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Type of artist & their behaviour with the color

Type of artist & their behaviour with color; three statues with different colored plastic bags

Since we were little, we are judged by our zodiac sign or ascendant, pigeonholed by friends, family, or strangers. From time to time, we stumble over various personality tests. And we have to find out our strengths and weaknesses for job interviews.
After a specific time, we finally think that we know each other very well or know each other better than anyone else on this planet.

No matter how much you may have thought about yourself, this article gives you a new aspect to classify. It is to show you three different types of artists and how they deal with colors. A topic that we may never have considered ourselves, but it can be interesting for our future creative career.

Type of Artists & their behavior with the color

Those three types of attitudes towards color are derived from various groups of painters by Johannes Itten (cited by The Elements of Color – Johannes Itten (p.26f))


1. Epigoni

2. Originals

3. Universalists

First, there are the epigones, having no coloration of their own but composing after the manner of their teachers or other exemplars.
The term epigon preserves the meaning of “continuation” / “copycat” in Italian.
Second, the originals – those who paint as they themselves are. They compose according to their subjective timbre. Through the theme changes, the chromatic expression of their paintings remains the same.

If subjective timbre is significant of a person’s inner being, then much of his mode of thought, feeling, and action can be inferred from his color combinations.

Some painters used to include subjective proportions, which can be extended to subjective color. Subjective color is shown e.g., in the placement of the colors relative to each other, their directions, brilliance, clarity, or turbidity, their proportions, textures, and rhythmic relationships.

Third, the universalists, artists who compose from inclusive, objective considerations [e.g., color harmony, knowledge about psychology & color history]. Each of their compositions, according to the subject to be developed, has a different color treatment.

That there should be but few painters in this group are understandable, for their subjective timbre must comprehend the entire color circle, and this happens rarely. Besides, they must possess high intelligence, admitting of a comprehensive philosophy.

Learnings & thoughts

Depending on what type of artist you are, you will be booked either because of your specific style or because of your ability to imitate or create different styles.

Remember, both photographers and retouchers can stay in different types of artist groups. It is always an advantage to communicate which category you count yourself to and who is responsible for the color of the images within the creative process.

Note: Have a look at your portfolio — it can show you already which group you belong to.

After scanning the three different types, ask people around you if you have arranged yourself correctly. As is well known, self-perception is not always identical to external perception. Remember that.


Do you have any suggestions, additions, is this post out of date, or have you found any mistakes? Then we look forward to your comment. You are welcome to share this post. We are very grateful for every recommendation.

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Mareike Keicher

Mareike Keicher, founder of MK Retouching and senior retoucher with several years of experience in postproduction. From an early age, she always has had an eye for details and a talent for drawing. Later, she studied Informationdesign at the Media University of Stuttgart, focusing on digital painting, photography, and design. After her advertising agencies' experience, she really enjoyed the exchange with numerous retouchers & photographers.

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