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As I see it, shading and highlighting can be understood in terms of three things. One is grayscale, how light or dark the color for shades and highlights -- or, in TV/computer-monitor terms, the contrast between colors. Another is color selection, which colors to use for highlighting and shading a given base color. A third is technique, namely how to use tools and materials to place the right colors, with the right contrast, onto a miniature. That's how I'm organizing my understanding right now.
My question is about the second part, namely color selection. Apparently I have an OK eye for greyscale because I think my light/dark contrasts are OK. But my eye for color is worse, because the darks' and lights' colors are not always right for the base coat.
How do you achieve the right color selection for highlighting and shadows? Color theory doesn't seem to help me much. All I've managed to come up with on that score is generic advice such as "use contrasting colors" to shade.
What I've come up with so far is to use deeper (darker) shades of the same color, but to keep colors the same in terms of coolness or warmth. I notice that some greys are cool (blueish) greys, while others are warm (brownish) greys. I notice the same thing with other colors – some deep reds have a brown tinge, others have a purple tinge.
So I'm looking at whether my base color is cool or warm and then looking for shading and highlighting colors that are cool or warm like the base color.
Any critique, or further advice, would be very helpful. BTW, I know there are pre-selected highlights by Foundry and others, and lists of triads developed by other painters. I don't want to re-debate my choice of commercial craft paints over specialized miniatures paints. While the lists for craft paints are very helpful, I'm trying to understand the thinking that goes into selecting the triads in the first place so that I can apply them to my own mixes or unusual colors.
Thanks for your time!