I made this illustration during my "30 days color challenge" and specifically with this one I wanted to demonstrate some simple methods to make your colors look better. This method works to fix most of the problems with amateur color choices. Starting with random colors I unified them with desaturation and overlay\multiply\color dodge modes for different colors on top.
In ideal world, artists start their work with just two colors: one color for the shadow, one for the light and maybe a subtle gradient for the mood. Then they add more colors very carefully, to create unified and balanced look. I basically repeat the same traditional approach with two mono-colors underpainting, but backwards, unifying the palette with overlays of solid colors on top. All of it is just about one thing: unity.
9 Steps To Improve Your Coloring!
1) Use random colors
2) DESATURATE THEM (makes your colors look 20% more realistic and professional, right?)
3) Choose one shadow color to unify the picture
4) Use Multiply or Overlay mode for your shadows layer
5) Do the same for the light: choose one light color
6) Use Overlay or Color Dodge mode with 20% transparency for the light layer
7) Create a Gradient with colors that you think fit the mood
8) Make an Overlay out of the Gradient to unify the colors on the picture
9) Add some highlights, dust, smoke or reflections and it's done.
There are some other methods, like limited color palette, references, working with two colors etc. I will write about them next time, while you can try this method to fix some of the most common problems.