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USING COLOR TO EVOKE MOOD, CHARACTER, AND ATMOSPHERE
Beginning in the mid-1930s, Rockwell created color sketches by
photographing his detailed charcoal drawings, and painting in oil
on top of the photo. “I usually start my color sketches by rapidly
painting in the flesh tones of the figures in my picture. I do this
because I find that you can let yourself go in the color of clothes,
props, and even landscapes, but people must look human and
believable,” he wrote. “Of course, the flesh color varies with the
people and lighting in your picture. Naturally, flesh in moonlight,
firelight, and plain daylight is quite dierent but in a human
interest picture it must be realistic and convincing.”
(All images on this spread)
Norman Rockwell
Game Called for Rain (Tough Call), 1949
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post,
April 23, 1949
Study (above) Charcoal on paper; color study (left),
oil on photograph; and final illustration (opposite)
Rockwell established his color palette on a photo-
graph of his original charcoal study, which served as
a structural and tonal guide. Blue is the predominant
color in Game Called for Rain (Tough Call), which
conveys a sense of overcast light and an impending
storm. Warmer colors permeate the composition in
both the color study and the final painting, connecting
the signage and buildings in the lower portion of the
picture to the gear and cloud in the upper center
and left.
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USING COLOR TO EVOKE MOOD, CHARACTER, AND ATMOSPHERE
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(Both images on this page)
Robert Fawcett
A Portrait Reversed [Artist in studio, south of France],
c. 1949
Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post
Casein and pencil on board
In this story illustration, Fawcett used high-key colors
to evoke the warmth and friendly mood of an artists
studio in the south of France. “I tried to keep the
studio light and airy with no gloom,” he commented.
A magenta-violet light suffuses the atmosphere, linking
the compositions foreground, middle ground, and
background, and contributing to the painting’s narrative.
Story illustration for The Network by Evan John
The Saturday Evening Post, July 10, 1948
Gouache and watercolor on board
Warm but less sunny in feel, this illustration utilizes oranges
and browns to convey a more ominous mood in an insular
domestic setting. All eyes are on the seated woman, who is
clearly the center of interest here. Her face and torso are
the lightest parts of Fawcetts composition, and she is set
against her darkened shadow, cast behind her. The artist
breaks the scenes monotony by placing touches of blue
in the man’s collar (left), womans sweater (center), and
chair (right), carefully moving the viewer’s eye through
the composition.
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