How To Create Your Dream Color Palette

How To Create Your Dream Color Palette

Hey everyone! Welcome back to 25 Sweetpeas! Today I wanted to share something that really helped me in 2020, and hopefully can help you this year! Chances are if you are here on my blog you enjoy art in some shape way or form, so today I am sharing a bit I have learned about how to select colors and create your dream color palette.

At the start of the year last year I was in a creative rut. I’d just done Nailmas and all of my art designs, be it on nails or as an illustration, were all over the place color wise. I looked back on it and all together the pieces were very meh in my mind. Now, don't get me wrong, that’s a-ok! It was the first year of me mixing both my nails and my illustrations so it was all new. However in the new year I wanted to change things. I wanted everything to look cohesive, and feel a bit more me and reflect my personal style. So I started to think about my blog, and social channels as a room that I got to decorate, and that changed all of the things! In the spaces I like decorating I wouldn’t just pop up willy-nilly decor that didn’t all look good together, which is basically what I had been doing on my blog and Instagram in December of 2019. So I was ready for a change!

However relating back to nail polish and illustrations I was working with a full rainbow, and sn unlimited option of colors, which honestly can be overwhelming. Polish wise I had various types of polishes to consider, cremes, foils, pearls, jellies, glitters, flakies, pastels, neons, and the list goes on! Then illustration wise I was dealing with 60 various gouache paints of different make ups, meaning some metallics, cremes, different levels of opacity, and so much more, then digitally I literally had every color option imaginable. Every tone, hue, shade, and so on it was a bit overwhelming!

So last January I was just unsure of what to do!I kept wondering how do I make the colors I use in my nail art go with my illustration work because I love both equally but don’t love how they look together. Eventually at some point I discovered Gia Graham.  Her work is always lovely! It all looks cohesive and is just OH so pretty, and very inspiring! So I kept exploring and what I noticed was she was using a limited color palette. You could probably count on your hands how many colors were being used in each piece and it was wonderful!! Everything was the right tone, they went together perfectly. Then via one of her posts I found out that she had a monthly email newsletter that featured a color palette for us to use so I thought hey, this might help! I gave it a go and right off the bat the first color palette I received helped me so much!! I started learning to use non traditional for things you would not normally do, and it worked. 

I did this for a few months and got comfortable using limited color palettes. I even transferred this to my nail art. I would match the colors to my polishes and use those limited colors in my nail art too. Things started to look all nice together and it was fun and exciting! From then on out I tried to keep this going but kinda hit another wall, because I wasn’t making my sort of dream art or art that felt 100% 25 Sweetpeas. I still felt as if I was just going with the holiday or season. Which was not what I wanted for 25 Sweetpeas. 

So I took another challenge on, revamping the color amount, and making the colors what I wanted in my brand. To do this I started by using my core brand colors. A Coral, a Mint, and a lil bit of a yellow. From there I thought about the art I wanted to ideally create, beachy and tropical. I created a mood board on Pinterest, I also created one on Instagram via saving posts on IG. It was actually super fun and inspiring! It helped me envision what colors I wanted to use and make 25 Sweetpeas what I’d always wanted. I then created a color palette of about 60 colors. A big jump from 5 or 6 but at this point I was getting more comfortable and when you account for various shades you could have of one color this worked for me.  

I started using them in my art and planning out nail art utilizing the colors, and then I started putting them all together and suddenly it all worked. My work in all mediums looked cohesive and I was/am so happy about it! 💕 It felt more me. Creating became easier in the sense that I was excited to be working with my colors, not the seasons colors or holidays colors. In a way it was creatively freeing! I kept this going through holiday seasons too which I wasn’t sure was going to work. However I pushed through and it did work! I actually ended up creating some of my most favorite seasonal pieces! It’s so great!! I’m still doing it all to this day and I love it! 

Now that I’ve shared my process and how I sorted it all out let’s apply this to you! No matter what medium of art you are creating these tips/this process can work for you. 

Search for Inspiration! 

What colors make you smile, what color combos do you love? Make a Pinterest board of colors that you like, like this one. You will notice a lot of limited color palettes, which is great! Also if you are working digitally you may even find color palettes online  that give you Hex Codes! For instance this site, Design Seed, is very good for color palettes! There are also Instagram accounts you can follow and or look at for color palettes. Like Color Cafe ! At this point, don’t count anything out, save anything and everything you enjoy! 

How To Create Your Dream Color Palette

Create a Mood Board

Now that you have some color palettes saved let’s find out what you really like! This is sort of the extra fun part, it’s mood board time! Jump on Pinterest, or Instagram and start saving things you like into a “mood board” this can be as broad or narrow as you like, and it can be anything! See a landscape photo that inspires you, save it, see some food photography, save it, and so on! I started with building this board  , and then later expanded to seasonal ones that were already tailored to the colors I chose one of my faves is this one, and this because who knew this take on Halloween existed !  I also did this on Instagram via the lil save button on IG and created different board there too! Those aren’t shareable to my knowledge though, but just know you can do that there too if you want too!

How To Create Your Dream Color Palette

Narrow Your Colors Down

Now that you have an idea of what you really like let’s merge those above approaches together! Take a trip through your mood boards and really look at them. What themes are reoccurring? What colors keep popping up? Now go look at your color palette board, find one that looks close to the trends you were noticing in your mood board. Find something? Great!!! No worries if you didn’t tho, at this point now that you know what you are sort of looking for, go search for a color palette that fits what you have in your mind!  Now if you’ve still not found your ideal palette or you are feeling a little bleh about it, you can do what I did first off and find an email newsletter like Gia’s and sign up and use it, maybe play around with the hashtag she has for the color palette too that she has to go with it and see how others use it and this can spark some more creativity! 

How To Create Your Dream Color Palette

Picking the First Palette

One thing that is really important in this stage I think is using a limited palette! 5-8 colors is the perfect amount to start with! You will learn how to use the colors and adjust to using non traditional colors for things you wouldn't expect. If you are working digitally see if the palette has hex codes, or screen shot it and use a color picker! If you are working with tangible art mediums go on a color quest! Go and look for colors that match what you have paint wise or whatever medium you are using. I actually showed this process in a video last year if you want to see it, it varies from time to time but it’s a good look at my process! 

Using the Colors

Have fun experimenting with the colors! If your are struggling with it keep giving it a go, maybe if you are doing your nails try a skittle mani, or a dotticure! If you are working on paper or digitally, do some abstract work, or gradations or just do some simple sketching and playing! I did that at first and then a wave of ideas came and it was great. Keep thing going for as long as you want! I think the first color palette that I really enjoyed I used for about a month and still to this day have art on display from that month actually!


Ready to Move on

Now If you want.... to move on, do so! Expand the colors or maybe find a palette that feels even more like you! Once you’ve really learned how to use a limited color palette expanding a bit is very helpful and not super scary! You may want to redo the first 2 steps you did to make sure you still have colors you are interested in, but most likely you have a lot of the "ground work" done!  Then just go with it! Have fun with it, match things to all of the mediums you are using and it will all sort of just work out together and you’ll notice a cohesive look to everything! I now exclusively use a 60 color Color palette but keep the same colors main throughout all things, and just accent with a few of them. Also I've found that adding some saturation to an already existing shade is perfect for creating more shades when you need something for shading! So don't let anything daunt you when it comes to working with a palette, it may be weird at first but you will catch and and hopefully love it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and or found it helpful in some way! If you still have questions though feel free to comment down below and ask away! I’ll do my best to help out because I know how helpful this shift in my work was for me and I want to help you! 🙂


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