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Color: A Workshop for Artists and Designers

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The definitive book on color theory and practice for artists and designers

" Pay close attention to Hornung's advice and you will be able to tackle the assignments dotted throughout the book with a new confidence – not to mention taking control of the color in your own paintings, too " Artists & Illustrators

"This book is a treasure of great images and very practical and creative color assignments that are easily adapted to many media" Susan Makov, Weber State University

"Hornung writes with expertise on the subject of color. Well written, explained and researched, this is a gem for those who love color, or who want to understand and use it" Patrick Mooney, The National College of Art and Design

"This excellent book is based on practical exercises that focus on relative experimentation with color in order to teach specific qualities and functions of color. It is clear, direct, and exciting" Nicholas Ruth, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

"A very accessible way for students to get to grips with the fundamentals of color theory and hue, saturation, harmony, perception and digital color mixing" David Tinn, East Surrey College

In David Hornung's book A Workshop for Artists and Designers , you will find all you need to know about color theory and its application. With its sequence of specially designed assignments and in–depth discussions, it effectively bridges the gap between color theory and practice to inspire confidence and understanding in anyone who works with color. This second edition has been carefully reviewed and revised throughout. Presented in a new larger format, it includes much–enhanced sections on key color principles such as color perception, visual structure, materials and techniques, psychological experience of color and color composition in digital formats. Generously illustrated – including all–new, contemporary examples – this book provides a unique set of tools that makes the complex theory of color accessible and practical and is an invaluable resource for art students and professionals alike. This color and design book provides an extensive coverage on color theory and practice whether you're a beginner, an amateur or a professional designer.

168 pages, Paperback

First published July 28, 2004

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David Hornung

75 books

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5 stars
97 (48%)
4 stars
69 (34%)
3 stars
29 (14%)
2 stars
3 (1%)
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0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Carmen.
6 reviews
December 31, 2020
The book is a must have for everyone interested in color interaction and color harmony. I can highly recommend to read it and to do the exercises. Pretty much a masterpiece :)
Profile Image for Tran.
68 reviews27 followers
December 27, 2020
Painters would benefit quite a lot from this book, as it discusses the mixing method of colours and all examples are paintings. Nevertheless, designers can also enjoy the book as they are introduced to various colour concepts.

"While the book can simply be read as a general guide to color, its value will be most fully realized by those who take the time to do the color assignments. They were developed and tested over a 12-year period at the Rhode Island School of Design with graphic designers, painters, textile designers, illustrators, and weavers" So if you have time, work on any assignment that you feel interested, I personally like the guessing colour and colour inventory exercises.

And knowledge about Light should be a prerequisite before one starts learning about Color. Some AP Physics videos I watched prior to reading this books are:


Light Absorption, Reflection, and Transmission

Refraction of Light
Profile Image for Tori.
13 reviews2 followers
April 6, 2019
I loved this book, and referenced it often in college. It’s wonderful for those interested in color theory. It’s very comprehensive.
Profile Image for Calculon.
77 reviews1 follower
April 21, 2023
Un testo fatto molto bene.
Bello, davvero bello.
Il colore ha per me un fascino assoluto.
Profile Image for Laila Hesse.
12 reviews
May 1, 2023
I hope I can attend a workshop with David Hornung one day. What a great book!
Profile Image for Erika Mulvenna.
511 reviews20 followers
February 7, 2016
This book includes some of the most intense set of color study exercises I've ever seen, from basics in mixing colors to color interactions, principles, and combinations. The back of the book includes a great illustrated glossary of color terms, and a short chapter on color perception. A good book for fine art or design students, but way too much information for someone just beginning to learn about color theory.
Profile Image for Lloyd Downey.
374 reviews
July 29, 2020
I think it is quite amazing how dated this book has become because of the growth of computers and screens in graphic arts. However, it really is a very thorough introduction to the basic principles of colour ...especially for designers. Maybe less so for artists. It has a great set of samples of the various colour relationships with varying hue, value, saturation. (Or in other words (my words): colour, grey tone, brightness).
He explores the psychological impact of juxtaposed colours and optical illusions, harmony and even has a section on colour on the computer.
However, one of the things I noticed was the current availability of Apps which can analyse a photo in terms of colours and produce instant palettes that complement these basic colours etc. And these are not mentioned in this book which was published in 2005. However, a good hint is given on p143 about printing your own colour chart to get an idea of how your colours are likely to look when printed.
Quite an impressive work overall. I give it 4 stars.
Profile Image for Erin.
90 reviews
May 16, 2020
I used this book for a college course and found myself wanting to buy a copy. The information is clear, concise and well thought out... and the color studies are intriguing and offer a comprehensive overview that won’t be forgotten.
Profile Image for Celine.
29 reviews1 follower
April 28, 2019
A fascinating read although I've had to read some pages several times to absorb it all - not a breeze. I am sure itniwll improve my painting.
December 7, 2020
If you're wanting to understand colour or learn more on colour I recommend this book to artists and no-artists.
Profile Image for Fern.
37 reviews9 followers
May 14, 2021
Have only finished the 1st chapter but I'm already sure how many stars it deserves. It illuminates you.
Profile Image for Yü.
32 reviews2 followers
January 31, 2021
A comprehensive introduction to understanding and using color that is interesting to read and easy to follow. I really appreciate the 1o+ assignments accompanied with the text as we progress, which can be done by hand or digitally. They are a lot fun to work on and definitely help to internalized the content, resulting in a wonderful learning experience.
March 7, 2023
This book is a collection of exercises. I learned a ton from this book. And since color is an endless exploration, it's a book that keeps on giving. Invaluable in my library.
Profile Image for Jadwiga.
49 reviews4 followers
August 24, 2012
Jeżeli masz związek z malarstwem, grafiką, projektowaniem wnętrz czy ubrań i chcesz zgłębić zagadnienie koloru polecam tę książkę. Autor w tej książce nie tyle wykłada teorię koloru co prowadzi warsztaty kolorystyczne. Każdy rozdział to omówienie innych właściwości koloru i precyzyjne dobrane ćwiczenia pomagające zrozumieć omawiane zależności. Ćwiczenia wykonywane są gwaszem, ale jest również rozdział poświęcony ćwiczeniom kolorystycznym na komputerze. Polecam osobom zainteresowanym tą tematyką!
November 5, 2016
This book is indispensable for artists in any medium. Every page is filled with useful information on color relationships, interactions, as well as tips on color mixing. Before reading this book, I was completely lost when it came to color, but now I'm quite confident in my abilities to use color in my art.
Profile Image for Megan Frauenhoffer.
9 reviews1 follower
November 19, 2021
I’ve been researching a textbook for my color theory class and this book has the perfect balance of theory and practice. It’s also much easier for students to delve into compared to the Albers textbook which I find useful for instruction but not for student readers. Also this book has wonderful exercises adapted for both digital and traditional techniques.
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
6 reviews
November 12, 2011
The very best and most comprehensive book on color theory I have ever read... and I own many.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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