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Marking Color Guide

Black | Dark Overlay | Darker-than-Base | Light | Lighter or Darker | White | Modifier | Other | FAQ

Having trouble figuring out what color your markings should be, or which markings should be lighter or darker than other markings? This in-depth guide gets into the nitty-gritty of marking colors.

Important Vocabulary

  1. Hue: Another word for color. In art programs with a Hue slider, you use this slider to choose which color family (for example, red, yellow, green, etc.) you want to use.
  2. Saturation: The strength or vibrance of a color. On one end of the saturation spectrum is the full color (for example, bright red) and on other end is a fully desaturated color (for example, grey), with a range of greyish-reds in between.
  3. Value: The brightness or darkness of a color, usually represented in art programs on a scale from black to white. If you have a saturated red color, the value options would be a spectrum from fully bright red to red-tinted black.
  4. Color Modifiers: Markings that change the hue of a design. This includes Lilac, Rose, and Moss.

There are currently seven main categories of marking colors, each interacting with the base coat and other markings differently.

➥ Back to the Design Guide Handbook

Black


Always black unless modifiers are present



Color


If you don't have PaintTool SAI Version 1, don't like to use numbers, or have trouble seeing the differences between dark colors, please use the below swatches. The swatches are here for your convenience. The left side of the swatches show the darkest black while the right sides show the lightest black.

If you have SAI 1 and like numbers: Using PaintTool SAI Version 1, in V-HSV color mode, all Black Markings must be between 1 and 18 Value. They should not be saturated on their own, but areas where Black Markings blend with saturated base coats or other markings often tend to color pick with some saturation, which is okay.
Note: Lineart must always be darker than the Tokota, so be careful when using very dark Black Marking colors, and make sure your lines are always darker!

Unmodified


All Black Markings need to appear generally black at first glance, which can range from nearly pitch black to very dark grey. There are certain circumstances in which one Black Marking may optionally be darker than another Black Marking (see Black Marking Interactions below). In these cases, the lighter Black Marking can be a very dark grey (shown at right end of below swatch).

Above: Suggested color swatch for Black Markings (without Modifers)

Modified by Color Modifiers


Lilac, Rose, and Moss may optionally tint Black Markings, giving them a subtle blue/purple, pink/red, or green hue without lightening them.
Saturation of tinted Black Markings should generally match the saturation of the base coat.
When Cream and/or Dun are present in addition to a Color Modifier, Black Markings may become tinted and lightened. If you do choose to lighten Black Markings with Cream or Dun, tinting them to match the hue of the Color Modified base coat becomes required, as Cream/Dun Black Markings act like Dark Overlay Markings (see below).

Above: Suggested color swatches for Lilac, Rose, and Moss Black Markings (not lightened by Cream or Dun)

Modified by Dun and/or Cream


Black Markings may optionally be affected by Dun and/or Cream when they are present. They may remain black if desired.
Dun may saturate and slightly lighten Black Markings.
Cream may saturate and significantly lighten Black Markings.

Black Marking Interactions


All Black Markings (unless modified by Dun or Cream) must be darker than or the same color as markings from any other category.
Example: Marked, Shadowmarks, Collar, and Blanket may optionally be the same color, or Marked and Shadowmarks can be darker than Collar and Blanket. However, Collar and Blanket could never be darker than (unmodified) Marked or Shadowmarks.
Exception: Markings that sit on top of Obsidian Markings may be darker than Obsidian Markings (ie. Flecking on Obsidian Piebald)

Above: Flecking may optionally sit on top of Obsidian Piebald, and may be darker than Obsidian markings in this instance.

If a design has multiple Black Markings, they may be all the same color, or may optionally be slightly different colors. However, there are specific rules about which Black Markings may be darker or lighter than each other, if you choose to use different colors.
Obsidian Markings will always be darker than or the same color as other Black Markings.
  1. Obsidian Markings will always be darker than or the same color as other Black Markings.
  2. Marked and Extended Marked will always be darker than or the same color as Shadowmarks, Extended Shadowmarks, Marbled, or [redacted], and lighter than or the same color as Obsidian Markings.
  3. Shadowmarks, Extended Shadowmarks, Marbled, and [redacted] may be lighter than, darker than, or the same color as each other, but whenever one marking is sitting on top of another, the one on top will be darker. These markings will always be lighter than or the same color as Obsidian Markings, Marked, or Extended Marked.


Notes & Exceptions:
  • Markings that sit on top of Obsidian Markings may be darker than Obsidian Markings (ie. Flecking on Obsidian Piebald)
  • Black Markings may optionally be very lightly visible on Albino Tokotas

Dark Overlay


Always darker than anything they cover, but not necessarily darker than base coat


Cream Black Markings
Dun Black Markings
Sable
Flecking
Dun
Thylacine
Barring
[redacted]
[redacted]


For example, Flecking that sits on top of the base coat must be darker than the base coat. Flecking that sits on top of cream-colored Accents on a brown Tokota must be darker than the Accents, but may be lighter than the base coat. This means that the marking may be multiple colors throughout one design, based on what colors the marking is sitting on top of.

Markings in this category may be lighter or darker than each other, but whichever marking is sitting on top of the other will be darker.

Notes & Exceptions:
  • Dun minimal stripe along the back must sit above nearly all other Lower Markings (exceptions: Roan, Lacing, Marked, Thylacine), and therefore must be darker than them

Darker-than-Base


Always darker than base coat, but not necessarily darker than markings they cover




Markings in this category may be lighter or darker than each other, with the exception of Saddle which must always be darker than Blanket if they are both present.

Notes & Exceptions:
  • Saddle must be above and darker than Blanket when both markings are present

Light


Always lighter than what they cover



Markings in this category may be lighter or darker than each other, but whichever marking is sitting on top of the other will be lighter. Pangare is an exception, as it must be darker than or the same color as Accents.

Notes & Exceptions:
  • Pangare must be darker than or the same color as Accents
  • Pangare, Accents, and Wolverine must be both lighter than the base coat and anything they cover
  • Dapple, Starmarks, Lacing, and Roan must be lighter than what they cover, but do not necessarily have to be lighter than the base coat

Ligher or Darker


May be lighter or darker than what they cover



These markings may be lighter or darker than the base coat or any markings they cover. They can have gradients but all colors within the gradients must stay either lighter than or darker than anything the markings cover.

White


Always white



These markings are always white or off-white, and must always be lighter than or the same color as anything they cover. Piebald (and variants), Vitiligo, and Minimal White must always be the same color as each other throughout the design. Restricted Seal may be the same color as other white markings or may optionally be a slightly darker Seal base color.

Notes & Exceptions:
  • Restricted Seal may optionally be white or use the Seal base swatches, which are slightly more off-white than Piebald and Vitiligo
  • Restricted Seal may include Seal base nuances, which are creamy yellow-brown
  • All White Markings may have subtle flesh-toned nuances where fur is less thick, including paws, snout, around eyes, ears, groin

Modifier


Change the color of the design without making anything lighter or darker



Color modifiers (Lilac, Rose, Moss) change the hue of the design without affecting the value. Grey changes the saturation of the design without affecting the value. Cream lightens the base coat and optionally lightens and saturates Black Markings.

Other


Markings that don’t fit into other categories


Restricted Grey
  • Changes the saturation and value, creating lighter grey areas

Seal
  • White or off-white Seal base and Grease Marks that are affected by modifiers

Points
Creeping Points
  • Use specific swatches

FAQ

  • Who knows!
    • :ha: