Strong 2-color palette from "The Beader's Guide to Color"

Some people erroneously equate more color with better palettes. At the beginning of a class they tell me they want to learn to be great at color so they can use lots and lots of colors in a piece. Using lots of colors simultaneously represents  their idea of what it means to be good at color.

Using many colors successfully in one piece is one very tiny representation of what it looks like when you are good with color. To me, it is one of the weakest.

Far stronger are the color palettes of 2 or 3 colors. These make more of a statement. They take more conscious planning.They require careful proportions. They demand attention be paid to value and intensity of each of their members.

Strong 4-color palette from "The Beader's Color Palette"

The foulest color concoctions in the bead world these days are the free form, chaotic stews of 10+ colors with no order, no form, no design.

Challenge yourself to build palettes limited to two or three colors. Employ a family of colors to work as one: in other words, if one of your palette members is red, use various shades, tones, tints, values, and intensities of that red. Teach yourself to lean on proportions, value, intensity, rather than relying only on hue to create enduring  color combinations.

Strong palettes forged from two, three, and four colors will be your most memorable.

Learn more about color in Margie’s comprehensive color and beading book, The Beader’s Guide to Color.