View Full Version : Mix Palettes

12-01-2007, 08:44 PM
Hi everyone,

Only just discovered AR, so I'm new to it. But I was impressed with the stencil feature which gave me some ideas regarding colour.

I get overwhelmed when I'm looking at colour pickers and really I don't like to use them when picking up colours for a painting, too many choices and distracting. I tend to work with restricted palettes because I find that I learn more from colour, what I can do.

What follows is really an exploration of limited 5 colour palette. I used an art vector package called Intaglio (does basic CAD also) to create the mix palette, then converted it into an AR stencil. I'm working on mix palette designs for 2 3 4 5 6 7 mix colours and to include accent/incidental colours as well.

I get a lot out of colour exploration and I get enjoyment out of it, discovering new colours. After I've done the mix using a stencil, I then use the palette as a reference image in AR and pickup the colours from there.

I found the best way for me was to work up the mix using an oil brush, but then to knife the circles and ovals prior to further sampling as this reduces tonal differences. Basically, oils + knife.

Tell me what you think. I can upload the mix palette stencils to my gallery as I complete them. 6 and 7 colour mix palettes are complex, but 5 is quite an easy design.

12-03-2007, 06:18 AM
Hi FurrTrap,

I just bought ArtRage a few weeks back and I have been trying to get accustomed to the program myself. I'm out of practice with my drawing and painting, which is part of the reason I bought ArtRage. One of things I want to really try and work at is my color theory (which is lacking). When you make your pallets, is there some sort "rule" you use in choosing the colors?

12-03-2007, 10:58 AM
Hi someonesane,

My colour theory isn't that advanced. But I learnt to paint in oils at an early age of 10yo. I remember some things from my childhood about mixing in oils. I think everyone has a different way and rules can always be broken, but some guiding principles may help at first:

Restricted Palette

The idea is to pick a few colours to start. I think one of my first paintings was Raw Umber and White. It gives you an exploration of tone and mixing.

Colour pickers are extensive now especially in software, but personally I find them bewildering and overwhelming. Some artists dip into them and pick as they go. The results can be wonderful. But for me I learn more by choosing just a few colours and learning to mix them well.

It is always surprising just how many colours you can mix from 3 or 4 principle colours :) That thinking has influenced my mix palettes idea. With trad tube paints, this saves you a great deal of money... as you learn to mix up paints from a few basic pigments, rather than go out and buy extensive ranges of colours.

3 Makes Mud

Again a principle I learnt early on, that a 2 colour mix tends to be quite distinct, but as you add 3 or more colours to a mix it tends towards a muddy feel. There are always exceptions to this, it's just a general guide.

Colour Wheel

There are many useful websites I can point to, but I can't post URLs yet in forum msgs as I'm so new to this site (you need 7 days and a minimum of 10 posts as a spam filter block). I'll post some links later here if that helps.

Here are some recognised colour wheel schemes:

Monochromatic - Just different tones of one colour
Complementary - Colours opposite each other on colour wheel
Split Complementary - Forms a triangle with colours either side
Analogous - Colours next to each other on wheel
Triadic - Triangular shape on colour wheel
Tetradic - Square shape on colour wheel

And you can combine schemes. I'm playing with some software called Color Consultant Pro (Mac) there are many Windows products also.

Tints, Tones and Shades

Getting more technical, starting with a base colour:

Tints - add varying degrees of white
Tones - add varying degrees of neutral grey
Shades - add varying degrees of black

Best observed in AR by the LS / H colour picker.


I guess I like the analogous scheme, colours next to each other on the colour wheel. I love blues/greens as they are cool and relaxing.

But I also like complementary schemes, where you pick colours opposite each other on the colour wheel.

I love earth colours and I started with the classical Indian Red, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue etc. But I also love more prismatic colours.

Hope this helps a bit. Colour is a vast topic. I'm no expert, and before I do a big digiprint I'll attempt to colour calibrate my LCD monitor and my paper/ink stock so I can make a proof print prior to sending to a print shop. Big topic and masses to learn.

12-03-2007, 12:08 PM
Thank you very much FurrTrap! :D You've put together a very good start for me, I appreciate it.

01-08-2008, 11:23 AM
I would also like to thank furrtrap. Your template makes a lot of sense to me, as I too find the colour pickers frustrating. It really helps me work with a limited palette and the graduated blends have a natural feel.