Being Brave with Colour

For a long time I was very nervous about using colour in my scrapbooking – and other crafts.

I knew about the spectrum from school art classes. I knew that there was three primary colours – red, blue and yellow. I also knew that each of those colours had a ‘complimentary colour’, which was simply made by mixing the other two. So red goes well with green, blue with orange and yellow looks great with a spot of purple.

And that is pretty much as brave as I got. Complimentary colours go… so I was on safe ground. But all my pages were in one of these three colour schemes! Oh yes, I did use black and white too – after all, they go with anything, thank goodness! But I was so scared to try anything more daring. This was boring for anyone looking at my albums.. and boring for me too!

The Moment of Truth

Then one day I was reading a craft magazine and in an article someone mentioned that they had based a scrapbook page’s colour scheme on one they admired … from a book cover. Suddenly I saw the light! I didn’t have to worry about making up colour schemes that looked great – instead I should do it the other way around.

Now I am always on the look out for colour schemes that I like. Yes, book covers are a great source of this. If I happen to spot a book using a colour scheme of deep green and warm orange, and think it looks smart and Halloweeny… well there is the perfect scheme for my next Halloween page!

I can not emphasize enough how very easy this is. And the really brilliant side effect is the more colour schemes I look at in this critical manner the more I have learnt about how colour works. I find myself tweaking now – I do like this blue and white scheme, but I think a dash of pillow-box red would add some great drama to it!

Finding Things to Inspire

I have already mentioned books, both fiction and non-fiction ones are great sources. Want a romantic page scheme? Have a look at a couple of romantic novels, what colours are their covers using? You don’t have to own the books, remember, just go look at some covers on Amazon 🙂

Whenever I travel around, I check out room decor – especially (I have to admit) restaurant bathrooms, hehe. I make a mental note of interesting combinations of colours that I find attractive. I will also confess that I have been known to take a quick snap with my phone-camera, for future reference. I dread to think what someone would think if they came into the room whilst I was snapping pictures of the loo decor.

Clothing! Sometimes I see a person on TV, or in the street, and think ‘oh, that top and skirt work well together, very summery’ – ah, perfect to borrow for a summery scrapbook page then! I also make a note of things like whether a pattern and plain fabric have been used. I even collect images from magazines and catalogues of clothing combos that I find pleasing.

Advertisements can be a very rich source for inspiration, for colour schemes and much more! I will do a proper Sunday Snippet on this subject in the future. For now, have a glance through some magazines and see which advertisements leap out at you.

How I Assess a Colour Scheme – and decide if I want to nab it for my own use!

I jump on things that catch my eye. After all, I am looking for things that are attractive, and we usually notice things that attract us – rather the meaning of the word, I guess, hehe

I look at a potential colour scheme and ask myself these questions:

How does it make me feel? Lots of black and dark colours can be spooky feeling, bright jewel colours are cheerful, pastels are peaceful, red and green or gold is Christmassy and so on…

How many colours-proper are there? I look for those colours that are significant in the design, usually this is just two or three colours. I will look at any other colours involved too, as sometimes a little of them will be the perfect finishing touch.

What sort of intensities are used? Are the colours very deep, super soft, distressed, bright and bold or even blending into each other a lot?

How are the colours working together? Are they solid colours, patterns like stripes or spots, more complex patterns, gradients?

What sorts of scrapbook pages do they suggest to me? A soft pink and gingham scheme could be perfect for a new baby girl. A bright red, blue and yellow scheme could lend itself well to a ‘back to school’ page. How about a pink and grey scheme for a page about an event in the 1980s (when that colour scheme was VERY in fashion)?

So if you are nervous about what colour schemes to use for your projects, why not have a try at my ‘not so secret’ technique – and just borrow some from sources that you have already decided attract you. So much easier than starting from a blank page. Happy scrapping 🙂



Experiment with colour – Scrapbook snippet no 10

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