Working in only 2 colours

I recently taught a colour & composition workshop where we concentrated on the wonderful world of colour choices; tones, tints, likes, dislikes and colour matching. Trying to introduce the participants to a new way of considering abstraction in their work I devised a fun exercise where, working in pairs, they created a design which only comprised 2 colours.

The concept is designed for 2 people who work in different colours and swap part of their work at a certain point through the exercise. However, if you’re working alone you will need to create two samples of each step below.

  1. Draw three straight lines on a sheet of paper. They must start and end at the paper edges but must not cross each other.
Four samples of step 1
  1. Draw two lines which must cross at least one of the original three. These lines can start and finish either at the edge of the paper or at an intersection of the original lines.
Four samples of step 2
  1. Draw two circles overlapping your previous lines.
Four samples of step 3
  1. Choose one colour (per sample you make) and apply it in 3 different tonal values (light, medium and dark, or full strength), filling in each individual area.You may choose to use coloured pencils, water-colours, acrylics, marker pens, pastels or whatever you wish.
Three samples of step 4
  1. If working with a partner, cut your samples in the same place – i.e. on the diagonal, 1/3 of the way along, in half, etc. – and swap one portion. Sellotape the two pieces together on the back. If working alone do the same process with your two pieces.
Cut samples and glued together
  1. Keeping with the colour theme, cut, colour and collage pieces across the surface to unify the two halves.
Sample being worked on

Below are the pieces created by two of my students in their colour collaboration. One was given a magenta pencil, whilst the other was given black and asked to apply colour as black and grey with her third tonal value being white.

Mandy and Lisa’s colour experiments

I challenge anyone to find where they cut, swapped and taped together their pieces. Their integration between the two sections is superb.

I completed my piece by adding outlines to some areas in marker pen and some simple running stitch in other places. The piece was then transformed into front and back covers for my latest double offset concertina book. The book was finished with a couple of coats of water-based satin varnish.

About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Design Play, My books & journals, My Creative Pieces. Bookmark the permalink.

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