Illustrating Behind the Scenes: Choosing Colors

coral scene

One of the most exciting things about illustrating children’s books is choosing colors!  We wanted to show the ocean and its creatures accurately but VIBRANTLY to really captivate the imagination.  So, at the craft store down the acrylic paint aisle, our conversation went something like this:

“Ooooh, this would be a GREAT color for the pearl.  And it’s called ‘purple pearl’, how perfect!”

“We need LOTS of this bold aqua color for the backgrounds. Black too for the night sky.”

“What do you think is the best color for the blue water on the surface?  We don’t want it too dark.”

“Which of these do you like best for the sand?  Maybe all three so we can blend them.”

“What colors for the sailfish?  He needs to glow.”

And so, our basket got heavier and heavier as we added more bottles.  We had a purpose in mind for each color we chose: shades of green for the leafy sea dragon and seaweed, bright pinks for coral, deep reds for the inside of the clam, and calming pastels for the morning beach scene.

I can’t remember how much time passed as we contemplated colors!  We certainly went back a couple times for a few that we missed, or after we discovered a particular color wasn’t to our liking as we’d thought.  And each time, we once again were giddy from the color choices, and my “ooo’s” were easily heard in nearby aisles.  I must say, there’s something magical about choosing the shades of color for a yet to be created creation!

Here’s a peek into some of our acrylic paint collection:

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