Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Thoughts on Color

Some times the hardest stage of pattern making (and picture making) is picking out your colors. We want good contrast, we want a lot of variation and interest, but we also want it all go together. Sometimes i choose out colors and i feel like I'm either too bland and predictable or drowning in a rainbow of sensory overload.
I find that the best way to get inspiration and make good color choices is to seek out good reference.
Palette hunting can be quite fun and i am often surprised how well certain color combination can work. You can find these palettes anywhere: advertisements, photos from interior decorating magazines, fine art paintings and design books, and even photos of nature.
My favorite place for reference is COLOURlovers This community allows users to create their own palettes and colors and upload them for all to see. You can even import a picture or painting you like and extract the main colors from it.
I made the palette below by extracting colors from this picture:

Color by COLOURlovers

The colors are mostly monochromatic and have a nice warm feel to them. I also could of pulled out some of the subtle greens and pinks from this picture, the options are limitless. But it only took me a few minutes to put this palette together, if you had just handed me a color wheel with a million options and said go for it i would be at it for hours and probably wouldn't of come up with something this nice.
Now the hard part is finding these colors in floss form or mixing them yourself with paint.

Here are some tops palettes right now:
Color by COLOURlovers

Color by COLOURlovers

I even used this site to help me pick out my wedding colors.
Color by COLOURlovers


  1. ...heading over to!!! that is an amazing website and worthy of a bookmark, thanks!

  2. Wow - I never heard of that website. thanks so much for sharing it. I tend to paint in a sepai based palette, because that is just what I happen to be into right now (an old world style) but that palette making abikity will definitly come in handy as I work to expand my Etsy shop to attract a wider customer base. Color is so important in a buyer's decision to purchase or not.

  3. Im glad you guys like it, its such a neat site and so few artists have heard of it!

  4. I've never heard of ColourLovers. Have you tried

  5. That site is a good alternative. Both are so similar to eachother that it is kinda strange actually.