Adding depth to your boring flat colors despite your fear of commitment

Who hates wasting paint? I do. Every clump of dried up paint on my canvas translates to nickles and dimes and well… Momma didn’t raise a wasteful child. I’ve eaten enough leftovers that I now have minor waves of anxiety when I even think about throwing food away.

Color is hard. I never really got a handle on paint and color until Junior year of undergrad. Here’s my hard-earned trick to adding interest to your colors.


Alright kiddos listen up, before you do anything on your painting, you need to set straight in your mind the prevailing shadow color and the prevailing light source color. My light source is yellowed white and my shadows are a muted brownish burgundy color. Knowing this, notice how I mixed the green in these leaves with yellow. Yes everywhere. Get it ingrained in your mind that light is the reason we see. The light source is yellow so I will be mixing every single part of this stupid plant with yellow.

As for shading, here I will mix up my burgundy and water it the heck down.

Slap it right on. We’re using maybe a nickel’s worth of paint. Bask in the utter inconsequence of it all.

This is what financial freedom looks like.

In the name of all that is representationalist, I hereby dub these boring flat as heck leaves Bob Ross approved.

The last step is slightly exaggerating some shadows. I’m going for that dramatic lighting so I want very very dark darks along with my very very white whites.



Voila. We’re done here. We’ve won the battle but the war still rages and dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Undoubtedly I’ll make the shadows even more dramatic before I can call it done. Now wish me luck trying to render and invent these shadows from my head.

One thought on “Adding depth to your boring flat colors despite your fear of commitment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s