Andrew Loomis Quotes on Color

by Armand Cabrera

Andrew Loomis was a successful illustrator and a teacher at the Chicago Art Institute. He studied at the Art Students League of New York under George Bridgman and Frank Vincent DuMond. He wrote some of the most successful art instruction books ever printed. His six books are a wealth of information for the aspiring artist or illustrator. In print for almost fifty years they were Fun with a Pencil, Figure Drawing for all its worth, Creative Illustration, Successful Drawing, Drawing the Head and Hands and Eye of the Painter. Of the six books he wrote only Creative Illustration and Eye of the Painter deal directly with painting and color. The following quotes are from those two books.

If color is also subject to the natural laws of tone, light and shadow then the only pictorial approach to color which can be of any real value must incorporate these principles.

A color cannot be right until its value is right

No color can be made brighter than its full strength

A color is relative first to the amount of light shining upon it which gives its lightness or darkness

Color is relative to all surrounding color influence

The larger the area the softer the color

All color becomes a source of reflected color when in light and will reflect themselves into lesser light

All color in shadow become recipients of reflected color and will change accordingly

Any two colors will be harmonious when one or both contain some of the other

The local color should never completely lose its identity in the shadow

No color in the shadow can have brighter color intensity than the same color would have in the light.

All colors in their greatest intensity or tints of the pure color should be relegated to the lights and halftones. When reaching the shadows these colors are reduced or grayed, or the color is changed by influence of other color reflecting into the shadow.

The halftones may contain the most brilliant and pure color

Keep your color most intense on the edges of the lighted areas, where it merges into shadow.

We cannot paint nature from a tube or a pot.

The greatest mistake in color, and one that causes lack of unity and harmony, is having too many colors on the palette.


Creative Illustration
Andrew Loomis
Viking Pres 1947

Eye of the Painter
Andrew Loomis
Viking Press 1961

6 thoughts on “Andrew Loomis Quotes on Color

  1. Thank you for those posts! I have all those books and am recently learning from them. Combined with a book about anatomy its worth gold!

    Great to learn something about Loomis itself!

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