Theory - Warm/Cold Colours

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong


It seems it takes 2 more weeks until i'll have a new computer but i told you about something i wrote at the moment my computer died. Here it is.

Today this blabla will be about warm and cold colours. You might think: Huh? What is he talking about? I only know Snakebite Leather, Oily Steel, Ivory, Chaos Black, Regal blue, Dark Angels Green, Dwarf Flesh, Sunburst Yellow and so on and so on... No, colours are not always what is written on their manufacturers name. For example painting a dwarfs skin must not be painted with Dwarf Flesh - it is not written somewhere that you should do so. Stop thinking this way is very funny and the own colourful horizon is rising...

Warm and cold colours - Feeling it
First I'll explain what i mean. The human being has always implicated and formed colours to their use, like a 'STOP'-sign made red for attention. Such things are long time learned by the human race when you take a closer look on evolution. I will not do so right now as i don't have the time to explain everything from the first second of life. I try to keep it simple. The human being has feelings, it seems not everybody sometimes, but believe me everyone has. Colours are very important when it comes to human feelings. The humans learned on their way to evolution, that things are good or bad whileexperimenting with them. They found out what they like and what they don't like. Most of the human race does live where it is warm. So the human race likes a warm clima. Sure there are others who love the cold or are simply born into it and i have my biggest respects for such peoples - i think this is simply amazing. I don't like the cold and i don't know people who called me to say joyful on the phone: "Hey yeah! I am moving to the Southpole - that'll be great! Awesom, yeah!"... no single one... whatever, the humans like the sun.

Now check out the colours the sun in all it's strength. What kind of colours does it create to your sourrounding when hit by the sun - they all will go strong and beautiful, colourful flowers will rise around your feet, will spread over the complete place and will bring you the message that this day will be a perfect day, whatever might happen... this is what the sun brings to most of the humans: Joy of life - a feeling of security - something warm to your soul. Warm colours.

For sure there have to be cold colours. These are the ones will make you feel somehow alone deep down in your soul. A cold blue room where Sadness catches up, a beautiful moonlight but you are lonely and sad, now one here beside you in this icecold ice desert.... i think you get me. Sure coldness is cool, snowboarding, snow ball fights, etc. but there is always something far away in its colours in the hearts of most of the human beings... No offending on those who live in cold Areas, it is simply my point of view and i have no idea what i would think about coldness if i would have been born in Sibiria. There is for sure a beauty in something cold but as said the colours are not as warm as those the Sun brings to our souls... damn, not easy to explain, haha!

I'll try to fix this with an explaination - imagine yourself on the road with a beautiful girl in a city somewhere on this planet, it's evening, you had a wonderful day with a beautiful lady and you think about eating at a dining place (for sure it would be much greater if you could say: "Hey i am a native here, i will hunt something for food or i'll ask the Apes at MASSIVE VOODOO if they could bring us bananas so we can make chocolate banana all night long!"). Dining place was the last word of my thoughts i want to write down. Ok, Dining place, beautiful lady, now get a place to relax with her and enjoy a perfect diner. You had a great dining and a very funny time together, went home to your place,  and the night really will last in your memories all your life... in the morning you are preparing breakfast and wake her with a soft kiss... everything is wonderful... now breakfast... you bear her up to your big gorilla arms, she is simply dressed in her white bed sheet and this is the place you can choose... IMPORTANT only by taking a view on the colours:

For me personally it is clear where i want to enjoy this breakfast :)

Warm and cold colours - Miniature Painting
Now after everyone (at least i hope so) felt the colours it is getting essential to look at it in the more practical way. When using warm and cold colours you can achieve really great contrasts. Using them in single they for sure affect the complete overview of your miniature and base.

I try to show you the blabla from above in some linked pictures from Deviant.Art now - just for the explanation, for you to see the effects,please try to mainly focus on the colours worked with, not the theme shown:

Cold Colours
Dead Sea by LolitaArt 
Barnards' Swordswallower by Abiogenesis

Warm Colours 
Through the devastation by perzo

Now i want to show you what you can do for example by using both of them:

Hardcore cold warm contrast work in that piece:

Fire and Ice by Risachantag

Everything is cold in that one, except the focus points:
Endzeit byMichaelKutsche

Here you see cold and warm colours working as a light source:
Witch by namesjames

The colours can be bright to have powerful cold warm contrast:
Calypso by Michelle 84

Or they can be desurated to have subtle use of the contrast:
Nightsands by SteveArgyle

More examples to show different uses of cold and warmcolours:

A subtle use of a warm area and a cold area, simply to put more dramatic into the scene:
Warhammer by Lameoh14

Mainly cold areas, but the warm colour pops out a lot and brings your eyes to focus:
NokiaIllustration by PatLeeArt

Unimportant areas going into coldshadows at this one,the main focus is up to the warm and bright areas:
Sagittarius by Pervandr

A mainly purple looking theme but with cold purple and warm areas:
Neo Crystalis by `Ochrejelly

Again a view on cold shadow areas and warm light areas:
The Shipwreck by Bluefley

Now how you can transfer all this information or feelings you got from warm and cold colours into miniature painting? This is mainly up to you. I just can bring you some examples on what you can do and what i think about it. For example:

- paint different areas on a miniature in warm/cold colours to seperate them from eachother
- Painting a warm coloured miniature on a cold coloured base (or the other way)
- MOST IMPORTANT is in my eyes the fact that you can make mostly every colour warm or cold by mixing in ... yeah you got it - warm or cold colours, for example a cold black, a warm skintone, a warm purple, a cold purple, a warm green, a cold green... and so on. I guess you got me there now. In fact this opens new dimensions to your painting. If you are working with animagined light source on the model it often helps to bring in a gentle touch of coldness into the shadow areas to make them more distanced while looking at the miniature. In return your light areas (like the light area on a blue cloth/highlight) could get a tip of warm bright colours into it to strengthen them.

I will showyou some examples of having this contrast used at miniatures, first with the latest miniature from my table, Bruti Brighthammer, Lord of the broken Peak, 28 mm by Red BoxGames, where i mainly focused on this contrast and the use of OSL. The base is a socket from and really caught my attention while searching a base for Bruti. His warhammer he held to the skies was moved and replaced by a torch by Games Workshop, maybe i should take better photos but that's not easy at the moment without my own computer and stuff, you know. Here is Bruti searching for the way - remember, cold and warm colours:

Closing Words
There are many ways on how you can play with this contrast, just give it a try and try mixing your basic colours together, allow yourself some experimental experiences and find out how cold and warm colours can influance your style of painting. Sure there are many other contrasts out there and everyone does his influance on miniature painting, like bright/dark, big/small, high/low and so many more you won't believe it. I will keep these theory articles in mind and try to bring you more information about this whenever the muse reminds me of.

Nevermind of looking for this contrast around you and away from the miniature painting - it will be everywhere :)

I hope you like this little journey into colour theory? If you got any questions about it simply drop a comment. I will do the comment updates after i got a new computer. Sorry for the delay in some areas of the article section.

Keep on happy painting!

Vesa? I would be very glad if you could drop me an email about your shipping adress again...

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