I decided to use my cat, Leo for my illustration / graphic inspiration. I decided to break his facial features up into shapes. I thought this would be effective in showing how the different colour schemes convey different emotions and experiences to the viewer. Cats, and my cat is no exception have so many different personalities, here are just a few different emotions that I feel describe cats in general and my cat as well.
Monochromatic Colour Scheme
I decided to use beige as the base colour for the monochromatic scheme. This colour scheme is the closest and most natural colour scheme that represents what my cat actually looks like and the main reason why I went with this colour.
I wanted to give the viewer a more realistic, yet still abstract idea of what colour scheme my cat is and how laid back he can be. He doesn’t have a lot of fur, but he is soft and very warm.
The emotion that I chose to represent this scheme is ‘Relaxing’. This is a neutral colour and is often associated with relaxation and comfort. The different tints combined are soft on the eyes and inviting, even if my cat is a little weird-looking to strangers at first sight. The slight brown shade reminds me of nature.
The base beige colour that I achieved at the top of the swatch, I started off with more of an orange hue, but added black, increasing the shade very slightly and then decreased the saturation quite, and increased the brightness slightly. I added tints to the rest of the swatches, as I wanted to keep the hue fairly consistent while gradually allowing the hue to get lighter. However, I increased the percentage of yellow in the 3rd and 4th swatch down. I wanted to create enough contrast between the shapes in the face, without the colours bleeding together too much but still having somewhat of a subtle graduation between the values.
I wanted this graphic to have a mainly warm, neutral colour scheme, which is why most of the swatches had some yellow and orange hues added, albeit subtly.
Complimentary Colour Scheme
In this colour scheme, I used Violet and Yellow.
While cats can be very friendly, fun and loving, especially mine, they can be creepy sometimes. I will sometimes wake up to my cat just staring at me, without blinking. I’ve had cats in the past who did creepier things than that.
This is why I decided that both of these hues combined with the features of Leo’s face are quite ‘Haunting’. I wanted to give the viewers the experience of perhaps waking up in the middle of the night to find a cat sitting at the foot of the bed, just staring at them. The violet can represent the darkness of night and the yellow can represent the light of the moon or the street lights pouring in from outside the window.
To achieve the violet hues, I started off with blue and then increased the red and decreased the saturation slightly, while decreasing the value by increasing the shade slightly. So that it wasn’t too dark, I increased the brightness. I did add a tint to the second violet swatch down from the first.
For the yellow hues, I decided not to go with 100% yellow. While I wanted the bottom swatch to be the brightest and lightest, I wanted it to work with the two shades of violet. I found that adding a tint to the yellow worked really well with the second violet shade, to which I added a tint to as well. They both have an ever slight pastel-tone look to them.
The yellow is warmer and pops out next to the cooler, very deep violet hue.
I wanted to create some contrast between the yellows and create more dimension in the illustration itself, so I added some shade to the third yellow from the bottom. It has a very slight green hue to it. I also wanted to use this shade because I thought it would help describe visually the ominous, eery feeling that I’m trying to convey.
Analogous Colour Scheme
For this colour scheme, I chose Red-Orange, Orange and Yellow-Orange.
My cat is my personal heating pad. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, he is always warm. He also loves to snuggle and is in constant demand of a physical connection somehow. He loves love, I think more than being fed.
I chose ‘Passion’ as the emotion for this graphic because of the physical and emotional warmth that my cat and other cats can produce. I chose these colours because the different shades and tints combined with the graphic give off a soft heat that welcomes the viewer. These shades and tints combined are also very energetic and I believe help to convey the feeling of passion.
In the first three swatches from the top, I added more red to create more of a red-orange. I played with the brightness and added a slight tint to create a slight variation from my original red-orange hue.
For the orange and yellow-orange hues, I increased the yellow and decreased the red slightly so that I could achieve more of a true orange hue. I did add a tint while decreasing the brightness. This caused the saturation to decrease in the swatch second from the bottom.
Triadic Colour Scheme
I decided to use subtractive primary colours, which are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow for this colour scheme
The emotion that I used to describe this graphic and colour scheme is ‘Eccentricity’. Cats, and my own is no exception, are weird, flamboyant and over the top in the things they do and in their personalities.
I wanted to try to give the viewer the experience of the many different facets of a cats personality and how unique they each are. All three hues are quite different from each other, which can be used to describe a cat. One minute they’re sleeping, the next minute they are trying to open the closet door, and the next minute they are attempting to climb you while you’re standing. They can go from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds.
I feel these colours express the high energy along the conflicts and contrasts when a cat moves from one mood to another.
I used the traditional 100% cyan, magenta and yellow. However, I decided to add a tint to the cyan, so that it would help soften the harshness of the high saturation of the pure hues. I added a very slight shade to the yellow so that I could add a bit of an earthy, ever slight neutral feeling in contrast to the bright, animated, otherwise saturated image.
I felt like using the magenta and the tinted cyan to divide the face worked really well because while they are both cooler colours, the pastel effect softens the cyan, allowing the magenta to advance to the front, while the tinted cyan recedes.
Split Compliment Colour Scheme
In this colour scheme, I went with Blue, Red-Orange and Yellow-Orange.
These colours reminded me of a sports team, as I’ve seen some basketball team logos with very similar colour palettes. This made me think of ‘Loyalty’ as the emotion. Blue is a calming colour, but does signify loyalty and honesty. The warmer colours are engaging and unapologetic. The three hues combined help explain this emotion in my opinion.
I wanted to express how loyal some cats, especially mine can be. Leo, my cat, is almost like a dog in the sense that he will not leave your side. Animals don’t pretend or lie or hide their love or disdain for you. You know exactly where you stand with them. And when you’re loyal and good to them, they are usually just as loyal if not more so in return. I wanted the viewer to feel the sincerity through the image and the colours being used.
The blue is a cooler value, and a slight tint and brightness was increased in creating it. I reduced the red to add the cool effect. For the Red Orange, I increased the red quite a bit, as it is more red than orange. However, I increased the yellow percentage a bit so that it wasn’t too red. For creating the yellow-orange, I increased the yellow quite a bit and decreased the saturation.
I thought the values of the blue and yellow-orange worked really well, which is why I used each to divide Leo’s face. There is a substantial contrast between both, but because there is a slight tint to both, it really helped show the warmth and coolness in this image. The yellow-orange really advances to the front of the image, again providing the dimension that I wanted to achieve, even though this image is simple and somewhat flat.
Tetradic Colour Scheme
The colour scheme I used for this are Blue-Violet, Red-Violet, Yellow-Orange and Yellow-Green.
I used the emotion ‘Elaborate’ to describe my last graphic and the hues associated with it. Cats are sophisticated, complex, fussy, busy, intelligent, many-faceted and even fancy at times. These all fall under being ‘elaborate’, which describes my cat.
If the viewer thinks about cats back in the days of Ancient Egypt, for example, they were sacred animals and there were even cat goddesses that were held in very high regard.
While cats in western culture are not considered goddesses, they are still considered somewhat a sophisticated, elegant animal. At the same time they have complicated personalities as I mentioned above in some of the earlier colour scheme descriptions.
I thought the two violets would help represent the sophistication and royalty that cats can embody. The yellow-orange and the yellow-green hues represent the complex personality traits as well as the good-natured ways that cats can have.
For the violet hues, I decreased the red and magenta and added a bit of a shade and an ever slight tint to create the blue-violet. For the red-violet, I took the blue-violet and increased the red substantially. I added a slight shade to keep the rich, dark value of the hue. The yellow-orange has a high percentage of yellow and decreased the saturation. For the yellow-green, I increased the cyan and added a slight shade. For the tinted yellow-green I decreased the saturation and decreased the shade.