Why You Should Be Using A Limited Color Palette
Achieve balance and harmony in your coloring pages by using a limited color palette.
By Thea Voutiritsas
Sorting through the whirlwind of wild colors and endless options presented by your marker and pencil collection can be daunting. What colors go together? What if they end up looking terrible?!
Choosing to stick to a limited color palette is a great way to guarantee a beautiful, harmonious coloring page. Selecting just a few colors that work well together will help keep your pages feeling balanced and not overdone. So how do you choose the right colors? Here are our favorite tips on how to get started:
Tips for Creating Adult Coloring Pages with Fewer Hues
1. Challenge yourself to use one hue.
Monochromatic coloring pages can be even more eye-catching than multicolored ones. Use different tints, tones, and shades of a single hue to create depth and movement. Choose three shades of blue for a maritime feel, or three shades of pink to make your page pop. Use the darkest color to create shadows, and the lightest to create highlights. You can even leave some areas untouched for a bright pop of white to help break things up.
2. Stick to one color family.
The classic color wheel can be divided into two “color families”—warm and cool. (Neutral colors like whites, blacks, greys, and browns make up a third color family not represented by the standard color wheel.) Warm colors are reds, oranges, and yellows. They bring to mind warm things like sunlight and fire. Cool colors are blues, purples, and greens. They bring to mind cool, calm things like water. Apply this learning to your next adult coloring page by choosing three colors from the same color family for a more cohesive, serene look. These kinds of color schemes are often found in nature, and they’re easily pleasing to the eye. For example, try using just pink, red, and orange for a warm color scheme. The trick is to make sure you have enough contrast between each color so you can easily differentiate between them.
3. Try using a triad.
Draw an equilateral triangle on the color wheel. You should land on three colors equally spaced around the circle. This is a triad. Though this tends to be a quite vibrant choice for color schemes, it remains balanced because each color is evenly spaced across the color wheel. Your triad could be made up of primary colors, secondary colors, or anywhere in between. Successful triad color schemes often focus heavily on one dominant color and use the other two hues as accents.
4. Stick to a theme.
Think of a beach, forest, or cityscape. What three colors come to mind? Select those three and get started! Regardless of where they fall on the color wheel, if you can stick to those three, you’ll be able to keep harmony. Themes can be as broad or specific as you like: Grayscale, St. Patrick’s Day, and tropical, are only a few possibilities.
Working with only a few colors or shades can be quite a challenge, but this practice will help give you a better understanding of color and balance. Once you’re comfortable with using a limited palette, start branching out by adding one more color at a time while still sticking in the same family or theme. You’ll be surprised how beautiful subtle changes in color can be!