Create Beautiful Color Palettes with Ease | Kimma Smith | Skillshare

Create Beautiful Color Palettes with Ease

Kimma Smith, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

Create Beautiful Color Palettes with Ease

Kimma Smith, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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8 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. A Peek at My Color Blocks

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Decide Now App - Choosing Our Colors

    • 5. Setting Up Paper & Mixing Palette

    • 6. Painting Our Blocks

    • 7. Traditional Color Block

    • 8. The Big Reveal

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About This Class

Do you worry about color choices in your watercolor paintings? Color choices can seem so hard when we have hundreds to choose from. How do you narrow them down? What if they look terrible together?

When you’re using watercolor, you can’t just paint over it like you can with acrylic and oil paints. So, making color choices with watercolor can feel even more precious and restricting and fearful.

I’ve discovered a way to completely rid myself of all of my color fears. This process brings me so much delight and joy. It feels playful and free, and I have discovered so many gorgeous new and exciting color palettes to use in my paintings that I wouldn’t have thought of if not for my color blocks practice.

Join me as I show you my process for choosing colors (I actually don’t make the choices myself at all!), preparing our watercolor paper, and finally the fun part… painting our blocks! I will show you how to create color blocks that are alive with color, movement, and luminous depth!

Benefits of creating Color Blocks:

  • They are sure to inspire you
  • They help you to get to know and understand your watercolors better which builds your color confidence
  • They help you to discover exciting new limited color palettes
  • They are easy to do and so are great for those times when you want to paint but maybe are feeling uninspired and unmotivated
  • They are meditative and so are a great tool to reduce stress and anxiety
  • They are just plain gorgeous, and you can hang them all around your studio (or wherever you paint) for some pretty eye candy

Meet Your Teacher

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Kimma Smith

Watercolor Artist & Illustrator


Hi, I'm Kimma Smith ~ I’m a self-taught artist and am head-over-heels in love with watercolor and mixed media.



I've decided to switch to the Teachable platform to house all my future courses included my brand new monthly subscription program Watercolor Bliss: let go of stress and find inner peace with watercolor. 


Watercolor bliss is an ongoing monthly subscription program featuring easy painting lessons designed to help reduce stress, anxiety, worry, and depression through simple projects where we focus on the process more than the product. 

These lessons are designed to be easy and fairly quick so when you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, etc., you can just sit down, pick u... See full profile

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1. Intro: and welcome to collar confidence create beautiful Paula pallets with these. If you've ever agonized about choosing what colors to use, I feel like you're in a creative right with the same old pallets. When this class is most definitely for you. This class is for beginner to more experience. Artists is for anyone who would like to learn a new and exciting way to create beautiful color palettes with eats and to build some color confidence along the way. No previous experience is necessary. By the end of this class, you'll be able to choose new, exciting, beautiful color palettes for your art. You learn my favorite method to choose colors without even ever having to make decisions yourself. You learn how to set up your color blocks and you're mixing pallets and you'll learn my tried and true method of color mixing to get a huge variety of colors with just four colors , these colored blocks will often surprise you with colors you've never thought to put together but look fantastic. They will open you up to a whole new world of color. Combining that will bring a feeling of freshness and excitement back to your creative painting practice. I can't wait to see your color blocks next up. I'm going to show you my piles of piles of color blocks for some inspiration, and just so you can see what they're all about. However, if you're chomping at the bit to get started, feel free to skip that video. You can come back to that later and jump right into the next video, where I'll go with supplies and then we'll get right into creating gorgeous color blocks. Let's get started. 2. A Peek at My Color Blocks: e. I am back with my piles and piles of color blocks, and I'm going to first show you my Daniel Smith's colors. This, um, is actually one of my favorites. This is a little turquoise spring gold offer pink, and it's actually Windsor Newton. Cotman stains gray with it, but check it out and I want to show you that they're not all successful, and this is a great way to test them out before you put them in a painting and then decide that, hopefully, like colors together. It's not working, it's beautiful. So here are two very unsuccessful ones for me. I do not like these, especially this one. I don't like it all. This is green gold, French, ultra Marine, English, red earth and nickel tightening. Yellow. Um, I think the nickel tight knit yellow and English orthe together just don't work. And I think that's the true colors that kind of ruined it for me. And then this one is De sat green, Payne's gray opera pink and Quinn purple and just didn't really work for me. There's a couple of pretty squares down here, but I don't know, so I would not use these four colors in a painting together. Ah, now here are my mission. Gold. This is the one we did today. It's just Look, Sethi's this. Oh, my gosh. Look how bright it is. I use Chinese, right with this, and normally I don't use whites and with my watercolor paints. But I was curious. I did with this. And this is like, really pretty summertime fun color palette for sure. Look at this 10 my goodness. You guys, this is just for just look at all the colors in there. And then this is when I was trying some circles and I tried it with five colors and trying to very like the placement of the circles and the placement stuff didn't work out. It's kind of a mess, but is it not a beautiful master? Right? So pretty. And then again, I was trying more circles with four. And these are all pretty similar colors Light red, yellow, green, vermillion and olive green. So two types of red and two types of greed, but still gore. Just what an amazing folk talent This would be right, And then So this is the color palette we did for class And this is when I did with circles . And this is a six by six piece of paper and I was able to get more of assault effect. I think by this, this road dry a little bit too quickly. But I didn't really like how this came out. So pretty. Well, I hope you enjoyed seeing all my color blocks, and I'm excited to see all of yours. Please show them in the project and I will make sure to make a comment on each and every one of three blocks. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to, um, right a question in the class or send me an email at Kemah Smith art at gmail dot com Again , Thank you so very much. 3. Materials: Now I'm gonna talk about the materials will use for this class. Really great option to use. It's very inexpensive. I can. You can get it at a see more, um, Michael's. You can even get it at WalMart. It's actually I think it's under $6 at Wal Mart for this mind by 12 and his 30 sheets. So it's such a good price. Um, so that's the paper that I used, and it's actually super good quality. I've tried several different brands of paper, and I really do love this brand. So what we're gonna do for this class is we're gonna take a nine by 12 sheet of paper, and we're going to cut it into force to create our color box. And next, we need some tape. Um, you can use painter's tape if you have it. This is masking tape, and I use it because it's not expensive, which is great. So, um, usually when you use masking tape, it has it can have a tendency to your paper when you can t off. But I have a special little trick that I used to get this tape off very easily in it. Never wrote OK on next to go need our pains. Of course, this is my beautiful mission Gold paint ballot, which I love. The colors are super, super vibrant and just beautiful in the The car options is just fantastic and see it from these things out of the way. The next thing we need is a paint brush. She can use any round paintbrush. I really do love these Princeton round the Heritage brand. This is a size eight. We need a round brush for this exercise because a a angle brush or a flat brush just they don't hold as much water as we need because we want rushes to be really juicy filled with water for this project. And we need a pencil and an eraser. I like to use the kneaded erasers because when you erase the pencil marks, they it doesn't rip the paper at all. It doesn't damage it. And we're just gonna use the pencil to create our grid for our color blacks and we need people towel and I've got two jars of water. I used one to, um, rinse off initially, and then I used a Clearwater that I keep nice and clean to dip in my brush before I go to new color. And we also need I used to dry race latte boards. What I used to take my feet were down. So that way it doesn't Buffel because we're gonna be using a lot of pain. And it's gonna be very watery paint which content to buffalo paper and make the edges girl . So if we tape it down, that'll keep it nice and flat. And that's what we want this product. So we gonna use one for that, and then we're going to use another one for our paint palette. So this is what we're going to put our paint on. So just at a little paint there, that there and then we can mix the paint colors and beautiful because it just wipes up super easily. And you can even let it dry on their and they re wet and we use it or let it dry and then just spray some water on it and just wipe it off with the people toe. And the final two we will need is our very own phones were going to use an app called aside . Now it is free and it's something that I use quite often in my artwork in and other creative endeavors. And so that is all we will need for our materials. I'll see you in the next video. 4. Decide Now App - Choosing Our Colors: next thing we're gonna do is to go into our decide now And you just go to Google play store or the Apple store type in just a night now and popped up right there. So that's what it looks like. Install it. And the free version comes with this already a couple of wheels made. You can do one more of your own wheel, and it's 99 cents to purchase the APP and be able to do an unlimited number of wheels. I remember when I first used this, I bought it right away because I saw the value in it. 99 cents. It's totally worth it. So after you install it, you're going to open it up and you go and see There's a number of whales already made for you. Um, but what I'm gonna show you is my mission Gold Rio. So what it does is it creates a wheel that you spin, and then whatever it lands on is what you choose to do. So it takes all decision making out of the equation for you eso I'm gonna show you how to send it up. So you're gonna go, uh, back to where it showed you this settings icon, Click on the plus and then you're going to type in the name. So like I did my mission. Goldwater colors. I have one for my Daniel Smith watercolors. I have learned from my Windsor and Newton and I have one for all of my brands together. So I'm just gonna in this water colors, and then he can choose higher Well, looks, colors, juice, rainbow. And then what you gonna do is you're gonna make those labels and gonna make a label for every single one of your paint colors. So this mission golden set has 36 colors. So I made 36 labels, and you just write the name of the color hit, OK, another See e cock blue. Okay, mother. See, sepia sepia. Okay, no. Is your list of colors and you can go in and edit it if you want. And then when you're done, it just going to click that the check mark. So I'm gonna go toe into my mission golds. So you click on the wheel that you want, you click the arrow and the way I do this is to just I spend it four times and write down whatever it lands on. And then those are the four colors are gonna make a color black on, and I'm going to see how they interact with each other. Okay, I'm gonna spin the wheel now and see What color is that? Juices for me. Yellow green. It went on the same color. Yeah. All right. Well, special blue, okay? 5. Setting Up Paper & Mixing Palette: Okay. Welcome back. Now we're going to take our paper to our drying race. Let boards. I just buys. Like I mentioned then supply videos. The inexpensive masking tape, the It's just that then one because I have a little trick to take this tape off without grouping the watercolor paper, which is something you definitely need to be careful for. Okay, so we're just gonna tape put a little bit of teach That's gonna have just a little bit of a border on it. Yeah. Okay. You want to really press down on this tea that has a good sale on it so that white water doesn't go through it? No, I'm just going to very lightly with the pencils. Divide this. Divide this piece support color paper up and to four blocks across the four blocks down. I just make, like, a little bit of a neck where I think the lines is gonna be. I start off that way so that way or easily make an adjustment, it's gonna come down some. But you No, this needs to come down some. You have instead. And I just I don't use a ruler or anything. I just You know doesn't have to be perfect. This is just on my purposes, General to it the other way. I prefer to use the kneaded eraser because it is less damaging to the paper. I was with other races, you can erase the top top part off. Okay, Now I have the lines, and what I'm gonna do next is just take my kneaded eraser and dressed dab at it to take some of the lead off. So the lines, or even later, Because once you put watercolor down over Chancellor, he cannot erase it. And I want my focus to be on the beautiful colors are about to make not on the not on the pencil marks. So we have our colors Yellow grain band bike, brown Rose matter and Prussian blue. So I've got my latte bored with my paper divided. I got my second lap boards that have learned to use as my watercolor palette. I've got my mission goals, paint sets, and I've got two jars of water. One is gonna be for dirty water to first initially rinse my brush out on what is going to stay clean water so that I don't cross contaminate the colors, even though it theon they're all gonna be together. But okay, we're gonna start with my yellow green. I don't want to create a decent sized puddle of this, so I don't have to keep going back toe my mission gold pallets of people in color so that we will definitely need to do that as well throughout me with a good amount of water. Because you want more of a medium tone for the color, not its brightest, but not his latest. Okay? And then band like Brown will go here. So I'm gonna do yellow grain Van Dyke, brown Rose matter and then fresh blue Better. I love these mission goal paints their super vibrance. So you really do not need to pick up a lot of pigment if you go in for a lighter. The value, of course. - Okay . Shut clean water to I need to my board. This way 6. Painting Our Blocks: I'm gonna dry off my brush because I don't want that my loaded brush here with a lot of drippy water to make this to light because I do want to see the colors. Okay, so then I load up my brush and what I'm gonna do, Let me just describe this first. I'm going to create a row across in a row down for each color. So the first World Cross is going to be yellow grain, yellow green down and band like Andy Brown. Then they indict Ground Rose Matter fresh? No, I wanted to explain how we're going to paint our blocks and do our color mixes. So, as you know, we have labeled each row and column with a color. So this rose, uh, star or hero of the row is yellow green. This one is Van Dyke Brown. This road is Rose matter, and this row is fresh and blue. So how we're going to mix them is the first block is yellow plus yellow. OK, so that's just gonna be solid yellow green. And then the second block is entity yellow plus van dyke brown. So we're gonna mix those two colors together and since Yellow Green is the hero of that road, we're gonna mix a little bit more yellow green, then Van dyke brown. And then this lock is yellow green plus rose Matter. And again, we're gonna dio more yellow, green, less rose matter, And then this final block is yellow green plus fresh and blue. Okay, so that'll take care of our first row. The second row is like it. Okay, It's gonna be banned like brown plus yellow green. This will be Van Dyke Brown plus Van Dyke Brown. So just plain Bennett brown. This is gonna be been like brown plus Rose Matter and this black will be be banned like brown plus Prussian blue, and so on down the roasts. Okay, let's get started. Okay, so we're just gonna place this color down on the block. They want to keep them. What? So that way, we have opportunity to slash in some color and use salt at the end. Nice. And what? And what I'd like to do ISS go almost to the pencil line, but not quite. Because I do want to leave a little bit of a space just a thin line between each color in the color block. Okay. See how nice and wet that IHS I'm gonna pick up some more I'm gonna do. To make this a little easier is to put a little dab of yellow grain next to each of my other colors. And now, since this is the yellow green row, what we're gonna do is make yellow green be the star of this road. So we're gonna take less of the secondary colors to mix into the yellow grain. So we just want a little bit of it on my brush and then makes it. And then this is gonna get let us see at all every single color, mixed with different ratios, which makes our Qala traces even larger. Read. All right. And then I shouldn't blew out that little bit of that out right now for a second rival, Bandic Brown. We're going to take a little bit of Finnic brown and put next to each of the other colors, just like I did with the yellow green. Again, we're gonna have invite around, be the star of the show, so to speak, a little bit of the other colors forced. It's too much like that cause I am going to get a little bit more mandate. You said it. Pure Van Dyke Brown. True, it's a little bit of the rose matter and with live in dick around What color is so pretty for me? Brown. It's a surprising color because it's such a great mixing color. So I've always been surprised how gorgeous the colors are once mixed with brown and then the fresh blue look at how that turned suppression so so gorgeous. I could totally see this color used for, like, eucalyptus Klay eucalyptus leaves. Right now, these colors up here starting to dry. So what we want to do IHS slash you want to slash some color on them, keep them wet. I think Just read those matter. That's a special you need to grab some more yellow green. Ok, now it's time for rules matter. And actually, what I'm gonna do, cause this top row is gonna end up drying is I'm gonna Sprinkles. And so this way don't miss out on the opportunity to let the salt do its magic. So I'm gonna take actually this little bit of that terminated, gonna take some of the roads matter and a little bit next to each other color. Okay, you go with e yellow green first on the ground, then main ruse matter its own movements in pressure low in the final row is rushing, lose turn. Put a bit of that next. Each color green we go to, um no matter is then on its own. And we're gonna slash the more color on returning this road dry a little bit too. So I need to add some more so I can get the salt, if it's what you do. Any issues? Kind of kind of flick and tap at the same. All right. I would like to try to get a little bit of color, a little bit of each other, each of the other colors in each well, or each flock, I should say it's here. It's so Dr shooting at a little bit more water and then our final touches to add salts. Okay, that's good. Okay, Now you can already see. It's not completely dry yet, but check out this gorgeousness from the color splashing in the salts. Oh, my goodness. So, so, so gorgeous. I get really excited about this. Can you tell? Okay, we're gonna let this dry, and then once it's dry, I'm gonna come back and I'll show you how I take my teeth off, and then we're gonna rub off that salt and see what the results are. And I do want to say it's my recommendation to not dry this to let this just, um, dry Naturally, because she gives up the salts even more opportunity. Teoh, do the magic that it does the well. Okay, so I will see you back in a little bit. 7. Traditional Color Block: I want to show you a second way to do a color block. And this is the more traditional way. Okay, I'm going to. What I did was I took the other size sheet of paper, which is what, 4.5 by six. And I cut it in half. So now it is 4.5 by three and going to make a little cover block from it. Take it down. I just wanted to do this. So that way you can see the difference between these two maids, too. Test all mixed cultures. And I've already got my puddles of water color out here on my my mixing pallets The yellow grain, Van Dyke, brown Rose Matter and Prussian Blue. We're just gonna do cancer. Um, but the big block I chose a size eat round because they were bigger. I'm going to actually choose a smaller size the sixth round. So what, we're gonna dio similar to the other one, but we're just going to mix. We're not gonna do any splashes. We're not going to do any salts. Okay? No holy screen now would bring here. So with this kind, you can take your time or because we don't have to worry about it drying before we can make magic happen. And then they're gonna dio with the yellow green, each of the other colors. I was still gonna make sure each row has its star here. I can just real quick, a little bit more again. We just take a little bit of the second color because yellow green is the star of the show or this do a little bit of those Never help. Okay, No, Our second role is been like browns wants to put a little bit of that next to each of the other colors you get. Don't forget this is a star of the show full of this row, so we're going to just put a little bit of the other color into it. Brown. That's some. They're a little bit of rules matter, like a little bit too much matter. That's more. Be careful with Redd's because they do tend to take over, actually mixed. This won't drown in here, but it's still wet like this. You could mix it right on paper. Here we go. Look at that. That was beautiful, okay? And a little bit depression. I got you something about blues browns mixed together that just so so beautiful and exciting to me. Okay, to the next row, we have rules matter. Oops. I don't brush in that blue answer it. Case with yellow green with rose matter and again, Rose Matter is the storm this Rosalie just do a teeny bit and then some and they from it was better all on its own on them against pressure. So really great in the final roll and most matter a little bit more. I mean, not rules matter. I should live. Uh, that's impression. Hear, hear. Here already. A little bit of yellow green. This is pretty cool. It's us. Think of mermaids a little bit more. That's a little bit more. And finally I should Oh, God. All right, so this block is done, and again, I'm not going to dry it. I'm just gonna let it dry naturally, Um, but still very pretty, for sure, but definitely different than first block. Not from is exciting, in my opinion. But you know, everybody is different and this still has its place. And now also we could go on and on and on and on mixing different. Different, you know, was slightly more yellow, green. And this row, um, or slightly less. And we can, like, just add water to it and make the lighter and lighter and lighter. I did another a trial one before this. I did this e quartzite night did the shades and a very light like color. I didn't let these things be a little bit more a little bolder. Okay, I will be back when these dry and we will take the tape off and see what the final results are. 8. The Big Reveal: way back in these blocks are dried. I'm going to do the big review on this one first. And in order to take the tape off without ripping off the watercolor paper, we're going to heat it. Um, this is my favorite. He to the ranger heated craft tool. What it does is it It heats the glue on the teeth, and it kind of melts it. So that way it doesn't. It doesn't remain all sticky. No, I just like to turn it on. I just kind of run it over each edge first. And then I'm going to start with this, and then I'm gonna lift it up a little bit, and then I'm gonna turn the heat to on and point it towards it like this. And you want to pull the tape away from you, kind up like up in off to the left. Okay. What should the right if you're here, Lefty. So I keep this pointed at the paper, so that way continues to heat because I have done it before. I saw that he did it up really well and then ended up ripping the paper. So this keeps the heat on it. but just the super Campell cause this gets super hot and it does burn hurts Hey towards it . And this is our, um more plain the color block. I guess I will say when you see the other one, you'll know why. Still so beautiful and let just these four colors Yellow green band like brown Rose Matter and Prussian blue. Look, look at these gorgeous colors. Now, if you notice I had said before, too on each row like this is yellow Green road, Make that one the star. So you're gonna add more of that color unless of the following colors and you can see the difference here. And this is why So this is yellow green, plus brown Van dyke brown. And you can see the color of the year versus this Van dyke brown plus yellow grain. See, which has the more more like brown. So you see, you get two different colors with that, um, and you see the same with Botham. So this is yellow green plus Rose matter here and now, right here. You've got yellow green plus Rosemount are very, very different colors so so beautiful. You can just check it out see which you know Which colors are you? Favorite? You might say like, Oh, my gosh, what is this color? And then you're gonna know that it's okay. This is yellow green. Oh, sorry. Who this is Van Dyke Brown plus Prussian blue. And the way you're gonna remember that is we got a little sticky notes. Let me get the order. We got it. And the right we know this is the first color of the yellow green and gonna flip it over. And just in pencil, right, The colors in the right order. And I always write which brand it is, since I do use several different brands that way. I know. Okay, now we're going to go to Oh, my favorites. This ISS the first piece we did with color splashing and the solves. Just look at this beauty. You guys. So so, so gorgeous. Now it still has a salt on it. You can see it. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take a paper towels, and I'm not gonna scrub it like this, okay? Because if it happens to be a little bit wet, you could smear it, and then you're gonna like ruin every other color. So just, you know, with your hands, make sure gently touch it, make sure it's dry, and then he just gonna take a paper towel and very gently just gonna scrub it mystical or just wait gently with in a circle for each block. So that way you don't screw up the rest of the blocks. Just that one, just in case it's still life. Okay, just to barrel. And we're going to loosen the glue, the heat, too, just like we did you. And here we are. It's no, you can see there's quite a bit of a difference between the two blocs that we get here. This same colors in the same order mixed the same way. This it was just minus a splashing and assaults. All right, now, when I look at these two side by side yes, this is so beautiful. The colors and gorgeous, of course. But this one right here, this gets me so excited and so inspired. It's just so there's so much depth that to this in magic with assault on the splash is so pretty. Oh, they know you. This is the one that will break me out of, um, the statement period will break me out of, you know, you get painting doldrums, right? You you feel uninspired at times, A lot of times. Even so, this makes me feel inspired. Absolutely. And this is why I always, always, always do my color blocks like this, and you can still see the colors within here. And then if you really did love, love, love this color palette, you could make one of these after and like do the whole nine by 12 page, you could fill whole nine by 12 page with hundreds of different colors just from the four colors just by making the colors stronger to begin with and then adding water a little bit at a time to make them lighter and lighter. Later, Really airy. Um, just so much you can dio. You could mix three colors together, you know, in different ways. Then mix all four together in different ways and see these color blocks kind of does they kind of do that for you and you can still see well, so I really like this. This color right here you can see the majority of the color, and that is going to be your band Aid Brown and Fresh and Blue and then still see it's totally different from this one because the ratios were a little bit different. So it's just so exciting to me. And I really, really hope that you love your color blocks as much as I dio. So I hope that these color blocks will inspire you. And I hope that they help you to get over any fear of color that you might have and also to get over any fair color theory and to let you know that you don't have to know a ton of color theory to put together a gore just palette just the way that you you mixed, um, in this special way is just It just works, right? You know, I just I just think it works, and I am going to be making another class on again on color because there's just so much, so much to learn on color. So, um, it's gonna be about color transitions transitioning between two colors, three colors and four colors, um, to make a nice, smooth transition between them and a way to make your palate more cohesive. So I will show you that beautiful little exercise in another class