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Dealing with Color Blindness as an Artist: Advantages You Can Have

You Wish To Become An Artist? But Color Blindness is In Your Way

Did you know that the great Claude Monet, French painter who had a pretty hard time to tell colors apart from each other. He even had to label the paint tubes.

Next to the great Claude Monet, famous Neil Harbisson, world's first cyborg artist who is also colorblind.

He sees everything in gray-scale since he was born with Achromatopsia. In 2003, an antenna was placed in his head allowing him to pick up colors through vibrations.

One of the greatest colorblind artists of today is Daniel Arsham. What kind of effect has this for his artwork? If you know his works, you’ll know that all of them are white, shades of grey or black. The lack of color didn’t really matter to him.

“As an artist, within my work, I didn’t think about the lack of color as being even part of my practice. Perhaps I was more drawn to them because I knew in their lack of color, I was able to see them the way that everyone else would see them” - Daniel Arsham

These three would make a top list of artists of my choice. If you haven't heard about them I strongly encourage you to go ahead and Google their names. I believe the way we can overcome many things in life is by seeing great examples we can follow to stay strong in our art journey.

When I started my project for colorblind artists like me, it was the first time I had spoken openly about my struggles, and while I expected it to garner some interest and hopefully inspire other budding artists, I did not expect it to accrue so many students, lots of positive feedback and support from other colorblind artists.

By means of introduction, I have been working professionally as a creative designer, architect, and interior designer for 11 years now. I have been extremely lucky in my career thus far, this curious disability has always somewhat marred the experience. I spent years perfecting my color navigating skills before deciding to invite other artists on this journey, where now I share my best knowledge of how to apply colors in art.

We all know there’s nothing quite like sitting in a room of artists and directors, listening to them question your color choices because you didn’t realize you had accidentally painted the water pink and having to shakily justify the “decision”. For me it was always one excuse “it’s just a draft”.

How Can You Become A Great Artist As a Colorblind

“To me, seeing gray-scale was always an advantage”. Sometimes just focusing on light and shape is better. But perception is unique to each person; it is incomparable.” - Neil Harbisson

I find that actually expressing what it feels like to be colorblind is the most fascinating thing in social situations, because it presumably feels totally alien to most people.

One big assumption that a lot of folks with normal color vision make is that color blindness means we see in black and white when that’s actually an extremely rare manifestation of it.

The Advantages of Being a Colorblind Artist

Being colorblind artist you have to rely on a combination of common sense and color theory to actually color-pick a lot of colors in the environment; the grass is presumably green, but it’s being affected by the blue sky, the bounce light off that wall and the shadow from that tree. We all know that colors do play an important role in any artwork.

Who said being different is a bad thing?

But you definitely need to know the basics (you can check my course details below).

Value, defined as how light or dark a color is, sounds simple, right?

For many artists, colors sing to them. Colors sing to them so loudly that they cannot hear the value whispering.

Another reason focusing on color value may fall to the wayside is that you can create pretty good paintings, graphics, or interior design schemes without mastering value. But sometimes you might feel that something isn't quite right in your project but not immediately recognize that the problem is in the value of a color you chosen or that lack of value contrast between colors.

Colorblind people cannot see some colors as well as many other artists, what she does possess is an incredible talent for seeing the color's value.



After the best-selling children’s books illustrator Loren Long finished a Facebook live art video in The Times studio, his publicist noticed a viewer comment from Mr. Long’s brother. “He says you’re colorblind,” she said, shocked. Mr. Long admitted it was true. He had never talked about his colorblindness publicly, he said.

Why have you never revealed that you’re colorblind?

Early in my career I kept it secret because I was worried that it would hurt my ability to get hired. If an art director or editor knew I was colorblind, would they want to work with me? I also just didn’t want to call attention to myself, when people have overcome far greater odds than mine. I think of it as an “obstacle” as opposed to a “disability.”

Can you describe your colorblindness?

I’ll try, it’s complicated. In general, I can’t tell the difference between the many shades of brown and green or blue and purple. They’re very similar to me. Light blue and lavender look the same, and tan and pale green are almost impossible to tell apart. My living room is a shade of gray, but if my wife had told me it was green I would have taken her word all these years. I see colors best when they are at their most pure. I see bright red pretty well, but burgundy starts looking brown to me. Yellows and oranges I probably see best.

All your books have many colors in them. How do you do that?

I work with tubes of paint that have the names on them. I put colors on the palette in a certain order. I know color theory but when I get into a painting it’s very intuitive.

But you can’t know for sure how it looks?

That’s the scary thing. If I’m not careful I could paint brown leaves instead of green. I have to rely on values, and I think because of my colorblindness I have a heightened sense of values — darks, lights and middle tones. Saturation could be another way to describe it. So I have a solid grasp of lighting and lights and darks. I try to establish a strong light source and let value define the picture more than color.



COLORBLIND GUIDE | Online Courses For Colorblind Artists

Come and check my course for Colorblind artist, where I will teach you all the important basics of color theory and color matching techniques. I will share how famous colorblind artist made art and how can you!

"2 years of ‘color fundamentals’ research, 730 days of writing and creating content that can show you real-life examples of using & applying colors to different projects, and 3 months of recording high quality videos to show you everything in the best quality."

  • First Standard Guide For Colorblind People From kindergarten to universities, color training for art, science, and business applications is taught by people who can see color, leaving the colorblind guessing their way through school, work, and daily life. 

  • Refine Your Life Struggling with colors doing some simple daily tasks or want to learn some basics? This is your chance to "refine" your life and get all of the best strategies for taking control of your color choices.

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Colorblind Children

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A Story For Colorblind Children

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Amir Kosari is a colorblind architect and designer.

He is the creator of the world's first online training program for colorblind people. Thousands of colorblind people (children, adults, and designers) who previously struggled with colors were helped by these FREE training programs.  Read more

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