Top 5 Favourite Colours – An Introduction
So, deciding on a top 5 colours is no easy thing. I think rather than picking colours like ‘Red’, ‘Orange’ or ‘Blue’ I will talk about paints from a specific brand. Of course I feel like all colours defined by brand or not are important and the beauty and breadth of colour variety is breathtaking to behold. There is really an infinite level of complexity and combinations that can be used to create beautiful things. So let’s take a look at My Top 5 Favourite Colours by David Colwell!
I will keep my answer a bit shorter than going too in depth but I will try and describe why I have chosen the colours I have. They may not be the best colours or the ones that I would say everyone should use but rather they are currently the colours I find most useful personally.
Lately I have been finding more and more that I enjoy the ScaleColor Artist Acrylic Paint tubes. If I have the option of using these paints they seem to usually be at the top of my list. However, for certain purposes it is also important to have pre-mixed paints of a particular tone; especially in the deep dark unknowns of tinted greys. It is something I’ve also been discovering recently but there are colours for all occasions. The variety of pre-made paints within the grey spectrum is actually quite small in my experience.
Maybe that’s a subset of the scale 75 Artist Acrylics having few greys of the type I mean. I expect most of my choice of top 5 colours at the moment will come from that range but that doesn’t mean that I can live without my other paints.
So then I will talk about the five specific paints I would choose to have no matter what and stop blabbing on about colour in obtuse and fanciful ways.
My Top 5 Favourite Colours – The Countdown
No.1 ScaleColor Artist Dark Brown Ochre
I love this colour. It is such a versatile colour and useful in so many circumstances it is a de-saturated black red that I find particularly useful for both cold and warm scenes because it bridges the gap between to two. For example for my recent Inu Kingdoms bust uses this colour as the primary defined shadow tone. It is much colder than the rest of the colours I’ve used in the scene while also being a warm tone. So I can make the borders of the bust appear cold without actually being so if we say that true cold is actually blue.
Place the model next to another model that is overall cold looking and you can really notice how warm it feels. However, see the model by itself and you can almost get the feeling that the border shadows are close to being blue. Secondarily to this Dark Brown Ochre colour is the ScaleColor Artist Wood paint, it is a perfect step up from this point into a ‘cold warm’ tone. That is perfect and I also used this in the periphery of the Inu Kingdoms box art to help lead the colour from the cold red shadow to the warmth of the main light internally. While I won’t put the Wood tone in my list of 5 paints when I think of Dark Brown Ochre it is hard to think about it without the attachment of Wood as well.
No.2 ScaleColor Artist Pastel Green
It is strange, as I create this list I find myself trying to choose colours but I also realise how much I don’t like to compromise on my choices. I want to be able to choose and use everything. It then becomes a matter of finding some way to pick colours that I enjoy using the most and again we have a colour that I would define as a ‘grey’. This colour is defined as a green but I like to use it as a blue.
I feel like it is specifically an especially good colour to use for Non Metallic Metal steel or silver. This is not an area where I would say my skills are particularly high. However, I have found that it is especially important to use all variety of tone within the grey you’re using as you rise in value when painting steel or silver. So, while you might have the goal of a certain type of steel or silver look, by deviating a bit from pure greys you can introduce the complete spectrum of colours within the grey. It can be really subtle but this kind of subtle difference is a way to give a lot of life to the metal.
This colour is picked from the range of pale coloured greys. I could and would love to use all of them all the time. Artic Blue, Pastel Blue, Pearl Grey, Violet Grey and Wood. They’re all technically considered greys and have so much more depth of tone to them than you might expect.
No.3 ScaleColor Artist Dark Violet
It seems at the moment I’m having a journey within de-saturated colours and greys of the three main full dark tones that I find myself using most if I had to pick one it would be the Dark Violet. This is because it can become so much more when it’s painted over using a glaze or combined with other colours. It can become more red when adding oranges or yellows and it can become this amazing mid tone of blue that’s not blue when combined with green.
This purple is theoretically also the darkest ‘colour’ to my mind so I find myself rising from this point whenever I paint up from a shadow. I have to deliberately steer myself away from this colour as a base tone often otherwise I would find my work looking all too similar which is something I try to avoid. I want experience in all colours, tones and styles.
No.4 Vallejo Model Colour Smoke
So we come to colour number 4 (we’re really up to number 7). This is absolutely a paint that I can’t live without. Unfortunately Vallejo can be annoyingly inconsistent with their paints. I have 3 tubes of this colour and they’re all slightly different. One of them is a bit more green, the other is a bit more red.
My red tube is nearly running out so I have to be stingy with it and I don’t know what I’m going to do if I can’t find another tube that is the same tone because I use it as big part of my NMM Gold. I have ordered 3 more tubes from different retailers in the hope that I will get another one that is close to the red tone that I have which is almost running out.
If I had more in the tube or more available I would be using this paint much more than I already do. There is something about the way it tints other colours that I love and it’s really useful for really subtle changes to shadow colours without looking too dirty. This paint is more like a glaze paint than a normal paint and I do find myself preferring paints that don’t have a lot of opacity when applied lately. I like the ability to adjust and change colours by tiny amounts which are sometimes (or even often) consciously invisible to the viewer but can have a significant impact on a scene when the whole thing is presented consistently.
So coming to the last colour in the list of 5 (which is really 11) we have the old Bugman’s Glow. I find this is a lot like the Dark Violet for me when talking specifically about skin. If I was to not deliberately steer away from this I would end up using this as my base tone for most skin. It’s just so useful as a skin tone shadow.
In the same sense of thinking about multiple paints when I’m talking about one as I have done above there are others that go hand in hand with this or are interchangeable to make slight differences in the base tone and large differences to the final skin tone. Those would be Citadel Tuskgor Fur, Citadel Doombull Brown, Vallejo Nocturna Burned Flesh, Vallejo Nocturna Purple Shadow, Vallejo Model Colour Red Leather, P3 Sanguine Base and Scale 75 Indian Shadow. All of these are great structural tones for different skin tones and while they’re all mostly interchangeable in my mind to create different looks if I was being content and wanting to just use the easiest path to good looking results I would go the Bugman’s Glow path every time. It’s like Vallejo Model Colour Beige Red and is a really great tone to link different skin tones together.
I hope this all makes some kind of sense. Lots of babbling on and not really thinking too much about formatting or writing for an article and rather just talking so I’m sorry if there are grammatical errors. I hope this is something like what you were looking for. Realistically I could go on like this about a lot of different paints let along talking about specific colours. I feel very lucky to have been able to accumulate a large range of paints over the years. I don’t think I would want to calculate just how much money I’ve spent on different paints that are so similar yet different enough to be useful. Sure there are many many paints that I barely ever use but they’re still useful on the occasions that I use them and I wouldn’t want to take any of them away.
I always find those limited palette exercises that people do a bit strange, but each to their own if people find it useful then that’s something they can do. Maybe I should give it a go some time I mean shouldn’t judge something that I have no true experience with right? Anyhow that’ll do for me now.