impossible origami instructions

In the quest that continued for days to pick out just the right watercolors to order from Daniel Smith, I painted a few simple geometric compositions to compare similar hues.

I started with the red and pink Quinacridone colors. My favorite by far was the Quinacridone Coral–it is so vibrant that it borders on florescent and really seems to glow.

pink & red origami

The scan doesn’t show the colors accurately, especially the darker pinks and the brightness of the Coral. As I was playing with the color balance in Photoshop, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to adjust it to be accurate, so instead I came up with a couple of “super-charged” color variations.

origami instructions

To get the final look, I traced the lines of the triangles in Illustrator, and then swapped them so that the overlap was more abstract.

A friend suggested the name, “impossible origami instructions” and I really liked it, so that’s what I’m calling the series.

The next color I studied was blue. Some of the Daniel Smith colors were really light and subtle like the Lapis Lazuli Genuine, and others were richer and darker like Mayan Blue Genuine. My favorite of these is Kyanite Genuine, a rich gray-blue.

blue origami

Although some of the lightest blues are a lost, the scan is pretty accurate for the colors. I decided to amp up the colors as I’d done for the reds and pinks, just for fun. I followed the same steps for the outlines.

blue & pink origami instructions

Next up were the Greens. Daniel Smith has some great ones! My favorite was the Serpentine Genuine, a bright yellow green. Fuchsite Genuine is also a pretty, sparkly light green.

green origami

The scanner also seemed to be able to process the greens pretty accurately, but to complete the series, I altered the colors and added the outlines using Photoshop and Illustrator as I’d done for the previous two pieces.

cyan & green origami instructions

I don’t often use the computer to alter the art I make, aside from basic cropping and color balancing, but I must admit that it seems to have it’s place! I would not have been able to explore so many variations on this theme without the aid of Photoshop and Illustrator, and honestly, probably never would have gotten the end results without using a computer.

One of the things that I really like about using watercolor for images like these is the texture and depth it lends to relatively simple geometric forms. It’s really neat that the texture is still apparent, even after I’d adjusted the colors dramatically.

This series would look awesome at a large scale, perhaps lined up next to each other, taking up most of a wall. It’s been a while since I’ve completed a series of paintings, so maybe I’ll work my enlargement magic and make the bigger versions. Just have to find the time!

9 Replies to “impossible origami instructions”

      1. Hello Anika,

        I realise this is an old post, and what I’m asking is off topic somewhat, but I’m looking to find out how to do geometric triangles in Illustrator. Exactly as the ones you have traced here. I’m new to AI and can’t figure it.. Any tips or point to the right tools would be greatly appreciated (I can link to an image I have in mind if helps..).

        Thank yoou!

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