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How to Choose a Color Palette for Adult Coloring Books

Being the latest craze, adult coloring books have evolved into something much more than a Sunday-afternoon activity. Apart from their stress-relief and meditative pros, they bring about a whole new world of colorful possibilities. Even the most short-on-talent people (like yours truly) could find a little creative fire inside.

Everyone could become an artist by simply coloring. But it’s not just the patterns or even the pictures. It’s all about the colors and how you use them.

Surely when you choose your means of coloring, you prefer taking the widest range of hues. But hardly ever would you use all of them at the same time, would you? And that’s quite natural. As humans we’re designed to match things according to their colors so as to create something beautiful and eye pleasing. Just like we daily pick our clothing or make-up.

When it comes to coloring, we often unintentionally choose different palettes to suit our taste and needs. Sometimes they’re bright and vivid, other times – dark and dull. It’s an almost innate choice that we make, based mostly on our present mood.

So, here’s a guide on how to make this palette picking process a little bit more mindful and a lot more fun:


A palette is a range of colors which may vary. Usually a palette is monochromatic – it consists of different tones of the same color. Palettes are widely used by artists, designers and architects for creating inspiring new color combinations.


Because it makes coloring even more fun. And it’s just so personal!

Do you feel moody and melancholic? Well, an autumn palette might just be the cure for your woes. Are you psyched? If so, go for something colorful and psychedelic. Are you calm and inspired? Delve into those blues and greens!


Inspiration comes from basically everywhere.

Look around. What do you see?

Maybe it’s your bedroom that you’ve decorated by yourself? Or it’s your work desk? Or maybe you’re looking at a book, magazine, etc.? Notice the book covers and magazine pages – their colors are in perfect harmony, aren’t they? You can even use them later for color reference.

Go outside and walk around. Nature is the Grand Inspirator – pretty much everything out there could trigger your inspiration. Choose the palette of the spring flowers or the rainy skies; trees, grass, leafs, puddles, pastoral fields… It’s all yours if you could only grasp it.

And if you’re more of a city person, you might enjoy the busy streets’ or corporate buildings’ hues.

Finally, you could always use the good old internet. Get online and dig deep into a whole universe of palettes, palette ideas, palette samples, even palette apps… There’re numerous websites for finding color inspiration, just take your time.


Choosing the right colors for your palette is the trickiest part. You’ve gone this far and now all you have to do is pick your hues wisely.

Actually, you don’t need too many colors. Even a few would do, if you know how to use them.

It’s good to pick one dominant color and choose the others according to it. You might want to add something neutral as well – just to make the other hues more vivid. You should also bear in mind that the human eye perceives a color differently based on its surroundings.

A good way to pick your palette is to place your pencils (or whatever means you’ve chosen to use) in order and then separate the “cool” from the “warm” colors. In this way you get at least two primary palettes.

Another great suggestion is to make your own color swatch. Take a blank sheet of paper and test out your pencils. Notice how the shades change according to the way you press – harder or lighter, and according to the number of layers you make. You could then try mixing and matching the different colors and create some of your own. You might even create your own color wheel. It would help you distinguish between analogous and contrasting colors. Later on, when you start coloring, if in need, go back to your reference palette sheet. It’s easy as that!

And remember – you’re the artist of your own masterpieces. Don’t be shy, just experiment!

Unibul Press
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