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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.

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Beside writing super useful blog posts I also teach how to create Islamic geometric patterns

 

 

How to Choose Your Color Palette

 

One of the most important elements of a great piece of art is color. To choose a color palette seems like simple thing at first glance but if you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I’m eternally doubtful about the color scheme choice.

The fact is, at least for me, that even if you know that two colours look good together, it doesn’t mean that they will look good on that geometri pattern.

 

Patterns change the way we perceive colours. The same colours may look completely different on different designs. On the other hand, that could be a good thing too. You can use the same 2-3 colours, but no one will notice it because the designs will look so different from one another.

Anyway, besides doing Instagram polls, asking your family or doing eeny, meeny, miny, moe there are at least 3 methods that I personally use to choose a color palette.

 

1. ONE COLOR AT A TIME

This was my go-to method before buying an iPad.

What I do is to choose the main colour of my piece and colour the central part of the design (central rosette in my case) with it. I use the same color in other parts of the design too so that it becomes the predominant color. If it’s a dark colour I would paint the outer shapes of the design with it too.

After that, I usually step away from the artwork like 2-3 meters and look at it from a distance. From there I would decide which color use next.

I repeat this process until the painting is completed.

Try to create some contrast by using light and dark colours. I also suggest you use 2 to 3 colors, no more than that otherwise it would look too confusing to the eyes.

 

2. USE YOUR IMAGINATION

This is a hard one but worth trying. If you know how to use your imagination, try to think about the pattern and which colors would look good on it.

The color study would be perfect for this method. Once you know how colors work and which colors match together, you can try to use them in your mind.

Color swatches work well too. You can use them to choose 2-3 colours and then imagine how to use them on your pattern.

 

3. PROCREATE ANYONE?

This is the method I currently use.

I’ve talked about digital art and why I use it here.

If you don’t have an iPad you can use Illustrator on your computer or any other app or computer program you are comfortable with.

The aim is to upload a picture of the pattern and then experiment with colors.

I love Procreate because of the brush tool which creates the watercolor effect perfectly. Be aware that the colors on these programs are different from the one in your palette, so the end result will look slightly different.

 

This are my tips, but the best teacher here is to practice and experiment.

How do you choose your color palette? Do you have any “secret” method to share with me? Write it in the comments below.

PAINTING

How to Choose Your Color Palette

July 29, 2020

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Sandy. "The theory behind colours" is interesting, too. And as you wrote, practice and experimentation are the best teachers.

  2. Marzieh says:

    Thanks!!
    I sometimes use a picture or something I love as a guide, a flower for example, or maybe a pottery mug!
    Anything that has harmony.
    Sometimes it works very well and sometimes it is exactly the opposite!! I may ruin my painting

  3. Abubakar says:

    my secret method is to just use the pencil for shading because i am having a tough time now a days with colors dont feel like using any color other then blac.

  4. Victoria says:

    Thank you for this great advice on colour choices, I had never thought of using the iPad to experiment, plus Procreate looks like a great app to experiment on! Another way I use is to build up my ideas into a sketchbook. I transfer a section of my pattern onto the page then mix paints and experiment using them in different combinations until I’m ready to make my final choice. For me a sketchbook is a record of all my experiments and documents all my ideas for future reference.

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.
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