Resource Share: Muddy Colors

Muddy Colors, is freaking amazing. If you’re interested in art and illustration, particularly within the genre of sci-fi and fantasy go read this blog. Seriously, there’s a link right there. Here’s another one for good measure:

I suggest you go find out for yourself just how magical it is. If you really need more convincing keep reading.

Education. So important, and yet so difficult. Today the cost of tuition for a college degree is astronomical and is becoming increasing prohibitive for many people, particularly those interested in the humanities. Humanities jobs often don’t pay enough to cover the debt, assuming you can find or make a job in the field.

But education is how we make the world a better place, and it should not be impossible to afford or unattainable. Enter Muddy Colors. A downright incredible resource for those wanting to learn more about illustration.

Muddy Colors at its heart is a bunch of insanely generous, experienced, and talented people that are passionate about education and have worked hard to build up their community. I’ve never met a more supportive group of professionals. The best part, the blog and its decade worth of archives are absolutely free. Seriously, you can get a pretty damn good foundation of art knowledge from the information stored on their site.

Because of Muddy Colors I’ve discovered so many new influences and resources. They were my gateway into the world of illustration and fantasy art. I felt a sense of quality and community reading that blog that I hadn’t previously felt anywhere else.

Rather than continue to carry on about how much I love this site, let me just share some of my favorite posts. This is only a small sampling of what’s available. The site has been running and updating regularly for about ten years. But I think these posts are a good starting point.

Art Education:

“Composition Basics: Value Structure”

“How to Photograph Your Paintings”

“Creating Realistic Lighting in Your Shots, Scenes, and Illustrations”

“Reference Manipulation-Pushing the Pose or Portrait”

“Using Shape and Value For Better Compositions”

“Color Constancy or is it the Power of Gray?”

“10 Things… About Edges”

“Observe, It’s the Foundation”


“Goals vs. Systems and Habits”

The One Thing I Look For in Portfolio Reviews”

“What is a “Real” Artist?”

The above three posts are all written by Lauren Panepinto. All of Lauren’s posts are like a lighthouse to me.

“I suck.”

I remember I read “I suck.” just after I got my first oil paints and started painting. I thought, “Hey, I’m better now than he was in college, and now he’s fucking incredible! If he can do it I can too.” Insanely inspirational.

“If it Sucks, Do It Again” gave me the courage to be less precious with my work.

“Breaking the “I’m Not Good Enough to Start” Cycle”

“Why Personal Projects Are Worth Your Time, Even Though You Don’t Have Any To Spare”

“I Want What You Have. I Think.”

“Artist’s Studios”

I saw a series of photos for Tom Kidd’s studio on Facebook and his chair labeled “for reading manuscripts” struck me like lightning. It made me sit up and say “That! That’s what I want to do in my life!”

The Studio in question. Note, this particular picture is not in the above linked Muddy Colors post. But I love seeing other artists’ work spaces.

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