Well how about this? Let’s first choose your local colors to critique, with no rendering. And we’ll go from there. Meanwhile here is some food for thought on how to get there.
Right now, I can only critique your values, but that’s fine you can take away a little bit from this exchange and we can build your colors later with this knowledge.
With values and with color, being separate elements to control in the fundamentals, we must first control the values. Because they control color in a sense. Color cannot control value. Is your character overall, high, medium, or low key value range? Many factors can affect this for example, do you want to see all of the details and minutia? Then it needs to be rather light. Do you want your character to reflect a mood? Are they dark or does their armor make them camouflage? These are questions you need to ask yourself as a designer. You have to have a character sheet that has designed the motivations of a character already. These are major steps to consider and use towards your design elements. These are problems you are supposed to solve that others can’t. But don’t fear, Each element of fundamentals can be broken down to digest one at a time.
Option 1: Style Guide
Style guide: so you have a style to follow to make this product into multiple elements. Or you don’t. Someone can show you a style and you mimic it…..or you can’t do that yet. This will affect process and technique ONLY SOME to achieve a certain look. This decides the way the fundamentals are yielded; kind of like a two handed sword, or the personal touch of an assassin’s finger blade. Many times a current product desires different looks or moods or renditions of landscape and humanity. But this unification of a product or styles look is brought to you by a director and visual development artists before expansions and new characters are introduced or a world is developed.
So choose a style guide. It could be inspirational products and character art that you are a fan of, which you are imitating.
What you want to take away from a style guide is how are they handling the fundamentals. Starting with the most important element to the least important element of the image.
- Drawing, (composition, shapes, design and perspective),
- Value (value pattern - high, med,low key / Notan-seperation of light and dark)
- Edges (soft to hard - photorealistic/celshading/ or painterly variety mark making)
4.Color (HUE- warm or cool/mood/metaphor/flavor/light)
Option2: Choose a metaphor
A metaphor can affect mood on individualistic, and even subconscious terms.
“Pea soup, with a pepper in the middle”
“An autumn day in a brisk forest”
Many artists will see these things differently. What color was the pepper ? What kind of trees make up the forest? How brisk is brisk?
The above option can get you a long way to choosing a color pallete.
But what if your brain works with more linearity in thought and you have to try many renditions?
Option 3: Deduction
This way is often needed for development of products. And many young and inexperienced types will go through these motions and options, not knowing exactly what they are doing.
So it can lead to chaos in the decision making, because they want to choose the “right” one. They present it online, have people choose for them, because...I dont know why anyone does that...just make your own decision, you know the motivation. Don't rely on the ability of strangers experience, or lack thereof. They aren't in your head knowing what is going on.
The reason it is done this way is because a product is being designed, and many people have to approve things. This decision is normally left to, and made by a director who might say, “I want more cool/warm color options.” or, “I want more sharpness” or, “this needs more time.”
Anyway, precautionary tales aside we sort of start in a general area and develop a color scheme based on what does and doesn’t work. Being fast digitally helps. Come up with three good color schemes is not easy. But doing a warm, and cool, and neutral option with hot/cool spots is a good place to start seeing variety.
Honestly, screw this option for starting out. Its for work, or a job typically. Learn the fundamentals of color schemes to be able to do this step on paper, imagine it
(first great video here).
(second great video here)
Use deduction if you have no idea what to do. Because you have to be the designer. You are making your own art, you know what you want it to be, you can tweak it later because it is digital. Just get it in the ball park for a couple options changing the hues of the local colors only. You can tell if you dont want to paint something right away.
Option 4: Steal the color scheme
That’s right. Take a picture you love. Or a picture you hate. Or a masterpiece. Or a photograph. But so long as it is NOT other character art, and more of a illustration. Imagine playing different sections of a movie. These moments have themes and moods and tension points all built up by color theory. These moments can be screen capped and adjustments made to your value pattern and color to reflect mood similar to the reference. Don’t know what colors to use? Just look at how much the colors take up in the frame. Is it big, medium, small relationships? Is it more one color than another. Is one opposite color the focal point? Be critically hyper observant of the overall color scheme. Go Google color schemes and see how they are used for mood.
But this is my favorite technique. I remember moods and movies and games more than I do moments I loved deducing a color combination that works. I recommend this as a hack to people who are new to color. Someone else has made all the decisions. Just take them. Learn how to play with the paint. Don’t…squeeze the wrong amount of oil paint into a water color medium… we need to teach you and not throw you into experimental phase.
So with these options at your disposal, lets critique your above submission.
Here are some rhetorical questions for you the designer.
Is this the value pattern you want? Is it showing off the character in the right places with contrast you desire? (THIGHS!!!) Is this value pattern detracting from the focal point? What are your focal points? Does it have a king, queen and prince of values? Does it most importantly, have unity, hierarchy, and variety? Does this value pattern illustrate the mood of the character?
Once you make some changes, after considering those questions, Make a” local colors” mock up, with a similar value pattern. Make a local colors mock up with a value pattern that reflects better the focal points of the character. Local colors of each element of the character, is easy to do. But don’t search aimlessly. Use a technique above. Don't just start making something green, them something blue, then something red.
Start with a mood, or warm and cool overall. Think and problem solve like a designer. Form over function, function over form? Then deduce which of three you might like if you enjoy the exploration. What is the problem you are solving with the color? Think about that.
Keep up the good work.
P.s (After you decide flats we can discuss rendering styles, but you will probably get that from your style guide you choose.)