If you’ve been following my blog and my art for a while, you’ll have noticed that I like to create variations of some illustrations with different color palettes.

Intention and inspiration

My husband asked me about it recently and we had an interesting discussion about it. He says that if I just change the colors of an existing illustration, it’s a bit cheating. Sort of like copying and pasting text.

That got me thinking. But while I understand that this impression can arise, it is based on a misconception: choosing a color palette is by no means a matter of one or two clicks. Because I don’t choose the colors at random, but with a specific intention. For example,

  • to reproduce a typical color scheme from nature (such as a sunset) or
  • to create a certain mood.

And that requires some fine-tuning. Especially since I always strive to limit myself to the bare essentials (minimalist approach). So it’s more than just changing some colors. Rather, it’s a question of combining colors into a harmonious whole that also communicates the mood I had in mind.

By the way, this sometimes results in completely unexpected color combinations, which in turn can serve as inspiration for new illustrations.

Color variations blog post - six illustrations in different color schemes

Colors communicate feelings

Most of the time I start a minimalist landscape or still life with a certain color combination in mind. In the course of the illustration, this can change a bit, because the colors should of course also work together. When everything is finished, I often think: How would that look with typical autumn colors? Or: Which colors would give the impression of a cool spring morning? Colors communicate impressions, feelings and moods. That’s what makes working with them so interesting for me. And it’s the main reason why I create the color variants.

Advantage of digital art

Of course, this once again shows a great advantage of digital art: Changing the colors of an illustration is, from a purely technical point of view, much easier than painting an image from scratch with different colors. The digital variant is more like Andy Warhol’s printing techniques: most of the details remain the same, only the colors change. This can hardly be realized with other techniques (e.g. watercolor painting).

Great exercise

Aside from my basic fascination with color, it’s also just plain great practice to depict a scene in different color combinations. You learn a lot about the effect of colors and their interaction. Also about hues, gradations, shadows and light, the size of color areas in relation to each other and how shapes can influence colors.

Color variations blog post - mockup with two illustrations
Color variations blog post - mockup with six illustrations

Interesting wall decoration

If you like to decorate with art prints: Several color variants of the same illustration next to each other in a smaller format is an interesting alternative to a large picture. It is then like a walk through different times of the day or seasons.