Color: Tia Caton


Charles M. Schultz’s comic series “The Classic Peanuts” 

Color has become a major component in design processes and choices. The use of color helps influence the audience on how to feel or interpret a certain piece as well as what to focus on. Color can describe mood, reality or codify information while also make things stand out or disappear. The basic color theory states that colors sitting close to each other on the color wheel are analogs. There is minimal color contrast together and innate harmony with these colors. Also stated by this theory is the idea of compliment colors or colors on the opposite end of the color wheel. There are primary colors (red, yellow and blue), secondary colors (orange, purple and green), and also tertiary colors (mix of primary and secondary colors, ie. red-orange). Along with the basic color theory there are certain aspects of color such as hue, intensity, value, shade, tint and saturation. Each of these modes help describe the attributes of a color and provides the wide range of colors we see.

For this post I decided to use one of my favorite comics, the Classic Peanuts, by Charles M. Schultz. Growing up I always loved reading about the adventures of Snoopy and the simple use of color in these comics. Looking at this comic strip in particular, there is a common theme of the use of primary colors in each of the frames. Schultz keeps it simple by sticking to the red, yellow and blue of primary colors. However, this doesn’t mean that is his only use of color. He also incorporates the use of secondary colors such as green and purple. I feel like by using a select number of colors the focus still remains on the characters and dialog while also creating a pleasant background. By creating a mainly blue and green background, the author utilizes the color theory of compliment colors to make the red dog house pop in the image. Red and green are compliment colors on the color wheel, according to the basic color theory, and thus creates a bolder statement for the well known Snoopy dog house. I think the two frames that have a solid colored background, such as the yellow and purple one, help set the mood of the characters that are speaking. For example, the girl in the yellow frame is talking about how the day is sunny and bright which is usually associated with the color yellow. By creating an all yellow background the mood of the scene is positive and happy. In contrast to this, the purple background creates an almost sullen feeling. By using a light purple, Schultz is able to portray the girls initial response to Snoopy completely doing the opposite of what she suggested. Using a light purple still keeps the comic feeling light hearted but the cool color is able to portray more of a disappointed feeling to it. I think this is a really great example of how color can illustrate emotions and also make things stand out or fade to the background.

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