Search engine spider with rainbow

The Art of Expressive Colour


Wherever you go with a smartphone, you go with a camera. Oh yes, you can shoot everything in sight, but really you can’t beat the freedom of sketching to express what you feel about what you’re looking at.

A photo is a record but a drawing is a memory.

You see more intensely when you draw than when you simply snap a photo of a subject.

Sketch on a tablet, phablet or phone and you have a full studio toolbox with you as well as a camera.

Expressive colour makes mood moodier

Most mobile drawing or painting apps include a rainbow palette of colours, literally at your fingertips – without the fag of carrying a paintbox or bundles of crayons.

Colour adds feeling. Drawing or painting on a smartphone or tablet you’re in a position to add expressive colour easily.

Cartoon faces with expressions

The six universal expressions: Sadness, Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Surprise.

Coloured cartoons of face expressions

Looking at the colour version, half shut your eyes until the faces turn into blobs. You won’t need a degree in physiognomy to pick out who’s feeling blue, who is seeing red and who is going a little green. Sunny-Smile and White-With-Fright should present few obstacles.

This is of course a huge simplification, based on things like  the physical colour of the skin in changing emotional states.

Colour can bring different feelings in different cultures. White is the colour of weddings in the West. It can be the colour of mourning in the East.

Teardrop shaped blue smileyThe meaning and mood-altering effect of colour can also vary according to the situation. Yes, if you’re blue you are sad – unless the bluebird of happiness happens to alight nearby.

note8 sketchbk pxlro bluebird xmas

I hoped to spread happiness via this blue bird, drawn with great delight on my Galaxy Note smartphone.


Published by

Valerie Beeby

We used to say 'Seeing is believing'. Now it's more like 'Believing is seeing'. We see what we expect to see. Look again and who knows. Does it really match what's actually there? ...I've always been fascinated by how our minds work. As a writer and artist, I'm particularly interested in new research into how we perceive this extraordinary world we live in, where things are not always what they seem.

Leave a Reply