Watercolor Swatch Cards
I often get asked why I have a little deck of cards sitting on my desk with handmade watercolor swatch cards, why I go through the trouble of making them in the first place and so today I’m going to tell you why these little pieces of paper are so amazing and how they can make your painting process so much easier.
What many of you might not know about me yet is that I trained and worked as an art director and graphic designer at many of the biggest design agencies in New York for the greater part of my career. So while painting and drawing and being an artist has always been in my blood, my professional training was predominantly working on computers doing typesetting, packaging design, branding, logos, and more corporate client work.
The reason I mention this is that a lot of that history and the processes I picked up during that part of my career stayed with me and still influence my creative process to this day. One of the most essential tools in a designer’s arsenal are the use of swatch books. There are a lot of reasons why we use them, spanning from precision color accuracy to production as well as being able to really quickly and efficiently define a color palette and get it approved when we’re working with clients.
It’s sort of like being at a home improvement store and picking out paint chips And seeing what colors go together before painting your whole living room in a color.
So, I make these color swatches for basically the exact same reason. When I’m starting a project and trying to figure out if, for example, I want a warmer green or a cooler green to go into my color palette, I can put these chips side by side and immediately see if something sticks out too much, if the colors work together or if one of them is overpowering the rest. Of course, these aren’t the only color options for my painting and very often, the final colors will be a mixture of different pigments and colors without anything being straight from the tube but this always feels like a really good starting point to get a quick and efficient overview of the direction I want to take with my paints.
If you’re doing work for a client it’s even more convenient because you can get them to sign off and approve a color palette before you even start painting and that ensures that everyone is on the same page. No miscommunications or setting the wrong expectations because they’ll have an idea of what to expect and you can avoid a tricky situation where expectations are not aligned.
Hopefully this article helps you understand the benefits of using swatches.I guarantee you they'll make the color palette selection a breeze!