Choosing A Colour Palette

Choosing a colour palette as an artist is sometimes the most difficult part of creating. You may have a concept in your head, but until you start deciding the specific colours in the material of your choice, it cannot come to life.

I enjoy working with different materials, including acrylic paints, water colour paints, and marker pens. These are materials that I wanted to explore the use of, and the diversity of their properties. When drawing vehicles, I drew from a design and image that I had previously chosen. They often went to plan, the yellows highlighting areas, with layered greys to create shadows. The Jeep is one vehicle that did not go as expected, despite choosing the colour palette carefully. Layering the browns, neutrals, and greys, created a murkiness that portrayed mud, a use of the vehicle. Perhaps it was not the intended palette, but it was effective.

This is one lesson in choosing a colour palette – even if it is not the intended effect, or the intended finished piece, you will still create a piece of artwork that you should be proud of.

Over the past year, I have mostly experimented with abstract pieces of artwork. Abstract pieces can sometimes be the most challenging to choose a colour palette for, as different colours convey something new for everyone. On top of this, if you wish to create a series, you need to determine what you wish for the series to convey.

During August, I started designing my Christmas collection. I wanted to keep my leafy designs from the collection I grew during Project 365, as well as abstract shapes and regular triangles. Colour combinations here were important to consider. When choosing the colour palette here, I wanted to stay along the traditional Christmas colours of red, green, and white, but also adding a little something extra with dark blue, light blue, and pink. These six colours have been popular in the past few years in retail outlets. The sale of these is something that I had to consider, to ensure that these were something that people wanted to purchase.

Using Posca Pens, the designs came to life on these tester pages. Using these pages, I was able to identify the designs that I wanted to proceed with. Tester pages are not always necessary, but they can provide assistance with a bigger project.

Using the same colours in varying shapes can change the palette style. The double page sketchbook spread uses the same colour palette spread over four different designs. The layering and the spacing between each of these gives a different display of texture and relationship. The third lesson I have had when choosing colour palettes is that they can always be adapted. The nature of what you create can affect the colour palette of your choice, as much as the colour palette can affect the piece that you create.

There is no right or wrong when choosing a colour palette for your piece of art. If you are unsure, you can try different things and experiment widely. During this experimentation, you may find something else that you want to explore further. Or something that you want to keep.

It’s all about finding the balance.

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