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The Best Books About Color And Color Theory

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“What are the best books to learn about Color and Color Theory?” We looked at 239 of the best books, aggregating and ranking them in an attempt to answer that very question!

The top 49 books, all appearing on 2 or more lists, are listed below with images, descriptions, and links. The remaining books, as well as the sources we used are listed at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!





The Top Color and Color Theory Books



49 .) A History of Colors by Manlio Brusatin


Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Goodreads

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48 .) Artists’ Pigments c1600-1835 by R.D. Harley


Lists It Appears On:

  • Writer 2001
  • About

A study of the development and use of artists’ colours.

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47 .) Chroma by Derek Jarman

Lists It Appears On:

  • Print Mag
  • Goodreads

Chroma: A Book of Color is a meditation on the color spectrum by Britain’s most controversial filmmaker. From the explosions of image and color in Edward II, The Last of England, The Garden, and Wittgenstein, to the somber blacks of his collages and tar paintings, Derek Jarman has consistently used color in unprecedented ways. In his signature style, a lyrical combination of classic theory, anecdote and poetry, Jarman takes the reader through the spectrum, introducing each color as an embodiment of an emotion, evoking memories or dreams.

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46 .) Color by Paul Zelanski

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Worqx

It provides a solid and thorough foundation in the aesthetic and practical basics of this all-pervasive subject, with many quotations from artists past and present on the subtleties of their techniques. The material on new technologies has been reorganized abd updated so that pigment mixtures are now explored before light mixtures.

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45 .) Color and Human Response: Aspects of Light and Color Bearing on the Reactions of Living Things and the Welfare of Human Beings by Faber Birren

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Writer 2001

Faber Bitten pioneered in the field of “functional” color, using color properties to promote human welfare psychologically, visually, and physiologically; in this volume he has assembled a wealth of information on the subject. Color and Human Response offers intriguing factual and hypothetical observations on the influences of color in life, supported by historical references and the latest scientific data. Birren explores the biological, visual, emotional, aesthetic, and psychic responses to color — referring both to ancient symbolic uses of color as well as its application in the modern environment. His specifications for color in homes, offices, hospitals, and schools are geared toward relieving modem tensions and anxieties. Complete with drawings, color photographs, and a chapter on the personal meaning of color preferences, Color and Human Response will fascinate anyone concerned with the human environment, including scientists and psychologists. It has become a basic reference for architects, teachers, and interior and industrial designers.

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44 .) Color and Space by Sandu Cultural Media

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

When applied in masterful brushstrokes to the built environment, color has an incredible visceral impact on human experience of space. While previous titles have looked at the use of color in print design, Color and Space is the logical next volume, focusing entirely on color in architecture and design. The utilization of color in these projects ranges from entire building interior and exteriors painted matching neon green to painted yellow shadows falling poetically beneath table and store fixtures to giant skyscrapers completely covered in purple and white stained glass panels. Types of spaces featured include retail, restaurants, offices, schools and play spaces, museums, and sporting and event facilities. Commissions for Versace, IBM, Godiva Chocolatier, and Louis Vuitton hold their own against sculptural installations such as Olafur Eliasson’s ‘rainbow panorama’ architectural sky walk on the top level of ARoS Aarhus museum in Denmark – an immersive color wheel in human scale created out of colored glass floor to ceiling windows. Signage, lighting, windows, paint choices, flooring and furniture elements are all considered in this tour of the world s most remarkable and colorful buildings.

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43 .) Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory by Stephen Quiller

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Hub Pages

With the help of his own “Quiller Wheel,” a special foldout wheel featuring 68 precisely placed colors, the author shows artists how they can develop their own unique color blends. First, Quiller demonstrates how to use the wheel to interpret color relationships and mix colors more clearly. Then he explains, step by step, how to develop five structured color schemes, apply underlays and overlays, and use color in striking, unusual ways. This book will bring out every artist’s unique sense of color whether he or she works in oil, watercolor, acrylics, gouache, or casein.

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42 .) Color in Contemporary Painting: Integrating Practice and Theory by Charles LeClair

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Hub Pages

Explains how to make use of colour in oil, acrylic and watercolour painting. Colour theories are outlined, but the main emphasis is on the way contemporary artists actually use colour. The book’s thesis is that once artists have become acquainted with fundamental colour principles, they can begin to have fun with colour and play with it spontaneously. A number of approaches to colour are set forth as a guide, including building a picture with colour blocks, enriching colour with shadows, heightening colour intensity, achieving freshness with broken colour, painting with sunlight, experimenting with abstract colour systems, fantasizing with colour and creating space with colour. Each of the sections of this book are illustrated by the work of artists of historical importance as well as by the work of contemporary artists. There are also a number of development studies of the author’s own work. Each section closes with a group of suggested exercises.

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41 .) Color in Interior Design by John Pile

Lists It Appears On:

  • Harding
  • Worqx

Create dazzling color schemes for any indoor space. You’ll quickly sharpen your color skills–and open the door to a more rewarding and profitable career with John F. Pile’s Color in Interior Design. He takes the mystery out of working with color, showing you step-by-step how to plan color relationships in an organized and systematic way…prepare color schemes for interiors…make color charts…select materials…put together color samples…work with additive and subtractive color…understand the psychological impact of color…use color in functional spaces…and solve a wide range of practical color problems. This hands-on color design tool packs illustrations of the best color work by well-known professionals–plus a survery of color in historic interiors that will guide you through restoration and adaptive reuse projects.

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40 .) Color Inspirations by Darius A. Monsef IV

Lists It Appears On:

  • Print Mag
  • Thinkful

Color Inspirations contains some of the very best color palettes, organized by color family in a logical, easy-to-use format. In this complete reference, you’ll discover 3,286 fresh, inspiring color palettes—ready to beapplied to your latest design or project and complete with accurate CMYK, RGB and HEXvalues.This comprehensive book also includes a brief primer on color theory and an inspiration section that will help you discover new color combinations in the world around you. It contains everything you need to find the best color palettes for your project in a snap.

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39 .) Color Manual for Artists by Arthur Guptill

Lists It Appears On:

  • Harding
  • Nita Leland

The Color Manual for Artists has been a standard guide for the artist seeking to enlarge his knowledge of color and his ability to use it effec­tively.

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38 .) Color Perception in Art by Faber Birren

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Writer 2001

The relationship of visual perception to color expression in art is presented here in clear detail. Photographs of representative paintings, explanatory line drawings, and abstract, geometric color plates supplement the text.

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37 .) Color Psychology and Color Therapy by Faber Birren

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

Birren’s work has a strong focus on linking how humans perceive colors to how it makes them react. He writes, “Good smelling colors are pink, lilac, orchid, cool green, aqua blue.” Birren explores the work of several physicians, scientists and doctors, mainly the German psychoanalyst and physician Felix Deutsch, whose findings throw important light not only on medical practice with references to color but on the whole psychology of color. Birren states that if a person prefers warmer colors such as hues of red and oranges, they are likely to me more aware of their social environment.

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36 .) Color Right From the Start: Progressive Lessons in Seeing and Understanding Color by Hilary Page

Lists It Appears On:

  • About
  • Nita Leland

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35 .) Color Studies by Edith Anderson Feisner and Ron Reed

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Harding

This text discusses in detail the four dimensions of color – hue, value, intensity and temperature – with tips for putting knowledge into practice in a variety of disciplines, from painting and other fine arts to interior design, architecture, fashion design, textile design, and graphic design. Feisner and Reed provide an up-to-date discussion of sustainable color applications and green materials as the underlying component of colorants, dyes, and inks in textiles, printmaking and paints. A new chapter on color and digital technology discusses illuminating with color (LED), color tools and management (Pantone), as well as color consulting and marketing. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this lavishly illustrated edition balances traditional and modern perspectives and examples in all areas of fine art and design.

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34 .) Color Theory by José María Parramón

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Goodreads

This guide explains how colour works in nature and how it can be manipulated to make expressive paintings. After covering the more scientific aspects of colour theory, the author offers information which analyzes a subject in terms of local, tonal, reflected and shadow colour. He demonstrates how to prepare a palette and how to obtain a wide colour range from specific mixtures. He defines and discusses colour harmonies, complements, and contrasts and shows the reader how to use cool and warm hues expressively, and how to juxtapose harmonious or discordant colours to produce different psychological and visual effects.

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33 .) Color Works by Eddie Opara

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

This is the go-to guide for designers as it outlines and details the essential color design skills needed to create successful, meaningful, and aesthetically compelling designs. Along with hands-on projects, it offers unique insights into strategy and business when working in the real world with real clients. Color Works starts with basic information on color practices and fundamentals, and then delves more deeply into theory and application on a project-by-project basis. Illustrated with real-world projects and case studies, this book offers a behind-the-scenes take on the design process and the necessary steps to go from concept to final outcome, including the challenges encountered along the way.

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32 .) Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Goodreads

“Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors.
For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo was so expensive he couldn’t afford to buy it himself. Since ancient times, carmine red—still found in lipsticks and Cherry Coke today—has come from the blood of insects.”

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31 .) Color: A Workshop Approach by David Hornung

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Harding

This new text connects color theory with its practical application in two-dimensional visual disciplines–graphic design, illustration, painting, textile art, and textile design. Fundamental color concepts are explored in a series of sixteen painted studies that guide students through a variety of color experiences. The lesson sequence moves logically from basic structural concepts, through experiments with color applications, to scenarios that facilitate color unity and expression.

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30 .) Colour and Light by Ulrich Bachmann

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

Colour and light belong together. But there are hardly any colour theories which address the complex interdependence of colour and light with a direct and sensuous approach. This is the point of departure for the multimedia publication Colour and Light, consisting of a book and DVD, which with practical examples and theoretical explanations combines the interactions between material colours and light as well as that between dynamic light situations in spatial and virtual contexts. The materials in the book are augmented with interactive tools which inspire the direct creative and experimental handling of colour and light phenomena. Extensive photo and video documentations from experiments done with spatial installations or models plus a colour-light-compendium offer manifold suggestions for design practice for teachers, students and all those interested in colour.

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29 .) Complete Color Index by Jim Krause

Lists It Appears On:

  • Print Mag
  • Goodreads

“With over 2600 color combinations, this set is all you’ll need for solutions to your color problems! It contains the original best-selling Color Index and Color Index 2, and together they comprise the most comprehensive color-selection tool out there. Providing multiple palette possibilities for every project, this complete collection is an indispensable tool for designers, illustrators, photographers, crafters, fine artists and others.

Each color palette includes a swatch, an example of the colors used in a design, and accurate CMYK and RGB formulas, making it easy for you to find appropriate colors and implement them immediately. The palettes in Color Index are divided into categories based on the moods they evoke, while the palettes in Color Index 2 are based on color families. No matter your preferred method for searching, you’ll be able to easily reference hundreds of hues at a glance.”

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28 .) History of Color In Painting With New Principles of Color Expression by Faber Birren

Lists It Appears On:

  • Writer 2001
  • Nita Leland

“Faber Birren, the noted color authority, surveys the color theories of the past and analyzes the palettes and techniques of painters from the Renaissance to 1965. Showing the relationship between color theory and practice, he sets forth a new art of color based on modern scientific research into human perception.

The first part of the book traces the development of color theory, presenting the views of such thinkers as Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Goethe, Brewster, Hering, Chevreul, Rood, Ostwald, and Munsell. The palettes used by many great painters are described and listed in detail. Modern color theory and color effects based on human perception are fully explained and illustrated. A unique chart of artists’ color samples duplicates visually the palettes of da Vinci, El Greco, Rembrandt, Turner, the Impressionists, and the Abstract Expressionists, enabling the painter of today to match the color effects of these painters.

The second part of the book offers a comprehensive history of painting as seen through the discerning eyes of a color specialist; it contains a wealth of reference material that supports the creative principles outlined in the first section. “

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27 .) Interior Color By Design: A design tool for architects, interior designers, and homeowners by Jonathan Poore

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Harding

The book is packed with information on planning color relationships, preparing color schemes for interiors, making color charts, selecting materials, putting together color samples, and working with additive and subtractive color. The author also discusses the psychological impact of color and how color can enhance functional spaces and solve a wide range of practical problems.

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26 .) Kelvin: Colour Today by Robert Klanten

Lists It Appears On:

  • Print Mag
  • Goodreads

“Color, or more precisely color temperature, is measured in a unit called the Kelvin. The book Kelvin shows some of the effects of the deliberate use of color. Each chapter focuses on a color: green, red, blue, yellow, and orange as well as the achromatic “”colors”” black and white.

This comprehensive book includes recent, top quality design work and documents exciting projects from photography, illustration and product design that deal with color in remarkable ways. Alongside images of clear and distinctive color allocation, Kelvin also includes more intricate and playful examples that illustrate contemporary color combinations. This structure ensures that the reader is introduced to the subject of color in an instructive as well as an associative and experimental way.

Each chapter in Kelvin starts with an essay or interview that puts the selected works into context. The book also investigates complex subject areas such as classic color theory, the meaning of color in various cultures and the effect of color in brand management.”

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25 .) Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Hub Pages

“Do you know how to use the push and pull of warm and cool colors to create a feeling of space? Can you generate exciting vibrations through the interplay of complements? Have you ever considered disguising one color in a scene to accent another color? All these possibilities—and more—are discussed and clarified with illustrations.

The lessons on color lead into another essential painting consideration: composition and design. Painting is much more than copying what you see. It involves finding a structure that allows you to organize and thus communicate your impressions and reactions. Dobie encourages artists to experiment with different arrangements of shapes and values to build a dynamic foundation in their paintings. This manual stimulates new ways to think about colour, generating responses that unlock personal creativity and allow artists to express themselves with paint.”

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24 .) Painter’s Guide to Color by Stephen Quiller

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Nita Leland

Opening with an analysis of the painter’s ideal palette and how it is organized with primary, secondary, and intermediate hues, the guide then explores value and intensity, complementary and analogous colors, the ways in which color can be used to evoke moods, express atmospheric conditions, and other essentials relating to color choice and usage. A range of master colorists’ work is also included.

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23 .) Pantone: 35 Inspirational Color Palletes by Pantone Inc.

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

In this handy fan deck, international color authority Pantone takes the guesswork out of using color in bold and innovative new ways, sharing the wisdom that has made their professional products an essential resource around the globe.

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22 .) Principles of Color: A Review of Past Traditions and Modern Theories of Color Harmony by Faber Birren

Lists It Appears On:

  • Writer 2001
  • Nita Leland

This is an essential basic book on color, written by the best-known colorist of our time for beginners seeking a thorough grounding in the comprehension and solution of color problems, and for mature artists and teachers interested in keeping abreast of recent findings and conclusions.

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21 .) ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color by Jude Stewart

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

“Color is all around us every day. We use it to interpret the world-red means stop, blue means water, orange means construction. But it is also written into our metaphors, of speech and thought alike: yellow means cowardice; green means envy-unless you’re in Germany, where yellow means envy, and you can be “beat up green and yellow.”

Jude Stewart, a design expert and writer, digs into this rich subject with gusto. What color is the universe? We might say it’s black, but astrophysicists think it might be turquoise. Unless it’s beige. To read about color from Jude Stewart is to unlock a whole different way of looking at the world around us-and bringing it all vividly to life.”

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20 .) The Brilliant History of Color in Art by Victoria Finlay

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Goodreads

“Readers of this book will revel in a treasure trove of fun-filled facts and anecdotes. Were it not for Cleopatra, for instance, purple might not have become the royal color of the Western world. Without Napoleon, the black graphite pencil might never have found its way into the hands of Cézanne. Without mango-eating cows, the sunsets of Turner might have lost their shimmering glow. And were it not for the pigment cobalt blue, the halls of museums worldwide might still be filled with forged Vermeers.

Red ocher, green earth, Indian yellow, lead white—no pigment from the artist’s broad and diverse palette escapes Finlay’s shrewd eye in this breathtaking exploration.”

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19 .) The Color Revolution by Regina Lee Blaszczyk

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads

When the fashion industry declares that lime green is the new black, or instructs us to “think pink!,” it is not the result of a backroom deal forged by a secretive cabal of fashion journalists, designers, manufacturers, and the editor of Vogue. It is the latest development of a color revolution that has been unfolding for more than a century. In this book, the award-winning historian Regina Lee Blaszczyk traces the relationship of color and commerce, from haute couture to automobile showrooms to interior design, describing the often unrecognized role of the color profession in consumer culture. Blaszczyk examines the evolution of the color profession from 1850 to 1970, telling the stories of innovators who managed the color cornucopia that modern artificial dyes and pigments made possible. These “color stylists,” “color forecasters,” and “color engineers” helped corporations understand the art of illusion and the psychology of color. Blaszczyk describes the strategic burst of color that took place in the 1920s, when General Motors introduced a bright blue sedan to compete with Ford’s all-black Model T and when housewares became available in a range of brilliant hues. She explains the process of color forecasting–not a conspiracy to manipulate hapless consumers but a careful reading of cultural trends and consumer taste. And she shows how color information flowed from the fashion houses of Paris to textile mills in New Jersey. Today professional colorists are part of design management teams at such global corporations as Hilton, Disney, and Toyota. The Color Revolution tells the history of how colorists help industry capture the hearts and dollars of consumers.

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18 .) The Color Star by Johannes Itten

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Worqx

Consisting of eight stencil-like disks that can be placed over ltten’s color wheel to compare cool and warm values, complementary colors, and different hues and intensities, this useful and innovative tool helps designers explore a myriad of harmonious color.

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17 .) The Luscher Color Test by Max Luscher

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Writer 2001

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16 .) The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts by M. E. Chevreul and Faber Birren

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Writer 2001

This masterwork by the renowned 19th century scientist and authority on color is unquestionably one of the greatest books ever written on color.

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15 .) Transparent Watercolor Wheel by Jim Kosvanek

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Nita Leland

All watercolor artists yearn for clean, luminous color in their work, but their hopes are often dashed when they experience the frustration of muddy color. Imagine nearing the end of a painting that’s been coming along beautifully and suddenly finding that the last wash you put down turned out murky, ruining everything. How could you have known that would happen? Jim Kosvanec provides the solution to this baffling obstacle – a logical system that takes the guesswork out of color mixing and leads to predictably clean color combinations every time. The Kosvanec Transparent Watercolor Wheel, included here as a special foldout that can be detached from the book and hung on a studio wall for reference, organizes watercolor pigments into groups based not just on color relationships, like a standard color wheel, but on their specific physical characteristics. There are five groups: transparent non-staining colors, semitransparent nonstaining colors, transparent staining colors, semi-opaque and opaque colors, and whitened and blackened colors (colors that contain some white or black in their makeup). Accompanying the wheel are easy-to-follow guidelines (handily duplicated in chart form on the foldout) that explain how the various color groups interrelate, with specific mixing results. What happens, for example, if you combine a transparent staining color like phthalo blue, with an opaque color, like cadmium red? You get a very dull result. How about if you glaze five different transparent nonstaining colors over one another? You get a result that’s still luminous and transparent. Predicting outcomes like these is what the Kosvanec Transparent Watercolor Wheel and guidelines are all about.Kosvanec backs up his color mixing system with examples from each color grouping. To show how the system applies to real painting situations, he includes detailed step-by-step demonstrations of several of his own works, plus in-depth analyses of a dozen beautiful paintings

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14 .) Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers by Linda Holtzschue

Lists It Appears On:

  • Worqx
  • Thinkful

Understanding Color is an essential resource for those needing to become proficient in color for business applications. The peerless treatment of this critical subject is beautifully illustrated with real-world examples. Designers have turned to this guide for nearly a generation for its authoritative and accessible instruction.

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13 .) Confident Color: An Artist’s Guide To Harmony, Contrast And Unity by Nita Leland

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Nita Leland
  • Goodreads

Color is what you make it: sensitive, explosive, dreamlike, atmospheric, somber, cheerful. Nita Leland brings logic and intuition together to create a foundation for color selections that allow you to be more inventive, break out of old habits and experiment with new colors. Her approach eliminates time-wasting trial and error while giving you the freedom to use color in personal, meaningful and exciting ways.

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12 .) Dimensional Color by Lois Swirnoff

Lists It Appears On:

  • Harding
  • Nita Leland
  • Worqx

“To the basic grammar of color and form presented in the first edition of Dimensional Color, Lois Swirnoff adds a chapter on color structure and expands one on color and light.
Exploring the interaction between light, color, and surfaces, the book provides an invaluable tool for the teaching and practice of color in architecture and design.”

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11 .) Pantone: The 20th Century in Color by Leatrice Eiseman

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Print Mag
  • Goodreads

Pantone, the worldwide color authority, invites you on a rich visual tour of 100 transformative years. From the Pale Gold (15-0927 TPX) and Almost Mauve (12-2103 TPX) of the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris to the Rust (18-1248 TPX) and Midnight Navy (19-4110 TPX) of the countdown to the Millennium, the 20th century brimmed with color. Longtime Pantone collaborators and color gurus Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker identify more than 200 touchstone works of art, products, d cor, and fashion, and carefully match them with 80 different official PANTONE color palettes to reveal the trends, radical shifts, and resurgences of various hues. This vibrant volume takes the social temperature of our recent history with the panache that is uniquely Pantone.

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10 .) The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, & Violet by Joann Eckstut

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Thinkful
  • Breed

“Why is the sky blue, the grass green, a rose red? Most of us have no idea how to answer these questions, nor are we aware that color pervades nearly all aspects of life, from the subatomic realm and the natural world to human culture and psychology.

Organized into chapters that begin with a fascinating explanation of the physics and chemistry of color, The Secret Language of Color travels from outer space to Earth, from plants to animals to humans. In these chapters we learn about how and why we see color, the nature of rainbows, animals with color vision far superior and far inferior to our own, how our language influences the colors we see, and much more. Between these chapters, authors Joann Eckstut and Ariele Eckstut turn their attention to the individual hues of the visible spectrum?red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet?presenting each in fascinating, in-depth detail.”

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9 .) Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color by Philip Ball

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Goodreads
  • Nita Leland
  • About

From Egyptian wall paintings to the Venetian Renaissance, impressionism to digital images, Philip Ball tells the fascinating story of how art, chemistry, and technology have interacted throughout the ages to render the gorgeous hues we admire on our walls and in our museums.

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8 .) Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction by John Gage

Lists It Appears On:

  • Hub Pages
  • Harding
  • Goodreads
  • Nita Leland

“Color is fundamental to life and art yet so diverse that it has seldom been studied in a comprehensive way. This ground-breaking analysis of color in Western culture from the ancient Greeks to the late twentieth century is a John Gage triumph. With originality and erudition, he describes the first theories of color articulated by philosophers from Democritus to Aristotle and the subsequent attempts by the Romans and their Renaissance disciples to organize color systematically or endow it with symbolic power. The place of color in religion, Newton’s analysis of the spectrum, Goethe’s color theory, and the theories and practices that have attempted to unite color and music are among the intriguing topics this award-winning book illuminates.

With a large classified bibliography, discursive footnotes, and an exhaustive index, Color and Culture is an invaluable resource for artists, historians of art and culture, psychologists, linguists, and anyone fascinated by this most inescapable and evocative element of our perceptions.”

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7 .) Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney

Lists It Appears On:

  • Noah Bradley
  • Breed
  • Hub Pages
  • Goodreads

“From New York Times best-selling author of the Dinotopia series, James Gurney, comes a carefully crafted and researched study on color and light in paintings. This art instruction book will accompany the acclaimed Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist.

James Gurney, New York Times best-selling author and artist of the Dinotopia series, follows Imaginative Realism with his second art-instruction book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. A researched study on two of art’s most fundamental themes, Color and Light bridges the gap between abstract theory and practical knowledge. Beginning with a survey of underappreciated masters who perfected the use of color and light, the book examines how light reveals form, the properties of color and pigments, and the wide variety of atmospheric effects. Gurney cuts though the confusing and contradictory dogma about color, testing it in the light of science and observation. A glossary, pigment index, and bibliography complete what will ultimately become an indispensible tool for any artist.”

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6 .) Color by Betty Edwards: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors by Betty Edwards

Lists It Appears On:

  • Breed
  • Hub Pages
  • Harding
  • Goodreads

“Millions of people have learned to draw using the methods of Dr. Betty Edwards’s bestseller The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Now, much as artists progress from drawing to painting, Edwards moves from black-and-white into color. This much-awaited new guide distills the enormous existing knowledge about color theory into a practical method of working with color to produce harmonious combinations.

Using techniques tested and honed in her five-day intensive color workshops, Edwards provides a basic understanding of how to see color, how to use it, and-for those involved in art, painting, or design-how to mix and combine hues. “

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5 .) The Art of Color: The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color by Johannes Itten

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Worqx
  • Writer 2001
  • Goodreads

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4 .) Color and Meaning: Art, Science and Symbolism by John Gage

Lists It Appears On:

  • Nita Leland
  • Worqx
  • Harding
  • Thinkful
  • Goodreads

“Is color just a physiological reaction, a sensation resulting from different wave lengths of light on receptors in our eyes? Does color have an effect on our feelings? The phenomenon of color is examined in extraordinary new ways in John Gage’s latest book. His pioneering study is informed by the conviction that color is a contingent, historical occurrence whose meaning, like language, lies in the particular contexts in which it is experienced and interpreted.

Gage covers topics as diverse as the optical mixing techniques implicit in mosaic; medieval color-symbolism; the equipment of the manuscript illuminator’s workshop, the color languages and color practices of Latin America at the time of the Spanish Conquest; the earliest history of the prism; and the color ideas of Goethe and Runge, Blake and Turner, Seurat and Matisse.”

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3 .) The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten Based on His Book the Art of Color by Johannes Itten

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Breed
  • Hub Pages
  • Worqx
  • Writer 2001

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2 .) Theory of Colours by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Lists It Appears On:

  • Designers & Nooks
  • Nita Leland
  • Worqx
  • Hub Pages
  • Goodreads

Theory of Colours is a book by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the poet’s views on the nature of colours and how these are perceived by humans. Published in 1810, it contains detailed descriptions of phenomena such as coloured shadows, refraction, and chromatic aberration. The work originated in Goethe’s occupation with painting and mainly exerted an influence onto the arts (Philipp Otto Runge, J. M. W. Turner, the Pre-Raphaelites, Wassily Kandinsky). Although Goethe’s work was rejected by physicists, a number of philosophers and physicists have concerned themselves with it, including Thomas Johann Seebeck, Arthur Schopenhauer (see: On Vision and Colors), Hermann von Helmholtz, Rudolf Steiner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Godel, and Mitchell Feigenbaum. Goethe’s book provides a catalogue of how colour is perceived in a wide variety of circumstances, and considers Isaac Newton’s observations to be special cases. Unlike Newton, Goethe’s concern was not so much with the analytic treatment of colour, as with the qualities of how phenomena are perceived. Philosophers have come to understand the distinction between the optical spectrum, as observed by Newton, and the phenomenon of human colour perception as presented by Goethe—a subject analyzed at length by Wittgenstein in his exegesis of Goethe in Remarks on Colour.

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1 .) Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

Lists It Appears On:

  • Breed
  • Designers & Nooks
  • Goodreads
  • Harding
  • Hub Pages
  • Nita Leland
  • Print Mag
  • Worqx
  • Writer 2001

Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is a masterwork in art education. Conceived as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students, this influential book presents Albers’s singular explanation of complex color theory principles. Originally published by Yale University Press in 1963 as a limited silkscreen edition with 150 color plates, Interaction of Color first appeared in paperback in 1971, featuring ten color studies chosen by Albers, and has remained in print ever since. With over a quarter of a million copies sold in its various editions since 1963, Interaction of Color remains an essential resource on color, as pioneering today as when Albers first created it. Fifty years after Interaction’s initial publication, this new edition presents a significantly expanded selection of close to sixty color studies alongside Albers’s original text, demonstrating such principles as color relativity, intensity, and temperature; vibrating and vanishing boundaries; and the illusion of transparency and reversed grounds. A celebration of the longevity and unique authority of Albers’s contribution, this landmark edition will find new audiences in studios and classrooms around the world.

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The Remaining Best Books About Color



 

#BookAuthorLists
(Books Appear On 1 Lists Each)
502000 Color Combinations: For Graphic, Textile, and Craft Designers (Paperback)Garth LewisGoodreads
51A Color NotationAlbert MunsellNita Leland
52A Pocket Guide to Color, With Digital ApplicationsThomas SchildgenNita Leland
53Adaptive Coloration in AnimalsHugh CottThe Guardian
54Alla PrimaNoah Bradley
55Architectural Color: A Design Guide to Using Color on BuildingsTom PorterNita Leland
56Art & FearNoah Bradley
57Artist’s Color ManualAbout
58Artist’s Guide to Selecting ColorsMichael WilcoxNita Leland
59Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of Their History & CharacteristicsElisabeth W. FitzhughWriter 2001
60Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and EvolutionBrent Berlin and Paul KayWriter 2001
61Blue: The History of a Color (Hardcover)Michel PastoureauGoodreads
62Bluets (Paperback)Maggie NelsonGoodreads
63Business and Technological Dynamics in Newly Industrializing Asia (Hardcover)Wenlee TingGoodreads
64Capturing Radiant Color in OilsSusan SarbackNita Leland
65Color & Mastering For Digital CinemaJonnuelwyn
66Color + Design: Transforming Interior SpaceRonald L. ReedWorqx
67Color and Cloth : The Quiltmaker’s Ultimate Workbook Quilt Digest, 1995Mary PendersNita Leland
68Color and FiberPatricia LambertNita Leland
69Color and How to Use ItWilliam PowellNita Leland
70Color and Light in Oils Batsford, 1005Nicholas and Robin Capon VerrallNita Leland
71Color Bytes: Blending the Art and Science of ColorJean BourgesNita Leland
72Color Codes: Modern Theories of Color in Philosophy, Painting and Architecture, Literature, Music, and PsychologyCharles RileyNita Leland
73Color ConceptsNorth Light Shop
74Color Confidence for QuiltersJinny BeyersNita Leland
75Color Design Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design (Hardcover)Sean AdamsGoodreads
76Color Essentials: A Painter’s GuideNorth Light Shop
77Color Exercises for the PainterLucia SalemmeNita Leland
78Color Exercises for the WeaverPalmy WeigleNita Leland
79Color for Designers: Ninety-five things you need to know when choosing and using colors for layouts and illustrations (Creative Core)Jim KrauseGoodreads
80Color for ImpactJan V WhiteNita Leland
81Color for Interior ArchitectureMary C. MillerWorqx
82Color for Painters: A Guide to Traditions and PracticeAL GURYHub Pages
83Color for the Electronic AgeJan V WhiteNita Leland
84Color for the Watercolor PainterTom HillNita Leland
85Color Harmony 2Bride WhelanNita Leland
86Color Image ScaleShigenobu KobayashiNita Leland
87Color in Art: a tribute to Arthur Pope, James M. CarpenterWriter 2001
88Color in DecorationAnnie & Kate Gwynn SloanNita Leland
89Color in Interior Design and ArchitectureRobert LadauNita Leland
90Color in Sketching & RenderingArthur GuptillNita Leland
91Color Index (Vinyl)Jim KrauseGoodreads
92Color Magic for Quilters: Absolutely the Easiest, Most Successful Method for Choosing Colors and Fabrics to Create Quilts You’ll LoveAnn and Joyce Stewart SeelyNita Leland
93Color ManualStephen SidelingerNita Leland
94Color Me BeautifulCarole JacksonNita Leland
95Color Measurement, Themes and VariationsDavid L. MacAdamWriter 2001
96Color Mixing BibleAbout
97Color Mixing for ArtistsJohn LidzeyNita Leland
98Color Mixing the Van Wyk Way: A Manual for Oil PaintersHelen Van WykNita Leland
99Color ObservedEnid VerityNita Leland
100Color Structure and DesignRichard EllingerNita Leland
101Color Systems in Art and ScienceSilvestrini and FischerNita Leland
102Color Theory Made Easy: A New Approach to Color Theory and How to Apply It to Mixing PaintsJim AmesNita Leland
103Color Theory: For Oil and WatercolorNorth Light Shop
104Color WorkbookBecky KoenigNita Leland
105Color-by-Color Guide to WatercolorZoltan SzaboNita Leland
106Color, Form and SpaceFaber BirrenNita Leland
107Color: A Survey in Words and PicturesFaber BirrenNita Leland
108Color: A Visual History of Color from Its Ancient Beginnings to the Works of Modern MastersAlison ColeNita Leland
109Color: Essence and LogicRolf G KuehniNita Leland
110Color: How to See It, How to Paint ItJudy MartinNita Leland
111Color: Light, Sight, SenseMoritz ZwimpferNita Leland
112Color: Messages & Meanings: A Pantone Color Resource (Paperback)Leatrice EisemanGoodreads
113Color: Travels Through the PaintboxAbout
114Colorful IllusionsAki NurosiNita Leland
115ColorittoJ.C. LeBlonNita Leland
116Colors From Nature: Growing, Collecting and Using Natural DyesBobbi McRaeNita Leland
117Colors from the Earth, The Artist’s Guide to Collecting, Preparing, and Using ThemAnne Wall ThomaWriter 2001
118Colorstrology.Michele BernhardtNita Leland
119ColourRudolf SteinerNita Leland
120ColourHelen VarleyNita Leland
121Colour and Colour TheoriesDr. Christine Ladd-FranklinWriter 2001
122Colour Based on NatureIRMA BOOMDesigners & Nooks
123Colour Correction Handbook, 2nd EditionAlexis Van HurkmanJonnuelwyn
124Colour for the ArtistHans SchwarzNita Leland
125Colour in ArtAbout
126Colour: Art & ScienceTrevor LambNita Leland
127Colour: Why the World Isn’t GreyHazel RossottiNita Leland
128Controlled Painting: A sound approach to realistic painting in oil and acrylics,Frank CovinoWriter 2001
129Controlling Color: A Practical Introduction for Designers and Artists.Design, 1991Patricia LambertNita Leland
130Creative ColorFaber BirrenNita Leland
131Creative Painting Series: ColorGemma and Josep Asunción GuaschNita Leland
132DaVinci Resolve 10 ManualJonnuelwyn
133Design and Form: The Basic Course at the Bauhaus and Later, Revised EditionJOHANNES ITTENWorqx
134Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual (Paperback)Timothy SamaraGoodreads
135Designer’s Color ManualTom and Adam Banks FraserNita Leland
136Digital Colour for the Internet and Other MediaCAROLA ZWICKDesigners & Nooks
137Digital Colour for the Internet and Other Media (Paperback)Susanne StageGoodreads
138Dynasty of LightAlan Shijo McManus BurnerHarding
139Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten Based on His Book the Art of ColorJohannes IttenNita Leland
140Endless Forms: Charles Darwin and the Visual ArtsDiana Donald and Jane Munro (eds)The Guardian
141Energize Your Paintings With ColorLew LehrmanNita Leland
142Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity (Paperback)Vijay PrashadGoodreads
143Evolution in ColorFrans GerritsenNita Leland
144Exploring Color Coloring BookNita LelandNita Leland
145Exploring Color: How to Use and Control Color in Your PaintingNita LelandNita Leland
146Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked a Nation (Paperback)Kimberly Jade NorwoodGoodreads
147Figure Drawing for All It’s WorthNoah Bradley
148Guide to Watercolor PaintsHilary PageNita Leland
149Hawthorne on PaintingNoah Bradley
150Hilary Page’s Guide to Watercolor PaintsHub Pages
151Historical Color Guide: Primitive to Modern Times with Thirty Plates in ColorELIZABETH BURRIS-MEYERDesigners & Nooks
152How Pictures WorkNoah Bradley
153If you’re daring: InteractionJosef AlbersBreed
154Imaginative RealismNoah Bradley
155Impact of Modern PaintsCrook & LearnerNita Leland
156Interior DesignJohn PileWorqx
157Interpreting the Figure in WatercolorDon AndrewsNita Leland
158Invisible ManRalph EllisonThe Guardian
159Irma Boom – Colour Based On Nature (Paperback)Irma BoomGoodreads
160JazzHenri MatisseThe Guardian
161John Gage, Colour and Culture, Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to AbstractionThe Guardian
162Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic ColorsJONATHAN ADLERDesigners & Nooks
163Keys to Painting: Color and ValueRachel Rubin WolfNita Leland
164Light and Color in Nature and ArtWilliamson and CumminsNita Leland
165Light, Color and EnvironmentFaber BirrenNita Leland
166Lights and pigments : colour principles for artists,Roy OsborneWriter 2001
167Living Colors: The Definitive Guide to Color Palettes Through the AgesMargaret & Augustine Hope WalchNita Leland
168Look Book Creative Grading TechniquesAlexis Van HurkmanJonnuelwyn
169Looking Good in Color: The Desktop Publisher’s Design GuideGary PriesterNita Leland
170Mastering Color Cinn: North Light, 2006Vicky McMurryNita Leland
171Mastering Color: The essentials of color illustrated with oilsVicki MurryNita Leland
172MauveSimon GarfieldPrint Mag
173Messages from PsychePhilip HowseThe Guardian
174Modern ChromaticsOgden RoodNita Leland
175Mouse Paint (Board Book)Ellen Stoll WalshGoodreads
176Notan: The light-dark principle of designDorr BothwellWorqx
177Oil Painting Techniques and MaterialsNoah Bradley
178OptiksSir Isaac NewtonNita Leland
179Ostensibly There is ColourDemocritusThe Guardian
180Paint & Colors: What Every Artist Needs to KnowDavid PyleNita Leland
181Painting Color: Best of WatercolorBetty Lou SchlemmNita Leland
182Paints, Inks and Dyes: The Story of Colors at Work Holiday House, 1974Richard LyttleNita Leland
183Palette 01: Black & WhiteVICTION:ARYDesigners & Nooks
184Palette 02: MulticolourVICTION:ARYDesigners & Nooks
185Palette 03: Gold & SilverVICTION:ARYDesigners & Nooks
186Palette 04: NeonVICTION:ARYDesigners & Nooks
187Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color (Paperback)Leatrice EisemanGoodreads
188Patchwork Persuasion- Print on Demand Edition (Paperback)Joen WolfromGoodreads
189PowerColorCaroline JasperNita Leland
190Primary Sources: Selected Writings on Color From Aristotle to Albers.Design, 1991Patricia SloaneNita Leland
191Principles of Color Design, 2nd edWucius WongNita Leland
192Principles of Color TechnologyFred and Max Saltzman BilmeyerNita Leland
193Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the ArtsM ChevreulNita Leland
194Real World Color ManagementBruce FraserNita Leland
195Seven Deadly Colours: The Genius Of Nature’s Palette And How It Eluded Darwin (Unknown Binding)Andrew ParkerGoodreads
196The Ancient Art of Color Therapy: Updated, Including Gem Therapy, Auras, and Amulets ,Linda ClarkWriter 2001
197The Art & Technique of Digital Color CorrectionSteve HullfishJonnuelwyn
198The Art of Color and DesignMaitland GravesNita Leland
199The Art SpiritNoah Bradley
200The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and TechniquesRalph MayerNita Leland
201The Artist’s Illustrated Encylopedia: Techniques, Materials & TermsPhil MetzgerNita Leland
202The Color BookWendon BlakeNita Leland
203The Color CompendiumAugustine HopeNita Leland
204The Colour EyeCumming and PorterNita Leland
205The Complete Book of Color: Using Color for Lifestyle, Health and Well-BeingSuzy ChiazzariNita Leland
206The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (Hardcover)Vijay PrashadGoodreads
207The Enjoyment and Use of ColorWalter SargentNita Leland
208The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques (Hardcover)Margaret RadcliffeGoodreads
209The Forms of Color: The Interaction Of Visual ElementsKarl GerstnerNita Leland
210The Garden Color BookPaul WilliamsNita Leland
211The Horse’s MouthJoyce CaryThe Guardian
212The Karma Of Brown Folk (Paperback)Vijay PrashadGoodreads
213The Materials and Techniques of Painting, with a Supplement on Color Theory,Kurt WehlteWriter 2001
214The New Dyer With Colorcue Hue Analysis AideSally VinrootNita Leland
215The New Munsell Student Color Set, 3rd EditionJim LongWorqx
216The Organization of ColorRichard Gordon EllingerHarding
217The Practice and Science of DrawingNoah Bradley
218The Primary Colors: Three EssaysAlexander TherouxNita Leland
219The Principles of Light and Color.Edwin S BabbittNita Leland
220The Psychology of Color and DesignDeborah SharpeNita Leland
221The Spirit of Colors: The Art of Karl GerstnerKarl GerstnerNita Leland
222The Symbolism of ColorFaber BirrenNita Leland
223The Venetian VespersAnthony HechtThe Guardian
224The Visual Nature of ColorPatricia SloaneNita Leland
225The Watercolorist’s Complete Guide to ColorTom HillNita Leland
226The White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States (Paperback)Winthrop D. JordanGoodreads
227Theory and Practice of Color: A Color Theory Based On the Laws of PerceptionFrans GerritsenNita Leland
228Theory and Use of ColorLuigina De GrandisNita Leland
229Tricia Guild: Colour DeconstructedTRICIA GUILDDesigners & Nooks
230Tricia Guild: Decorating with ColorTRICIA GUILDDesigners & Nooks
231VowelsRimbaudThe Guardian
232Watercolor Artist’s Guide to Exceptional ColorHub Pages
233Watercolor Mixing: the 12-hue MethodChristopher WillardNita Leland
234Watercolor Secrets International Artist, 2000Tom LynchNita Leland
235Watercolorist’s Guide to Mixing ColorsJenny RodwellNita Leland
236Weaving & Needlework Color CourseWilliam & Doris JustemaNita Leland
237What Is a Color? (Hardcover)Martin ProvensenGoodreads
238White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Paperback)Winthrop D. JordanGoodreads
239Working With Color: A Manual for PaintersIrving KriesbergNita Leland


The Best Color Theory Book Lists



SourceArticle
About Top 7 Books on Color (and Color Mixing) for Artists
Breed 6 Books That Will Help You Understand Color Theory
Designers & Nooks 21 Books on Color and Design
Goodreads Popular Color Theory Books
Harding Color Books
Hub Pages The Best Art Books – Colour
Jonnuelwyn 5 Books on Colour Grading And Colour Science
Nita Leland Nita Leland’s Color & Color Theory Book List
Noah Bradley 10 Books Every Artist Must Read
North Light Shop These are our Most Popular Books on Color Theory & Color Mixing
Print Mag 7 Books About Color Every Designer (and Color Fan) Should Own
The Guardian Peter Forbes’s top 10 books on colour
Thinkful Color Theory Basics
Worqx BOOKS ABOUT COLOR & COLOR THEORY
Writer 2001 Colour Theory