Finding a Colour Palette

The thing about art I have discovered over the years is the importance of colour. I am sure I have mentioned this before… you can have a technically sound line drawing, but if your colours are off, your piece of art will falter. 

Establishing your colour palette before you start a work of art is vital to the outcome. A piece of art will also be more dynamic if you limit your colour palette. Too many colours can visually compete with each other. 

This advise goes with any kind of collection you are creating. Besides subject matter, your colour palette is the key to finding cohesion in a collection whether it be a collection of instagram posts or a collection of paintings. 

Also, premixing your colours before you begin a painting will open you up to new colour directions instead of depending on the colours straight from the tube. 

Here are some suggestions on how to find an inspiring colour palette

1. Books

There are a lot of great books out there that illustrate colour palettes. One example is “The Color Scheme Bible – Inspirational Palettes for Designing Home Interiors” by Anna Starmer. Written from an interior design perspective, this book can be used for all kinds of art creations and has a book full of different palettes broken down into the main colours of the rainbow. It is a great resource.

2. Paint Chips

Why not spend a bit of time in the paint department of Home Depot looking for colour palettes? Or explore the websites for paint manufactures like Sherwin Williams. Even if your project does not involve painting a house, there are lots of brochures in amongst the paint chips that have curated colour palettes. These can be a great resource for establishing a coordinated colour palette in other creative projects.

3. Photographs

I, personally, use photographs to find colour palettes I love. You can use royalty free stock photos for free from website such as Once downloaded, photos can be brought into Photoshop or Illustrator, where you can use the eyedropper tool to collect the exact colour seen in the photograph. Or, if you have a keen eye for colour, you can use the eyedropper tool to pull colours from your own photos.

4. Adobe Capture

Speaking of pulling colours from your own photos… have your used Adobe Capture yet? I just recently discovered this fun app which allows you to pull colour palettes from all around you. It uses your phone’s camera as it’s view and allows you to pick colours by tapping the screen and saving them to your Creative Cloud libraries. Be aware, this can be quite addictive.

For a well-rounded colour selection, don’t forget to add a variation of tones, values and colour saturation to your colour palette. A little bit of pre-planning your palette will go a long way in helping you achieve your desired outcome for your project.  

To go more in-depth in learning about colour theory, be sure to read my blog series on colour . I have gathered a wealth of information on colour and I hope it will help you find your perfect colour palette.