Color And Pattern Tutorial

Colors are one of the most engaging parts of a visual experience. We identify with, make associations with, and respond emotionally to colors. A pale purple or sage green might make a person feel relaxed and centered. Daffodil yellow may draw someone's eye and cause her to feel more energized. Most colors can provoke a positive or negative emotional reaction: a glossy cluster of red berries may create anxiety as it makes one think of poison; black spots of mold may cause fear to bloom if one associates rot with death.

Likewise, many common patterns hold different meanings for different people. A checked pattern might remind one person of a picnic blanket, summer, and carefree moments. It might remind someone else of a father's dress shirt, his severity, and the feeling of inadequacy that he evoked. Colors and patterns are powerful tools in the writer's hand, both for deepening our descriptions and infusing a story with hidden symbolism.

Well-chosen comparisons can help readers visualize a scene better and draw on that sense of “shared experience” that pulls them more deeply into the narrator's viewpoint. Unfortunately, it's often difficult to come up with apt associations that reflect an exact color or pattern while aligning with objects found within a particular setting. The purpose of the Color and Pattern Thesaurus is to help with the brainstorming end of things, so you spend more time writing and less time figuring out the perfect simile or metaphor.


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