Thursday, October 31, 2013


In my previous blog MY PALETTE I talked about my physical palette, and the choice of pigments that I lay out on that palette.   There is one other way we can define this word palette:  the color scheme chosen for an individual piece or book.  It's important to remember that a limited number of colors on the physical palette does not mean a limited number of color schemes available for one's art.  In fact, I myself start with a limited choice of colors on my palette, and then focus on an even smaller selection of colors out of that palette from which to create a color scheme for a project.  The illustration above, from my book LITTLE BROWN BEAR, was created from the list of colors I gave in that earlier blog   (  For this image, I used all of the earth colors from my palette, plus a green, and a couple of reds. But I hardly touched my purple, blues, and blacks.
In contrast, for this illustration, from my book JAMIE'S STORY, I avoided the earth colors almost completely.  Instead, I focused on my purple, rose, cerulean blue, and cadmium yellows.  Greens were created from the blue and the yellow, keeping all the colors cool, clear, and vibrant. 
In this illustration, from WENDY WATSON'S FROG WENT A-COURTING, I also stayed away from the earth colors, but concentrated this time on all the variations of blues, greens, and yellows that I could come up with.  Touches of pinks and reds warmed the image, and the color scheme overall is one of pastels---very suitable for this spring-time tale of love.
In this illustration from FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT, I've gone back to my earth colors, but have also relied heavily on reds and yellows.  And the color itself is strong, deep, sturdy, and vigorous---no pastels here.  A very appropriate approach for this old American folk song.
In this illustration from John Bierhorst's IS MY FRIEND AT HOME, I relied very heavily on all of my earth colors, especially yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and light red, to reflect the Southwestern locale, but I also incorporated a strong element of darkened blues, purples, and greens.  These acted as a cool counter-balance and framing device for all the warm earth colors, and also echoed that cold, dark aspect of the desert.  

Several examples of what can be done with the same limited palette---and I've barely scratched the surface.


  1. Such fabulous artwork! So beautiful!

  2. I really enjoy knowing all the behind the scenes info!

  3. As always, I appreciate the insight into your process and these details of palette. . .