5 Tips on How to Choose Colors for your Artwork

How are you guys?? It seems like a week ago, we were just in Cebu for less than 24 hours for a workshop and now another week is about to end again!  Wahhh.  Also, if you caught us on Facebook live, the photos here were shot last May and it’s as if I slept, woke up and now, it’s July.

Correction: mid-July! :O

I always get asked about my colors so I thought, why not put my answers together in another blog post.  However, just in case you missed any of these old blog resources & lists, feel free to bookmark or open in a new tab so you can go through them later. 🙂

Finding Your Art Style

How to Make Your Colors Vibrant
Doodling Tips
Coloring Tips for Colored Pencils
How to Get the Colors You Want
Ultimate Art Jam


Faber-Castell Connector Pens

Note though that the things I’m writing are based on my own experience so if there’s anything I missed or anything that you feel that needs to be modified or unlearned based on your workflow, feel free to do so. 😀

Color Palettes

L-R: Muted, Pastel, Vibrant, Desaturated, Dark

Tip #1: Pick the colors from the same family.

I realized that I’ve been picking colors but I never really reflected upon my process until my sister-in-law pointed this out during my wedding preparations.  Choose colors from the same family.  If you want to go for pastels, pick an all pastel combo, I also realized that people can be talking about the same names of colors but just like words, it can mean so many things to so many people.  Someone can be talking about teal & it can be the muted, pastel, vibrant, desaturated or dark version. :O

Jamie Catt shared in her workshop last weekend that when it comes to choosing colors, she’s not really the type who consults the color wheel.  I must admit, I also don’t have a guide.  I just choose the colors that make me happy.
Faber-Castell Connector PensTip # 2: Your personal preferences will help you build your personal style. 

Your choice of colors will build your personal style. I interviewed a bunch of Ilustrador ng Kabataan (INK) artists & every one of them seems to have a different favorite.  My colors have magenta & teal undertones while theirs have payne’s gray, burnt sienna, yellow ochre & the like.

I also compared my palette with a bunch of friends & I noticed Abbey‘s work always has a shade of brown to make her colors desaturated.  Meanwhile, Aleyn’s photos are more on the muted and neutral.  (By the way, she shot our family portrait here. Haha.) As Aleyn pointed out, my work looks like summer 365 while hers is winter & Abbey’s tends to reflect the fall season. So true! 😀

That’s why I always tell workshop participants not to worry if their seatmates tend to pick & produce colors that are different from theirs. 🙂  How to build a personal style based on colors alone? Step one is to not mind what others may be thinking about your color choices.  Choose now & edit later. 🙂

As I’ve said before, if people say dance like no one’s watching, how about draw as if you’re not going to upload it? 😀

By the way, when picking palettes, you may use your Faber-Castell Connector Pens to test out if a palette works for you since you can easily connect the pens to and detach them from each other. 🙂

Faber-Castell Connector PensTip # 3: Test the colors on your paper first.
This is true for most art materials.  Color reflects differently on every material.  I do this for watercolors too.  The colors tend to be different on the packaging, on paper and once it’s dry. 🙂 I usually have a scratch paper beside me when I work so I can see which pens produce which color.

Connector Pens Tandang SoraTip #4: Everything you can imagine is real. – Pablo Picasso
I was researching on a bunch of quotes the other night & I stumbled upon this.  I think Pablo wrote it brilliantly.  This is where the fun starts.  Did our heroes have orange / red orange hair? Nope.  Did Tandang Sora have rosy cheeks? We don’t know for sure.  However, if you’re creating stylized drawings or at the very least not attempting to create realistic images, feel free to play around with the colors & be ready to discover something new. 🙂

Faber-Castell Connector Pens come in so many colors so just imagine the possibilities!

Styled WorkspaceTip #5: Inspiration is everywhere.

I know I’ve used this line several times.  I would tell people that I get inspired when I travel & I get to enrich my color palette not just by looking at sceneries but even when I visit grocery stores and search for packaging inspiration.  But really, when you’re loaded with deadlines and when you have a baby in tow, you don’t really have to look far for inspo.  (Honestly, I really thought that the line would go through mom’s heads were “Oh how I miss travelling now that I can’t go out because I have a baby.”  I didn’t know that it was more of, “Oh no.  I don’t want to put Riley in an inconvenient situation. Let’s postpone our travels.)  

Surround your desk with stuff that you like.  As Robert Alejandro once shared, things that you see will consciously or unconsciously affect your work.  I have these origami cubes on my desk and they’ve been in the house since I made them back in 2011.   I just realized that things around you–your house, your desk, the patterns (or lack thereof) in the dresses your wear and even the sprinkles on your doughnut will have an effect on your work. Haha.

Well, that’s it so far.  I could go on forever (umm..maybe not forever but a few more paragraphs about this) but I must stop now.  I’ll be posting the process video on Instagram (@googlygooeys) in an hour or so.  Also, if you’d like to see the process behind the filming of the process (talk about inception), we’re on Snapchat too as GooglyGooeys. 🙂

Just in case you’re wondering, I used the big Faber-Castell Pitt Pens pen for my black outline and Faber-Castell Connector Pens for the rest of the doodles.  Pitt Pens are available in shops like Scribe & CraftCarrot.com while Connector Pens are available in all National Bookstore branches. 🙂

If you can’t get enough of these coloring tips, while going through my Twitter stream, I also stumbled upon an awesome article on Digital Arts featuring some of my favorite artists. <3

Also, just for fun, I tried that thing that went 1 Like = 1 Fact About Yourself but changed it to 1 Like = 1 Color / Art Material Advice.  I have a long way to go to be able to complete the 966 tips :O but I was able to Tweet 73 so far. 🙂  Check out the pinned Tweet here.

If you have any other stuff in mind that I might have missed, let me know. 🙂

‘Til Then!


Tippy 😀

P.S. Sign ups for August workshops are ongoing at bit.ly/GGworkshops. 🙂

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8 years ago

Yay! Thanks for all these tips Tippy! These should come in handy the next time I try to DIY something especially if it involves paint. 800+ tips to go. Hihi. 🙂

Eunice Panopio
Eunice Panopio
8 years ago

really love your signature palette!

Ellaisa Jhoy Macatangay
Ellaisa Jhoy Macatangay
8 years ago

I really love your color palette and I noticed that you have a pantone color palette cards on your desk. May I know where you bought that?

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