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  • Writer's pictureLucy Fleming

Colour Planning

Designing the colour palette for an illustration is something I can be very indecisive with.

I always have a visual in mind when I create a sample illustration. But sometimes the image in my mind looks very different when I put the colours onto the page. So creating quick colour tests allows me to see in a matter of moments whether my palette will be successful, rather than reaching the end of hours of painting only to find myself disappointed by the colours. It also allows me to stop, step back and ask questions, for example, is my character blending into the background? Can I see clearly what is happening here?

For this illustration I was unsure whether to set the scene in the blackest of nights or in a bright lilac night. I chose a light colour for a night sky in the end. I found the colours to be more peaceful somehow, and it was the first time I'd done a starry sky that wasn't as dark, so It was a new challenge.

I'm not an expert in colour choices, It's one of the things which stumps me from time to time, and often takes more work than I'd care to admit. But that trial and error and stumbling is all a part of creativity. And as much as we'd like it to be, often times creating our artwork is more of a windy road than a clear straight line from A to B.



Blobbing our colour palette on a separate canvas is a great place to start to build a palette objectively (taking the composition out of the equation) and really looking at the colours together and whether they go well together, contrast or feel harmonised. It's the best place to start for many.


But, sometimes it can be hard to translate that to our image and we have to assess how much we want of one colour to dominate a piece.


Creating colour thumbnails can be a good stepping stone to help us see our colours in action on a specific piece of artwork.






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