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Exploring Color and Composition

with Mary Jane Begin

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  •   01 Class Introduction

    01:45

Class duration: 2h 31m

See all 9 lessons
  • 14K students

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  • 100% recommended

    8 student reviews

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About The Class

Instructor Mary Jane Begin is an award-winning illustrator and author of children’s picture books, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and professor in the Illustration Department. Mary Jane will guide viewers through useful exercises and practices that help to solve both understanding the color they see and want to recreate, as well as exploring the art of inventing palettes that resonate with expression.

The course will be taught through showing concrete examples and a demonstration that deconstructs the “how to’s” for creating a palette that expresses a mood.

Mary Jane will cover the following topics:

  • Color as meaning: subjective, regional and universal
  • The power and illusion of light
  • Creating color studies
  • Choosing the right medium for color expression
  • Deciding on the palette that works best
  • Harmonizing a color palette
  • Expressing meaning with color focus
  • Pulling it all together to finalize an image
  • Experimenting with color through media and materials

The best way to observe color is from life, but analyzing and recreating an image from a photograph can be a very practical way to learn how to effectively interpret color. Please join this class to continue developing your understanding of color, composition, meaning, mood, and expression.


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    01:45
  2. 02

    Color as Meaning

    02:35
  3. 03

    Grounds and Their Purpose

    22:26
  4. 04

    The Power and Illusion of Light

    15:27
  5. 05

    Creating Color Studies

    19:47
  6. 06

    Creating Harmony and Color Hierarchy in a Limited Palette

    07:38
  7. 07

    How to Choose a Palette

    10:46
  8. 08

    Pulling it All Together: Telling a Story with Color

    15:15
  9. 09

    Critique of Audience-Submitted Illustrations

    56:09

Meet Your Expert

Mary Jane Begin

As an award-winning illustrator and author of children’s picture books, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and professor in the Illustration Department at RISD…Mary Jane feels INCREDIBLY lucky; she gets to do all the things that she loves to do ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Color Slides Artist Reference PDF
  • pdf Color Slides PDF

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • MikeD

    MikeD

    January 2018

    I have to say, this class and the companion class were very humbling. I assume I am not like most people who would watch this class in that I have no such artistic talent. I cannot draw at all (limited to "Spike" from TED Talks), but I had no idea such thought, imagination or ideology went into creating these designs. Professor Begin has an amazing presentation style, she is clear, concise and thoughtful. The subject matter was amazing and I can only see it helping me in evaluating my own work and taking a whole new perspective on art, light and evaluation. I highly recommend this class whatever no matter your creative bent. Thank you Creative Live for hosting this wonderful speaker.

  • Cassandra Bailey

    Cassandra Bailey

    January 2018

    Outstanding course from an engaging, skilled instructor. Mary Jane explains color and composition in a very clear, accessible way. She also puts theory into practice by analyzing a wide variety of illustrations and pointing out what works, what doesn't, the reasons why, and -- for the critique portion at the end -- ways to fix it. Highly recommend!

  • PETE

    July 2018

    What an honor to be able to study anything Begin teaches. The depth and breath of knowledge she shares is astonishing, and she puts it in terms easily understood without diminishing it. How refreshing to be able to watch a brilliant professional, especially after seeing so many who show quick easy ways to fake art.

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