A Guide to Picking the Right Colors



Ella Luu, Writer

So, you want to start painting. Before you can start painting, you realize you have a problem…How do you create an appealing color palette? That’s why you’re here.

FYI, warm colors are made up of red, orange, and yellow, think of a sunset. Cool colors consist of blue, green, and purple. Now that you know what these terms mean, let’s get started.

  To start us off easy, think of the subject of your painting and what kind of mood do you want to achieve with it? If it’s a more positive setting then I would opt for  warmer colors. This can create a nicer kind of mood. If it’s a more negative setting then go for cooler colors. Make sure to get familiar with your color wheel! It’s important to understand your colors. 

 Next, you want to decide if you want the colors to be lighter or darker. To make a color darker, you add black to it. To make a color lighter, you add white to it. It’s relatively simple. Mixing darker and lighter colors creates shades that make your painting more diverse and abstract–it also adds depth. 

If you want a good mix of shades from both warm and cool, I recommend selecting shades that compliment each other. My favorite color pairings are: black and yellow, red and yellow, tan and beige, etc, etc. Some different types of color palettes you can create are monotone (variations of the same color), triadic colors (colors at equidistant points on the color wheel), etc.

 Now that you have a basic idea of how to use colors, go ahead and try to make your own color palette! Feel free to build it by adding more colors.