the end of September and October.


From our student in May,

Reflecting on my recent PCA training conducted by Christine and Terry, how fortunate it was to be part of a thorough training experience tailored to me – my own questions and specific needs.  Their collective expertise was invaluable in helping me better understand color – theory and application – and navigate a draping process that results in an accurate assessment for an individual’s true tone.  This is more complex than it seems and I can’t imagine having the tools or confidence to get started without this individualized training.  Would highly recommend for anyone seeking to become a trusted and thorough PCA professional.

Kaarin H.




2. Three days are not enough.

The students are just beginning to gel with the flow, the movement of the drapes, and the decision process, and then the course is over. Once they get home and work alone, many would tell you that they feel a little uncertain.

We provide continued support for our students in numerous formats, but it’s not the same as being there. The analysts in our group have to be solid. The public needs to know and trust that PCA can be life-changing. We’re determined learn from the past,  not repeat it all over again.

During training, everyone is physically tired. The full spectrum lights fatigue the eyes, as does looking at visual disharmony most of the time. Our brain can’t help but feel uncomfortable, quite draining to sustain for 7 or 8 hours.

Student feedback consistently mentions anxiety about applying makeup to clients. The present schedule allows little or no time for cosmetics if the student is to drape 6 to 8 people.

There is also little time to discuss client education and post-PCA support in terms of how to implement their PCA result. The Season decision is not enough. If the public cannot use our service to improve purchases, the whole thing is just an academic exercise. The training must include conversations that extend the Season to how each client will use it best. That’s a different dialogue for every client, even five people of the same Season.

Conclusion: The training course will be expanded to 4 days. Each day will run from 9AM to 6PM. Day 1 will involve theory before lunch, and then a model in the afternoon. A model in the morning and afternoon will follow, for a total of 7, allowing time for learning how to select and apply cosmetics, and how to build a framework of support for clients in stores, cosmetic counters, and on web retail sites. The models may include men, as our students should learn how draping a man may be different, but we will provide several models with which to learn cosmetic application.

The course price will be US $3200 with either instructor Canada (Christine in Ontario) or the US (Terry in Michigan).


From our student in June,

More eyes see more – in terms of learning a trade in 3 days, it’s been invaluable to have had the privilege to learn from 2 of the most established and experienced Sci\Art specialists in the field! People / analysts process and evaluate the same information in different ways, therefore it’s important that we challenge our processes by borrowing and trying out techniques from one another. At times, we might observe different or sometimes opposing things looking at the same picture and there’s a lesson to be learnt from that.

Gabriella P.


For the PCA industry and the larger colour community, things really are getting better all the time.



18 thoughts on “Joint Training Synopsis”

  1. I’m really surprised that you didn’t arrive at the same Season, I don’t know how to interpret it – it ads more personal ‘input’ of the colour analyst. I was always a little afraid that PCA is someones elses view on the person being analysed… What about the models – did they have their preference? I think of those people who aren’t happy with the Season they arrived cause I’ve read that this sometimes happens. I’m sure everyone needs some adjusting to the Season, changes are always hard to swallow and there are a lot more consequences of draping than we imagine first… but when someone sits with the drapes against their face he/she should feel and see that these are the best drapes.

    Another thing that crosses my mind is health – I think it could be underestimated – multiple health issues affect our skin (for example b12 deficiency is making the skin more yellow, anaemia less red…) it’s not completely blocking the view but maybe distorting it and making decision harder?

  2. I do wonder if the existing division of seasons is right, or enough. The fact that people are being draped into different seasons is a big concern. It shouldn’t be so difficult to see between comparisons which is better. Is it all subjective? I remember a while back someone commented that there were a couple of Sci\ART analysts who always tried to find the brightest/lightest colors a person could handle, whereas perhaps with you and Terry this is not the ideal – on Terry’s blog she talks about the bottom half of the face seeming to disappear without some shadowing. But is either way more valid? Isn’t it really coming down to personal preference in the end? I can see that in the colors that are in the palette I wound up in, that when I put one under my chin, it seems to reflect pure light onto my face, as if the face is lit up, but not colored. I think this is right, but it does create some shadowing. In my previous (second) analysis I know the analyst went in a spring-ier direction because she was trying to mimimize/eliminate shadowing. I can understand that, but as I look young for my age with a pudgy face, the definition of the stronger colors is preferable to me. Does it maybe become a dialogue between the consumer and the analyst about what they want to achieve?

  3. I agree with you Corinne and hope that Christine will elaborate about this interesting topic. I also noticed something during my PCA – I had a very low neckline and analyst covered only my chest with neutral gray. She showed me also the difference between colours and no colour: the naked skin of my neckline – with good colours the change was a hardly any (I looked a little more ‘even’ and ‘lit up’ with the best of them) whereas all the wrong colours ruined my skin very visibly. Maybe the whole process is finding the colours which don’t mess up your natural beauty, not the ones making u look in any certain way?

  4. I would be really interested to know which seasons you each disagreed on. What were each of you seeing and why did you choose the seasons you chose? What was the person’s colouring like?

  5. About the different results. Very fair questions but you may be reading too much into it. Imagine if you would that, through skill and practice, are able to make a beautiful souffle. Uninterrupted, you are efficient and smooth, instinctive and experienced. Left to your creation for an hour and a half, you bring this most beautiful dish out of the oven. Then one day, a friend would like you to teach her how to do it. Every step needs explaining. The bowl sits on the counter for much longer while you discuss pros and cons of the technique. The mixing is stop and start and stop and start. You mix, then she tries but it’s clumsy, so you have a turn and give her back the bowl. From beginning to end, it takes 4 hours. Will it really be the same souffle?

    When we teach, the drapes are not moving nearly as much as we would on our own. Minutiae are being scrutinized. A flow never really sets in. Students often stop to record results. The process holds up at each drape change to discuss the next comparison strategies. I believe you get it.

    Is it all subjective? Not at all. We continuously evaluate the system to keep it objective. We understand the pitfalls of human decision making and set up many guards and failsafes. If it’s too objective, we lose half of our human perception about colour. We lose the R brain, the emotion, instinct, and intuition. We lose the rhyme and keep the reason. That’s too high a price. The R brain would seem harder to teach but it’s not, it just takes a different language. Everyone gets it. The student, however, is assimilating both at once.

    The colour analyst is always walking the line between too much, normal, and not enough. In seeing 2 drapes compared, we ask ourselves, Am I looking at the 2 on the left, the 2 on the right, or the 2 outside choices?

    Corinne, about face definition vs youth, is there a better? No, both are desirable, as you say. In making her decision, the analyst is comparing many more markers than these though. At what expense did the definition, the youth, the evenly coloured skin, whatever it was, at what expense did it occur?
    Ultimately, we’re moving through a T or F process. We see an optical effect…is it the truth of the person or a false effect brought about by wrong colour, an unflattering illusion due to disharmony? As Daga says so well, we are finding the truth of you, yes!! I could erase every red spot or blue shadow, but there would be a price. That is not our aim. If you have a blue shadow, then you do. We can minimize it. Too often, an analyst selects a Season because she sees evenly coloured skin. OK fine, at what price? If the face is blending into the drape, that is not harmony, that’s being lost in your clothing.

    About which Seasons were the diverging ones, also very fair Q. I will wait till T and I figure out those folks on our own, with our own flow and discussions at our level of understanding before I answer. I (and I would think T also) want to go into those PCAs with no external influence. I personally can hardly wait. I love this stuff. Seeing effects I have never seen before makes my day like nothing else. We all come out better.

    Happy to answer any further Q :)

  6. Thank you for this long response Christine. I totally understand the soufflé analogy. I like Daga’s comment – “Maybe the whole process is finding the colours which don’t mess up your natural beauty.” I think that’s probably it, and maybe sometimes we are looking for something ‘more’, and maybe sometimes the client can push the analyst (some analysts) into an area that has gone a bit beyond the just right/natural point.

  7. The souffle analogy is perfect. For similar reasons I decided to go on my PCA alone, in the past I relied too much on my mother/fiancee/friends opinion, I didn’t want to risk that their strong personalities will disturb the process (distract me for sure). Can’t wait until you write about the models and final result – it will give some more insight on the process of PCA. Corinne, hope that you found your colours and you are happy with them.

  8. Daga, I did… during my third PCA. I am still angry about it two years later – that I had to have three! That is why I am so intrigued still to learn about the process and try to understand why analysts can arrive at such different results. Hopefully it will happen less in future.

    You look radiant in your photo by the way. I presume that’s one of your blues from the drapes?

  9. Corinne, Yes, it’s one of my favourite drapes – I think the brightest one. Thankfully I’m sure I’m BrSp and the proof is on the photo – I’m after couple of nights of hardly any sleep, half day of travel, it’s late in the evening and with half of make up I used to wear I still manage to look really good. I’m so interested in the process cause firstly – what I observed during my PCA was almost magic and it gave me so much confidence; secondly as you see I’m not stereotypic BrSp cause I have brown eyes and hair similar to the eyebrow colour (I coloured it all my life and I hardly remember how does my natural hair look like! Now I ask myself Why??? well, I remember I always stupid enough to think it was “bland” – and I shoud change myself to look good). Anyway, I also tan easily and I always thought that it’s not a springs thing to do ;) so I try to figure out my place among the springs and how to bring out the best of me. I’m curious what season are you and what you’ve been draped as before?

  10. Daga, I’m a Dark Autumn. I was draped before that as a True Autumn and Bright Spring, so I know the BSp colors well… they turn me yellow. The first draping didn’t bother me – it was as right as it could be at the time (4 seasons). The second one was with a Sci\ART analyst who, I know now, does not follow the method as it should be performed. When I contacted her some six months after the draping to ask to be re-draped she replied, and I quote, “it really isn’t that important, just where what you like.”

    I think we see plenty of Bright Springs with brown eyes and dark hair. I think the stereotypes about Springs mainly being blond, or being able to dye their hair golden blond and it be believable, all that stuff, just doesn’t exist. Where is the database of color analysed people – correctly color analysed people – which proves it? Only now are we starting to see on the internet photos of people who have been draped correctly, and there is no dominant pattern… or if there is a pattern (the skin) it isn’t what we can easily see, and statistically what proportion of people do they represent anyway?

  11. Your right Corinne. I think that spring ‘stereotype’ is in me since I read magazines as a very young girl and from the description they gave I could be any of 4 seasons but NOT spring. Even now just by description DA seem to be the most logical choice for me, when I went to my PCA I suspected it although kept open mind.

    In fact “last seasons standing” on my PCA were Dark Autumn and Bright Spring :) so I understand how could your previous colour analyst make that mistake. Dark autumns colours were good on me, compared with very light colours they were even great. I think probably because in their darkness they were quite saturated (they are very rich) and they have similar amount of warmth. For me they weren’t clear enough – when compared with BrSp drapes they casted a shadow over my entire face, like a thin/transparent black veil. When I looked at my face I just wanted to “peel off” the invisible veil to see myself hidden underneath – that how I was sure DA was wrong. Interesting what you said about BrSp making you yellow – my foundation is quite yellow but I use much less coverage now so in a way – I need less of yellow than before (although it’s maybe cause of my hair – no longer blonde).

  12. ps. If someone thinks “it isn’t that important” – shouldn’t be in this business. Mistakes are human thing – a good analyst should deal with them better.

  13. I’m reading this topic & comments with great interest.
    At first I too was kind of angry that even with the scientific approach of Sci/Art, mistakes are made.
    How can that happen? Well, because we are humans and nothing on this earth is flawless.
    Mistakes with Pca’s happens all the time and I suppose every color consultant has her share of this.
    Christine is the only person in this industry I know of who is honest to come forward with her findings in the analyzing process. She deserves credit for this.

    Corinne asked if it isn’t really coming down to personal preference in the end.

    In my opinion: no it isn’t.
    I have had many Pca’s . Many. And with very different results.
    Some colors make me look younger. Some pop up the eyes. Some throw shadows, and some light up. Some make the skin look more clear, some give a very harmonious/blending look.
    I was never satisfied. Always there was something to doubt about. Until my last Pca.
    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my best colors draped on me.
    I would describe the feeling like this: you look in the mirror and the first thing you see is an authentic beauty. It’s not that I am a beautiful woman – far from it – but it is the beauty of a unique authentic human that you notice. It is like you can sigh deeply and feel a total relaxation coming over you.
    You don’t look for shadows, or highlights, or does that pimple disappear. Do my eyes pop up. No that’s irrelevant. What you see is authentic beauty as it was meant to be. You see a wholeness. You see your levels of depth, your unique intensity coming forward.
    It really makes a difference. It’s not a matter of who prefers what.
    When it’s done right, you’ll know it, without a shadow of a doubt.
    This is off course just my opinion. Others may think differently 

  14. I agree 100%, Ineke. People are only 1 Season but the PCA process is far more complex than the public has been led to believe up until a few years ago. Our way of life, our media, our education system, they discourage mistakes and failure of any sort. Not only is that glittering world artificial, it perpetuates those very mistakes and failures by not resolving them. Everyone is learning all the time. Professors and experts don’t always agree even though only 1 is correct. If the same question were asked 10 years later, with current understandings and methods, the other would be deemed correct. Debates are important to open everyone’s mind and improve a situation.
    You struggle with defining harmony just as I do. It almost defies words. The final image is neither Photoshop or plastic surgery. It’s a feeling of “this person and this colour are more together than apart’, as in they make one another into more. The person has more radiance, health, vitality, excitement, and passion in their appearance. The colour is rendered even more colourful, the textile becomes luxurious, the garment appears very expensive. The overall appearance is perfectly calm and unified. Truth, the greatest silencer of all.

  15. As usual, you say it so much better than I do. Even in my own language I would be lost for words. Lol!

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