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Showing 1-10 of 96 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
191 of 192 people found the following review helpful
Betty Edwards, the author of Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain, has ventured into the world of color and painting with Color. Edwards demystifies color theory and brings it within grasp of just about any artist or designer. If you have had problems understanding just what makes up a harmonious color palette, then this book will help you solve that problem.

The book starts out at by explaining the basic vocabulary and works its way up to what makes a harmonious color arrangement. It achieves this with a number of exercises that are designed to give the student firsthand experience with mixing color and picking a palette. Though this book is written for painters, designers will get a lot of use out of it. In fact, I was able to do almost all the exercises digitally and got a good bit of benefit from doing so. I am a painter as well as a graphic designer, so I will be doing the exercises twice (once digitally and once with oils), but even if you are solely a graphic designer, this book will be of great benefit for you if you do not have a good foundation in color theory.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about the book was the numerous side bar quotes from famous artists and designers. We hear from the likes of Goethe to Itten. Though the quotes are not really needed for the text, it is certainly interesting to hear some of the greats talk about color.

The book's sub-title includes the word "mastering," but I do not think you will be a master of color after having read this book. However, you will have a firm foundation in color theory and will be pointed in the right direction to reach that goal if you put in the effort. So if you have always been mystified by color theory or never have gotten around to studying it, then this book is for you. You will come away from reading this book with a firm understanding of color and what makes good color design.
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103 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2004
If you paint and use color, or just want to appreciate color in painting, this is the book. What makes Betty Edwards a wonderful teacher is her ability to question what she is doing as a teacher and then find ways to introduce new ways to study the material so as to bring the essence of the lessons home to the student. In this book she explains that her students were not grasping the essence of color and how to render it effectively. After some thought she developed new lessons that explained to the students how to understand and use color. These lessons are now brought to us in the form of this tomb.

I have executed the lessons, and they work. Even though I have been painting for 10 years I learned a lot from this book and doing the exercises. Doing the exercises is key, but they are very straight forward to do and one can learn even in "failure" (I had to do a couple of them more than once).

So there you have it. This is an instructional book that works in that it communicates to the reader (student) lessons about color and color usage that are invaluable. The lessons are clear and the results of doing the lessons are an increased understanding of art and color.

Highly recommended.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2004
I learned to draw about 15 years ago from Betty Edward's classic DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN. I went from having what I thought of as no talent to producing portraits people actually have offered to buy! For years I've stayed with pencil, however, never quite understanding color. No more-- this book is the perfect bridge from drawing to painting. If you have some knowlege of monochrome drawing and want to make the leap to full color painting this is THE book for you. If you don't think you can draw, read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain first before tackling this one. Both are simply outstanding.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 30, 2005
It is interesting to read the reviews on a book like this and then to finally get the book to decide its quality for myself. Sometimes, my opinion is so different from some of the reviews that I wonder if we were reading the same book! That is the case with this book. I think that it is outstanding!

I bought Betty Edwards' book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" way back when it was first released and it improved the quality of my drawing enormously. This book on "Color" has done the same for me on seeing and mixing color pigments. I finally understand!

The book presents color theory with exercises on seeing and mixing colors in a very logical, step by step manner. Each chapter builds on the previous chapter, so that by the end of the book, you will have a thorough understanding of how color pigments work. More importently, you will understand how to mix any color your need. Of course, the mixing is a skill that must be practiced and if the exercises in the book are carefully followed, you will get plenty of very productive practice!

I have always had a lot of trouble mixing color pigments and often ended up with mud. I now understand why and how to correct it! I never understood how color complements really worked, and now I do. I never understood how to brighten and darken color pigments without ending up with strange looking "Stuff" on my pallette. Now I understand. I never understood how to create effective color harmony. I have read many books on color harmony that were just pictures of harmonious color arrengements with little instruction on how to arrive at them. Now I know how to start with one or two base colors and create a beautiful, harmonious palette of color ! Outstanding!!

If you need to understand any aspect of mixing color pigments, this is the book to get! Absolutely disregard the negative review on this site. As a matter of fact, don't even bother to read the review. It is a waste of time. The person who wrote it could not possibly have been reading the same book!!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2005
I just got my copy of this book and am planning how to execute the exercises. Other readers have offered summaries and their views, so I will skip the summary here. The layout and organization of the book is pleasing and logically presented. I can sympathize with the reader from France who complains that a couple of the acrylic paint names are not available. This should be fixed in future editions but you should simply look for the nearest possible pigment (despite her caveat to the contrary)--what I think she is advising most against is falling in love with the more complex paint colors available and not disciplining yourself to stay with the basics. I wish that the exercises were amenable to colored pencils and I will try them with colored pencils first (a glutton for punishment, perhaps?).

Some of what she discusses is in the earlier books but this is certainly extended much further in this volume and it is comfortable reading. Luckily, she has largely omitted her discussions of left/right brain theory, making this book more accessible to readers unfamiliar with or hostile to her view.

I am also sure that some 'real' artists, or artists of the more romantic bent will rail against her presenting color theory in this way. I believe that it is true that it is better to rebel once you have learned at least one formal system. Her approach is probably most helpful to those of us intimidated by art classes and artists but who want to learn to express ourselves visually and extend this area of our capacity.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2004
I read my first book by Dr. Edwards -"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"- in 1994, when living in U.S.A. Since then the book has been always a few inches from my hand. I really enjoyed reading the book, as well as doing the pertinent excercises. In doing so, I gained a first hand experience in drawing what I was seeing. In a few words, an excellent piece of work. In fact, not long time ago I bought the "New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and "Drawing on the Artist Within".

On the other hand, and since I love color, I was always missing a good book dealing with this important issue. Well, here it is! One of the best books I've ever read regarding this complex subject. Well written, richly illustrated, brightly colored, the kind of book you know at once was done by an expert. The book drives you along a smooth path of learning, going from simple excercises to more complex works -e.g. armonizing whole paintings-. The book is really impressive regarding the color insight you gain by reading and doing the excercises. I think it would be useful both for beginners and professionals as well. Simply said, a jewel worth getting as soon as possible!

After reading and working with three of her books, I think the only one Dr. Edwards had yet to write -hopefully- is a book dealing with drawing and painting imaginary subjects. Maybe a major issue at present but who knows, maybe sometime in the future ...
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2007
I have been an artist/scientist for over 25 years. I have no problems absolutely in mixing paint and color theory. However, when it came to referring a book that would best explain color theory to a novice, I have to say that this one is it. It is colorful, easy to read and Dr. Edwards clearly defines the jargon used so that it is easy to follow. I have read the unfavorable comments, and all I have to say is that it is not meant to be a book on how to mix a particular color (hue, intensity, brightness,tint and so on). If that is what you are looking for,
a " how to" mix specific colors, yes you will be dissapointed. However, that is not its purpose. She specifically points out that there does not exist a true "primary red, blue and yellow" in tubed paints. Your in better luck using inks. Every artist should know that you can buy a tube color in different brands and get different range of that color! I can't imagine why someone would want to match a swatch to a printed book in which what you see comes via the mixture of colored inks! Often no two tubes of the same brand are exactly alike. So in her defense, I truely give her kudos for making the complicated issue of color theory simple. I really believe this is a must in every young artist's library and even in seasoned artist's. I personally enjoyed reading it and reviewing the theory of color in a way I wish was availiable when I was starting out. It makes a great gift!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2007
The information in the book is presented in much the same way that instruction in a college class is presented - step-by-step. The progression of the material is perfect. An artist at any level could learn form this author. It's easy to see that Betty Edwards is an experienced teacher.

There are projects in the book that ground the written information in hands-on learning. The projects are fun yet by their nature improve both color mixing and perception.

I highly recommend this book! Loved it!
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2004
Finally, a book that unravels the mysteries of color in a clear, readable, interesting way. We would expect no less from the author of the best-selling Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. This is the perfect complement (pun intended).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
Though this book is now ten years old, it is invaluable for beginners who want a working knowledge of color. Edwards teaches us succinctly and clearly just enough theory and then puts a paint brush in our hands and provides a series of graduated exercises.

Edwards bases her approach to color on brain science, specifically the observation that the brain longs for balance and creates after-images that are complements in hue, value, and intensity to the initial image. The exercises that she has designed bring all of these concepts alive and embed them in consciousness.

Edwards takes nothing for granted when she coaches. For example, she teaches that in pigments there is no true blue or true red. These two hues have trace chemicals that cause problems in mixtures with other pigments. As a result, painters need both a warm and a cool red as well as a warm and a cool blue.

The first exercise that Edwards introduces is creating a color wheel (hue). Next, a value wheel and several intensity wheels help to sharpen understanding of the other two attributes of color. Then students move on to the major project that illustrates the themes that Edwards has developed. This project, Edwards writes, is “like a musical fugue with a theme that is stated and then restated with variations.” Having chosen a pleasing piece of fabric or wrapping paper, the student recreates it, first matching the colors used, then creating a section with the complements to the original colors, another section with opposite values, and a third section with opposite intensities, then repeating the original hues. Interestingly, several student projects have been bought right off the walls of California State University at Long Beach, a highly unusual happenstance, and something Edwards attributes to the balance achieved by this method.

In the final chapters of the book Edwards takes on the problems of color constancy and simultaneous contrast. Both of these technical terms have to do with the difficulty the brain has in actually registering the color that the retina sees. She provides guidance and exercises in her trademark economy and clarity. She ends her book with a chapter on the symbolism of color.

Highly recommended.
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