How to Make Gorgeous Color Palettes + 9 Free Palettes for Procreate
So many of you have told me that you struggle with choosing colors for your work. I hear you! I used to agonize over color combinations and wonder why my colors never seemed to look as good as everyone else’s. It wasn’t until I did a deep dive into building color palettes that I finally understood how to create beautiful palettes, without fail.
Below I’ll show you some tips and examples + share some palettes I created using the principles in the post. Not sure how to sample colors and create palettes in Procreate? I show the super-easy steps in video 2 of this tutorial, so check it out if you need some help with the technical side of building palettes!
So what is the secret to creating beautiful color palettes? Here are a few rules I always follow. Although in art, all rules are meant to be broken, so don’t feel like you have to follow ALL of these rules every time!
1) Use photographs as a starting point. Find some photos with beautiful colors and contrast and pull colors from there. I never try to pull colors out of my head, because colors are perceived with your EYES not your brain, so stop trying to make your brain do things your eyes are supposed to do. Your brain can choose colors, but it needs to see them first, so give yourself a starting point to take the pressure off.
2) Get a wide range of colors. Think about both dark to light contrast and color contrast (yellows vs. blues). An eye catching color palette will have colors that contrast against each other, so if you choose some dark blue shades, get some bright pinks to contrast against them.
3) Start with a lot of colors, then pare down. I find it’s a lot easier to edit out colors I don’t like than it is to add new ones. So don’t be afraid to load up your palette with colors that may not work together, because you may end up only using two or three colors anyway!
4) When in doubt, look to nature. Why do bouquets seem to look beautiful no matter what flowers you put in them? Why do sunsets ALWAYS look gorgeous no matter what colors are in the sky? Nature has already created a never ending source of beautiful color palettes for us to use, all with perfectly contrasting colors. All you have to do is capture them in a photograph and pull them into Procreate. So start snapping pictures of those gorgeous sunsets, bouquets, and gardens that catch your eye!
5) Make palettes now, make art later. If you make yourself a library of color palettes that fit your style, you’ll never have another “WHAT COLOR SHOULD I USE???” freakout. So take a few hours to build yourself a library of colors, and you’ll be thanking yourself for months to come.
There are a few go-to “nature photos” that I always keep an eye out for because they seem to create gorgeous color palettes, every single time. Here are a few of my favorites:
-Landscapes with water
And one of my personal favorites, bouquets.
You can download all of these palettes using the links below. If you create some beautiful palettes, I’d love to see them! You can tag me on Instagram and Facebook @LizKohlerbrown Happy coloring!
These are all Procreate files, so they may not work in other apps. To use them, download the file, then choose Procreate as the app.
Learn how to create limited color illustrations and palettes on your iPad in Procreate. We’ll cover every step of the process from building new palettes to creating illustrations that are ideal for limited palettes.
In this class, you’ll learn three different ways to use ink lines and dots to add shadow, highlights, and depth to your work. We’ll look at tons of tips and tricks for hatching, crosshatching, and stippling, and talk about how to add bold color to your linework to add variation and contrast that makes your work stand out online and in print.
In this class you’ll learn how to create unique insect illustrations and animations on your iPad in Procreate. When you watch the class you’ll get all of the color palettes and Procreate brushes I use in my insect illustrations including 14 drawing and texture brushes that will help you add tons of depth, texture, and grit like this to your illustrations
In this class, you’ll learn how to paint colorful wildflower arrangements in Procreate. When you watch this class you’ll get all of the brushes and color palettes I use in the class as free downloads, including my saturation booster brushes, which allow you to use the pressure of your stylus to create varied brushstrokes on the canvas.
Learn how to create Acrylic landscape paintings on your iPad in Procreate.
In this class, you’ll learn how to plan and create an illustration series from start to finish. I’ll show you my whole process from planning the series to printing out the work and evaluating color options.
Learn how to create three different kinds of Art Nouveau style illustrations on your iPad in Procreate and get all of my art nouveau style stamps and reference images.
Learn how to create unique collages in Procreate by combining vintage images, hand drawn elements, and layer effects. When you watch this class, you’ll get all of the Procreate brushes I use to create my collages. The set includes 25 stamps of flowers, insects, figures, and shapes, plus a set of 8 texture brushes for adding vintage patterns, fading, and scuffs to your collages.
In this class, you’ll learn how to create and fill your Society6 shop using your iPad. You’ll learn how to create and prepare work for Society6, and get tons of tips for maximizing the number of products you have for sale and minimizing the amount of time you spend uploading and resizing.
Learn three different ways to create modern folk style illustrations on your iPad in Procreate.