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Finding colour inspiration in the everyday

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

I am often asked where I get my ideas for colours from, and my answer is everywhere. It can be from a film, a piece of clothing, a magazine article or from being out in nature.

This week I have been working on some new ideas for The Village Green. I've wanted to add some pretty floral patterns to the range to break up the British landscape illustrations I've created, I also have a new local landmark I'd like to include in my 'scenes'. I was given these beautiful Portuguese soaps for Christmas by my mother-in-law and thought their combination of colours was unusual and beautiful.

I also picked up February's issue of Country Living and they have a lovely article on pastels which reminded me I really should explore some ideas ready for the Spring. I need to create a new palette that sits with my existing colours but brings something different to the set. Hard when you've used all the colours under the rainbow already.

“There is much written about colour theory, books, articles, you can even have your 'colour's' done. For me I gravitate towards Spring and Summer shades. Warm, bright tones ranging from an icy green to bright pinks”

Nally - Sabonete Clássico Azeitona - Classic Olive Oil Soaps - can bought from -

How to decide on a combination

As a designer I have Pantone® books to hand which are a great help when deciding which combination works best but you can always use paint charts or swatches from DIY stores - they free and come in hundreds of colours.

Pantone® books are available from Pantone® or I use

I hold each of the chips to the items or photo I have and match as closely as I can, then possibly tweak the shade up or down the chart to get the right mix. I often go for 3 bright colours and then add some neutral tones such as beige or charcoal grey. All my designs have a splash of white as I think it creates a very clean look - I'm not an off white girl but if you are drawn to autumnal and winter colours you might be - cream can warm up a cool palette.

A quick sketch of the shapes I want to work with - in this case - some poppies, I scan it in and then redraw on my Ipad using Procreate or Draw. This allows me to get the clean lines I like in my illustrations. It also allows me to swap colours around and play with further combinations.

You'll see in my working patterns below how I've combined the colours I've picked up from the set of soaps but it's a work in progress and you'll have to wait and see what I settle on...

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