Colours! - A little help to build your colour palette.

Colourwheel_sechsstelliger Farbkreis

Yellow – Red – Magenta – Blue – Cyan – Green. 

Picking the best choice of colours for your artwork can be a challenge. The way we use colours is important for the mood of our painted or created worlds. Colours have a huge amount on us, and our behaviour as customers and audience. Colours are more than “pretty” or “highlights” they are part of human communication. As a graphic designer, the usage of colours is part of the job. Even marketing people consider the power of colours. This journal entry helps you to make the right decision and pick the best colours for your artwork and design. Hope you enjoy reading. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel and add me on DeviantArt, Twitter, etc. 💓 😄 

How do I add “Harmony” in my colouring?

Before colouring your artwork, whether it is a digital or fine art, you should think about the way you want to use colours. If you decide for doing digital art it is most likely easier to erase wrong decisions (strg + z) than working on a sheet of paper or canvas. Decide! And remember: Art is fun!

Okay, here are different ways to pick colours:


  1. Shading colour scheme: Pick a colour and add a few shades of that hue to your palette.
  2. Compounding colour scheme: This palette scheme contains your chosen colour and two additional colours adjacent to its complementary colour.
  3. Complementary colour scheme: Pick a colour and add a complementary contrast hue which is the one on the opposite of your main colour in the 6-digit-wheel. For example, a complementary colour of blue is yellow. You can add a highlight colour too. I chose Pink (Magenta).
  4. Chromatik colour scheme: A chromatic colour is a colour that has even the slightest amount of hue. While Achromatic colours, like white, grey, and black have no hue or saturation. Chromatik colour schemes have pure or intense sets of colour. ‘Chroma’ refers to the brightness or “dullness” of any colour. My example is a yellow magenta palette.
  5. Your own colour scheme: Some people have a given talent for picking colours. And some don’t but they pick colours by different standards. Like things, they love or see. Artists and designers tend to watch people and their surroundings closely. It’s a habit to understand how to draw certain shapes. So, feel free to create your own colour palette. 🙂
digital colour palette complementary contrast scheme
contrast scheme
digital colour palette shades scheme
shades scheme
digital colour palette compound scheme
compound scheme
digital colour palette achromatic scheme
achromatic scheme
digital colour palette chromatic scheme
chromatic scheme

How to create a colour palette?

Colours can give us moods and even have an influence on emotions. While looking at a piece of art or design this might even take part in associatively subconscious decisions. For example, warm coloured lights are used for selling fruits and vegetables in supermarkets. There are books on human eye development and colours too. The Six-digit colour circle contains three primary colours (RGB) and three secondary colours (CMY). Primary Colours are also used for the additive colour mixing scheme, which means all colours combined would give the impression of white, while subtractive colour mixing scheme combined (CMY) result black. Subtractive colour schemes are based on physical colours while additive schemes are the theory of colourful lights. A change in the light spectrum or colour stimulus takes place, while its physiological colour effect (colour valence) is based on the additive colour mixing taking place in the human eye and brain.

 Need more “Drama”? Saturation, value and hue.

Saturation defines the brilliance and intensity of a colour. Along with hue and lightness, saturation is one of the three characteristics of a colour that are perceived as fundamental. It describes the quality of the colour nuance. Saturation is about intensity.

There are three categories of colour shade quality: Achromatic coloursmulticoloured and pure colours. Achromatic colours are white, black and their mixtures in different shades of grey. Their colour saturation is zero, they leave no impression of colour and don’t have any colour cast. Multicoloured colours have a colourful effect. These are colours that are clearly distinguishable from black, white and neutral grey. Pure colours contain a maximum of colour saturation. The purest colours are spectral colours (lights). Hue is just another word for colour. Each position around the colour wheel represents a different hue. The term colour value stands for how light or dark a colour appears.


Digital Colouring

Best way to use colours here is to create a digital palette and define the main colour before starting. Each colour or each character/item needs their own layer.


Pencil Colouring


Wax-based colouring pencils never cover the surface of the paper completely. Pick an extra sheet of paper to try different colouring combinations before colouring your artwork.


Water Colouring


Lavur colouring. Take your time. Every new layer of colouring your watercolour artwork gives a higher saturation and brilliant colours. If you wish to mix colours keep it wet, otherwise let it dry and then continue


Gouache Colours


Very brilliant colours, create a palette on an additional piece of paper.


Acrylic Colours


When Acrylic Colours are dry, they are hardening and become one with your canvas. Work quick and keep areas on the canvas or paper wet that you wish to modify.


Oil Colours


Beautiful colours with an unhealthy thinner. If you decide to use oil colours remember to use a palette that you can place into a jar or inside of a box. Oil colours need days to dry completely. You got plenty of time to decide for colour changes.



Have a beautiful day, thanks for reading my journal!