How To Create Color Palettes

Planning a color scheme for an artwork is an effective way to achieve visual cohesion and intent in your artwork. Color schemes are an effective way of establishing a mood in a painting, as well as creating visual contrast and textures.

There are many ways to collect ideas for color schemes and apply them to your creative process. Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Lauryn Welch lead this discussion.

Video Walkthrough

  • Color schemes are a way to make a composition more cohesive.
  • Does a color scheme need to be planned in advance? (Lauryn does!)
  • Color schemes are a very effective means to show mood in artwork.
  • Often color schemes are not considered enough.
  • Picasso’s Blue Period & Rose Period.
  • Limited palettes are a good place to get started with color schemes.
  • Every color is affected by the colors around them, don’t look at colors in isolation.
  • There is no such thing as the “correct blue” mixture.
  • Colors are about relationships, how do they work together as a group?
  • Collage is a really great way to collect color schemes.
  • Don’t limit yourself to just artwork when look at colors, it’s everywhere!
  • Lauryn’s process for creating color schemes.
  • Lauryn puts an artwork into Photoshop and uses the eye dropper tool to create a palette of 4-6 swatches of color.
  • Color grading is used frequently in movies to make the image more cohesive.
  • Lauryn’s “clown vomit” paintings.
  • Think about color holistically.
  • Color can be intimidating.
  • Movies are a great way to get started learning and seeing color schemes.
  • Taking stills from movie trailers is a way to get to know color.


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