Colour is one of my most favourite parts of creating a scrapbook layout or mixed media project.
It is such an expressive part of the creative process & has the ability to stimulate our emotions as well as make
a subtle or bold statement. By taking a closer look at colour we can learn how to make it work for us.



Basic Colour Principles

There are some practical principles for using colours harmoniously. By understanding these colour
principles & applying them to your projects you may find being creative is easy, rewarding & will help
you to confidently create your own colour combinations.




1. The Colour Wheel



Colour Heirachy
Primary Colours - cannot be made by mixing other colours together
Secondary Colours - are made by mixing 2 primary colours together {equal amounts}
Tertiary Colours - are made by mixing secondary colours with primary colours





Colour Temperatures
Hot Warm Cool Cold
Red-Violet Orange Yellow-Green Blue
Red Yellow-Orange Green Blue-Violet
Red-Orange Yellow Blue-Green Violet


How to use Colour
To create something in the world of scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting and mixed media will almost always
begin with colour. Using a colour wheel can help you decide on the colour scheme of your project.


The following are suggestions that you can use when making this decision.
* PHOTO/S - pick a colour from your photo/s and create a colour palette that works to make the photo content stand out.
Bazzill has a brilliant app that helps you pick a colour scheme from a photo.
* COLOUR PALETTE - pick a colour palette by either using papers that you LOVE or google 'colour (or color) palette' to help
you find something that will inspires you {this is one of my favourite ways to create.
* THEME - what message are you trying to get across? What are your photos about? Is your project for a girl or boy?
By using the "message" or "story" to inspire your choice you can also find a colour scheme.
* MOOD - what mood are you trying to express? The way mood can altered by colour is explained a little bit further on.


Colour & Mixed Media

I am inspired by many things when creating a mixed media canvas or page in my art journal. COLOUR plays a very big part in the
creating so I always have my whole collection of pens, markers, paints, inks and pencils at the ready. I often start with a quote or
statement in mind and then the colour palette emerges.
As a graphic artist it is so important for me to keep a visual diary handy so that I can look for inspiration when I'm stuck.
I have all sorts of things pasted into this diary; tags from clothes, magazine pics and layouts, wrapping paper that has a beautiful
colour palette, fonts, colour swatches from my local hardware store, material, laout ideas from crafting magazines,
blog addresses, sketches of ideas I've had in the middle of the night {this happens way to often :) }
This visual Diary is also useful with my scrapbooking & mixed media projects. Colour inspiration can come from the strangest of places.




2. Tonal Variations
When you add either black or white to the colours on the colour wheel you are creating a range of tonal variations
Hue - is the identity of a colour, red, blue, yellow, etc. The term Hue is also used to describe the basic colour of a shade or tint.
For example, pink is a tint of the red hue & navy is a shade of the blue hue.
Shade is when you darken a colour (a hue) by adding black
Tint is when you lighten a colour (a hue) by adding white

In this image you can see the difference between a Shade & a Tint




3. Combining Colours


Monochromatic - Using colours that are shade or tint variations of the same hue.


Monochromatic Relationship



Complementary - Using colours that are directly across from each other on a colour wheel.


Complementary Relationship



Split-Complementary - Using one hue plus two others equally spaced from its complement.


Split-Complementary Relationship



Double-Complementary - Using two complementary colour sets; the distance between selected complementary pairs will effect the overall contrast of the final composition.


Double-Complementary Relationship



Sympathetic (Analogous) - Using colours located adjacent to each other on a colour wheel. This also applies to the tonal variations of those colours.


Analogous Relationship



Sympathetic + Neutral - Using a few colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel as well as a neutral colour.



Complementary + Neutral - Using colours that are directly across from each other on a colour wheel with a neutral colour added.




4. Proportions


Proportioning the colours that you have chosen for your project will help give another layer of interest. Planning out your colour
scheme is made easier when you look the proportion of these colours. An example of this is to work with a ration such as
60% (Dominant) 30% (Subdominant) 10% (Accent).
These percentages/ratios can be adapted depending on the number of colours you are working with.


These proportions have a purpose. To understand this purpose is to think in 3 groups:
The Dominant Colour: proportionally the largest expanse of colour, e.g. the ground
The Subdominant (or subordinate) Colour: the second largest expanse of colour after the dominant
The Accent Colour: the colour with the smallest relative area. Accent colours are those with a small relative
area, but offer a contrast because of a variation in hue, intensity, or saturation.




5. Colour & Emotion
Colour has been used by advertising companies for years to evoke emotions in their target market, "encouraging"
them to buy their product. We can use the same principles with papercrafting projects.


Here are some examples of what colour can do for our 'moods'


Red is the colour of fire & blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger,
strength, power, determination.
It is also the colour of passion, desire & love. Not surprising that it is
the colour of Valentines Day.
It brings text & images to the foreground & can
be used as an accent colour to stimulate peoples attention.
It is an energetic colour.
It is widely used to also indicate danger.
Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.

Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine
qualities and passiveness.

Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership,
courage, longing, malice & wrath.



Orange is associated with sunshine & joy.
It is highly visible & can be used to draw the eye to important details.
It represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination
& encouragement.
It is a hot colour so gives the sensation of heat but isn't as aggressive as red.
It has an invigorating effect & stimulates mental activity.
It is the colour of Autumn {Fall}.
It is also associated with healthy food & stimulates appetite



Yellow is the colour of sunshine.
It’s associated with joy, happiness, cheerfulness, intellect, and energy.

It produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity,
& generates muscle energy.

It is often associated with food.

Bright, pure yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxi cabs are painted this colour
When overused, it may have a disturbing effect; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms.

It is seen before other colours when placed against black,
this combination is often used to issue a warning.

It is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the
most important elements of your design.

it is an unstable and spontaneous colour, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest
stability and safety.

Light yellow tends to disappear into white, so it usually needs a dark
colour to highlight it.



Green is the colour of nature & symbolizes growth, hope, harmony,
freshness & fertility.

It is used for exit & go signs giving a sense of safety.

It is believed to have great healing power.

It is the most restful colour for the human eye; it can improve vision.

It suggests stability and endurance.
Dark green is also commonly associated with money, ambition, greed, and jealousy.

Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.

Olive green is the traditional colour of peace



Blue is the colour of the sky and sea, it is often associated with depth and stability.

It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

It is considered beneficial to the mind and body.

Can slow human metabolism and produces a calming effect.

It is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness.

It is linked to consciousness and intellect.

It is a masculine colour; according to studies, it is highly accepted among males

When used together with warm colours like yellow or red, blue can create high-impact,
vibrant designs; for example, blue-yellow-red is a perfect colour scheme for a superhero :)
Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.
Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.



Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red & is associated with royalty.

It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, & ambition.

It conveys wealth and extravagance.

It is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.

According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer
purple to all other colours.

It is a very rare colour in nature; some people consider it to be artificial.
Light purple is a good choice for a feminine design &
evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.

Dark purple evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration.



White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity.

It is considered to be the colour of perfection.

It means safety, purity, and cleanliness.

As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation.
It can represent a successful beginning.

In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness because it’s the colour of snow.

It is an appropriate colour for charitable organizations;
angels are usually imagined wearing white clothes.

It is associated with hospitals, doctors, and sterility.



Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery.

It is a mysterious colour associated with fear and the unknown.

It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor, ‘black death’).

Its implies strength and authority.
It is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and
prestigious colour (black tie, black Mercedes).

It is the symbol of grief.

It gives the feeling of perspective and depth, but a black background
diminishes readability.

It contrasts well with bright & neon colours.

Combined with red or orange – other very powerful colours – black can give an aggressive impression.





What does colour mean to you?

Start a visual diary that can help inspire you when you are a bit stuck.
Ideas for diary are;
Do a couple of pages for each colour.
Include samples of the colours showing light to dark and even add a tag you have decorated as an example.
Share the mood you feel when you see these colours.
This is a great way to build a mood board especially if you know what feel you are going for with your art piece.
Create a colour theme from pictures you find that have beautiful palettes.
This is one of my favourite ways to be inspired. There are some great websites and apps where you can load a
picture and it will help choose the colours with you. Bazzil have a fantastic app which I use often.
Collect paint samples to help with making colour palettes that you find pleasing.
Add your own thoughts to these colour palettes. How do they make you feel? What themes would they suite? etc





Colour (Color) Wheels are an excellent tool for anyone who may find selecting the right colour combinations a bit of a challenge.
Colour palettes are my favourite way to design a layout for scrapbooking, card making & for mixed media.



This video demonstrates the Rainbow Color Selector.

Click here for this video



This link will take you to the Creative Color Wheel website for information on their product