How to Use a Limited Color Palette to Create Better Illustrations with Illustrator Lisk Feng

How to Use a Limited Color Palette to Create Better Illustrations with Illustrator Lisk Feng

October 10, 2019 3 By Peter Engel


– I personally don’t think I have a good color sense. At the first beginning. Because I don’t have any color theory. I pretty much self-taught. I pick out colors that I like the most and then start drawing from the beginning when I was like thirteen, fourteen. So… I started up my own favorite color
swatches during that time. And now I still use a
similar color palette. Which is interesting. I got a lot of people ask me the same question. How do I improve my color sense? How do I pick the right color? How do I know I picked the right color? And then the answer is… No, I don’t know. Because everyone has their own color sense and it’s quite different. If you’re struggling a lot on picking out the right color for your illustration… I highly recommend you try limited
color palette method. This method, I personally love it and I use it because I started learning screen printing method. So that means I only get to use 3 to 5 colors per illustration. So that it is easier for
them to print it out. Or for me to make the real print. And today we are going
to use only 3 colors. And then it’s 3 very basic colors. Red, blue, and yellow. As you see, the sketch there is here already. And then what I’m going to do is add one more layer. And then let’s go into the colors. So right now I’m going to just pick out my favorite red. So the ring on the color ring is you pick out the general color. Like you want this red, you want a little bit purplish-red, or an orangeish-red. You kind of see it immediately. And then after you pick out this color you go into the middle square. And then it has like different diversity of the same red with lighter and darker. So, I will just like move it to the left a little bit. Because I kind of want to
mix watermelon kind of red. A little bit white, pastel red. Just move a little bit. You can auto adjust by doing this. So, let’s see the red. It’s good. So the red is settled. If you want to get it back, it’s already over here. It’s under recent. So the red is saved. And then let’s pick out a blue. So I like this kind of blue. Maybe a little bit green. Towards the green, yes. And then the same volume. Not so bright. I will not change it. It’s perfect. Yeah, so this is the blue I really like. And then you have it already. And then let’s choose a yellow. My favorite yellow is
not so lemonade color. It’s always a little bit orange. Towards orange, and less vibrant. Because yellow can be a little bit too overwhelmed sometimes. It’s so bright. Now you have it, the
three colors you like. There are millions of combinations you can play with, with this method. And then you can even add
to 4 colors, 5 colors, to 8 colors. And then, for me, the most important thing is to build up your own color palette. To build your own color collection. So that, now I kind of know which 2 colors put together is beautiful
than the other combinations. So you have to practice and
try it out all over a time. And then also, try to… save your own swatch for
your drawing process. When you are doing a
series of illustrations, always use that red. Always use that orange. And it will give your
series of illustrations a kind of consistency. Even if you don’t draw the same stuff, they look like they belong to each other. That’s how powerful
limited color palette is.