I ran across an awesome idea from Karen Grigson of Bluebird Studio in a Blab thread recently. The subject was shading and tones on a white horse, and she posted this cool visualization from the reference picture:
What a brilliant idea! And it’s not just for those difficult white/off-white tones, either. She also posted these:
Seriously, this is so brilliant. And widely relevant too- no matter your medium of choice, these easy color palettes are extremely useful! I can’t wait to get back into finish work and use this technique.
If you don’t have a program that can take color swatches like this, there are several free downloadable ones. Karen mentions Paint.net (downloadable at getpaint.net) which runs on Windows/Vista. If you’re using a Mac, never fear, GIMP is a free, open-source photo editor for Mac.
Karen Grigson is not just a talented (and helpful!) painter, but also an excellent and creative sculptor. She did an awesome post on her blog called Character that has some great tips on facial customizing.
It is super awesome how open and helpful hobbyists are!