Alice in Wonderland: Color Theory
by Lynn Byrne
By Lynn Byrne. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland opens Friday and I can’t wait to see it. I am entranced. The shapes, the colors, who cares about the story! I want to see the costumes, makeup and sets!
As some of these advance promotional still shots show, you can learn a lot about how colors interact by studying these photos. I even think they suggest some great room palettes.
First, compare these shots of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. When he is placed in front of a green background, which is the color near opposite his reddish-orange hair on a color wheel–known as the complement, the colors really pop.
In the next shot, in front of a charcoal gray background, he looks much more subdued, with more coppery tones. The gray takes the chroma (or brightness of a hue) down a bit. Mmm, charcoal gray and copper–could be a yummy combination in a room.I think part of the magic of the movie will come from how the colors are constantly changing. Here Depp is surrounded by harmonious colors, in other words, colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Like the grayed out shot above, this photo is calmer than the first shot of Depp.
Here Alice is in West Elm’s favorite palette for spring: gray, white and yellowish-gold (her hair). When Anne Hathaway makes an appearance, we get a lesson on how to do neutrals: white, brown and black. Various shades and textures, and a hint of metallic (the necklace) keep it all very interesting.
In the next picture, the turquoise is more mysterious and subtler because it is surrounded by gray and the harmonious greenish-bluish shades in the background. Still those teeth are scary looking to me. Denise wants to take Q, but I am worried that she will be frightened.
This is going to be a fascinating movie.
All photos are linked to their sources.