I'm fascinated by minimalism in art, and one form of minimalism is "flat coloring".
A lot of people associate flat coloring with comics or cartoons or "non-serious" art. They think of it as a way for people to make something look "lively" without having skill or interest enough to deal with light sources and shadows.
But flat coloring can also be more than that. In a way, flat coloring is a philosophical statement. It can be a way of asking the viewer a question: what are the key, minimal parts of a colored area needed to give the impression of a face, body, or object?
In this study, I tried to explore this idea by reducing a typical "hot model" subject to four colors: four colors is enough to produce detailed (if stylized) shading.
But then, I separated each color layer out to examine it separately. Each value of the shading provides different aspects or features to the whole, but somehow you still get the overall impression of "hot model" -- his physique, his expression, his form -- even when only one or two of the shading levels is present.
In some ways, I did this study to examine the minimalist question: how little shading detail can you show, how few colors can you use, and still convey the impact and the draw of the model? Or to put it another way: what is the smallest possible atomic unit of "hot"?
So what are some of the things that I have learned, from looking at the different combinations of color areas in this study?
- Shadows don't generally outline an entire shape. In each of the images that uses only 2 color tones, you don't see the shading shape completely outline the ab muscles or the chest muscles. Instead, usually only one half of the shape is outlined by a particular shade, giving a suggestion of the whole shape.
- Different color values work together. Often times, an edge that it begun by one flat color value will be continued by another one when it is superimposed. You see that in several places on the body, where an edge with a darker shade will end, but will be continued by a lighter shade
So what do you
see when you look at these different combinations of coloring?Technical details:
Painted using a Wacom Tablet with Corel Painter 11. The model is Niko Vlasidis.Some other studies and demos that I've created: