How to Make Gorgeous Color Palettes + 9 Free Palettes for Procreate

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.

Use your own photos if you have them, or use a site like Unsplash or Pixabay which has free photos for personal and commercial use.

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Sapan Patel on Unsplash

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!

Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

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!

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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

-Sunsets

-Jungle scenes

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

-Coral

-Colorful animals

Photo by Milos Prelevic on Unsplash

And one of my personal favorites, bouquets.

Photo by Christie Kim on Unsplash

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!

Photo by Carrie Beth Williams on Unsplash

Download the Bouquet Palettes*

Download the Coral Palettes*

Download the Landscape Palettes*

Download the Sunset Palettes*

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.

Combining Lettering and Illustration in Procreate

In this class you’ll learn all the steps for combining lettering and illustration to create compositions that both tell a story and are visually interesting!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3171.jpg

Illustrating with Layered Texture & Color

Learn how to use layered texture and color to add depth and visual interest to your illustrations.  We’ll look at how to create overall textures, how to use texture to create highlights and shading, and how to use single and multi colored texture to bring out warm and cool tones in your illustrations.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3171.jpg

Design a Pattern Collection on Your iPad

Learn how to design a pattern collection on your iPad from start to finish.  I’ll show you options for making your repeat elements in both Procreate and Affinity designer, so you can choose which option works best for you!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3171.jpg

70s Lettering

Learn how to create 70s style hand lettering and decoration from start to finish.  We’ll cover everything you need to know to add the kind of bold color, drastic variation, and playful decorations that were so popular in the 70s and are now popping up all over in the design world on stationary, clothing, home decor.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3171.jpg

Limited Color Palette Illustration in Procreate

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3171.jpg

Ink Illustration Techniques in Procreate

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.