I am developing custom colorways for hand-dyed roving. I have been putting color on stuff for over ten years, but my dye work took a leap forward when I took Peggy Doney’s class on triad dyeing. (She’s teaching this year at the Estes Park Wool Market, by the way.) The system she teaches helps you to create a very handy chart for creating colors, and along the way, you get to learn how colors change when you mix them.
But sometimes, I just want to make a color without going through all the steps. And sometimes, getting to the right color isn’t always intuitive. I was having trouble pinning down a particular color I wanted, so I turned to Professor Google for help. I found a couple of websites I want to turn you on to; they were just the ticket for what I needed.
The first is trycolors.com. There is lots you can do on this site, but my goal is to get a recipe for a color I want to make. The tool is designed to help colorists in many different media, so you have to pick out the information that’s useful to you. For my purposes, I’m looking for CMYK information.
A note, which you may already be thinking: colors on your computer monitor won’t be the same as what the printer displays, or what the art medium produces. Yes, you’re right. So, it’s important to manage expectations with online color mixing tools. The idea is to get close, then refine the mix in your medium.
So, I start on the All Colors page, and use the color wheel and the shade picker to find the color I’m looking for. Click the Get Formula button, and that takes us to a description of the color.
Scrolling down towards the bottom is a conversion table, and there I find the CMYK info I want.
For my purposes, CMYK info tells me the percentage of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK that I need to make that color. The light orange color in the example does have some black in it; enough to tone down the other colors in the mix. Then, in dye, the ratio of dye to fiber is what lightens or intensifies the color.
Another tool I found useful is at colorizer.org. Here, I can use the slider bars to make a color, or I can enter the info from trycolors into the the CMYK area.
The really cool thing about this site, though, is the color themes area further down the page. This shows complementary, triad, square, analogic, and other color schemes using the color you’re working with. This will be a great help to learn what colors will look good with a color you like. There’s also some very interesting information about different color models and how they work.
I’m hoping to have my first set of colorways developed very soon, and I think these sites will be a big help.