Friday, June 10, 2011

How do you pick out your pallet?

by Aidana WillowRaven

You have a new project. Great! Now what? Myself, I start doodling with my colored pencils, but I have a bad habit of trying to use every color ... lol. So, I try to use color schemes in order to reign in that tendency, so I don't end up with a mess. A pallet that's too broad can distress and distract the viewer.

When deciding your pallet, which I hope you do at the very start of a new project, isn't as easy as one may think. A lot depends on your audience and subject matter.

Analogous colors are any set of three or five colors, that are closely related in hue(s), and are usually adjacent (next) to each other on the color wheel. Some examples are green, yellow green, and yellow or red, orange and yellow. Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are pleasing to the eye. The combination of these colors give a bright and cheery effect in the area, and are able to accommodate many changing moods. When using the analogous color scheme, one should make sure there is one hue as the main color.

Color schemes are used to create style, mood, clarity and appeal. A basic color scheme will use two colors that look appealing together, while more advanced color schemes involve several colors, usually based around a single color.

In the following example, the pallet is very analogous. If you compare it to the color wheel, and draw a diagonal line running from the red to the green, you can see the upper left side of the pallet was used. It also happens to be a warm color scheme, which I'll go over warm and cool color schemes. It just fit the theme.

an example of an analogous color scheme

A monochromatic color scheme is made of different values (tints and shades) of one color. This color scheme is easy to get right and can be very effective, soothing and assertive. They do, however, lack the diversity.

The next example was done in varying shades of the same color of blue. I wanted moodiness here, too, but a cooler mood was wanted. Do you see how color affects a scene? Would it feel different if I had used a full pallet?

an example of monochromatic

 We'll go over more pallet options in future posts.

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4RV Publishing


  1. Thanks for the article. Color is so important as it dictates not only mood but time and place. Your examples show this perfectly.

  2. Another post that helps us all learn more about what goes into art and illustrations. Thanks, Aidana.


  3. I'd love to see an example of one that violates this rule and see how it compares to the ones above. I think that would be instructive.