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Hello Dear Reader,

Today I’m going to briefly talk about palettes and share a nice resource where we can go for well-designed palettes.

What is a Palette?

A palette is the range or set of colours used in a particular composition.

No traditional artwork can use an infinite variety of colours. The artist is limited to certain pigments and uses various mixtures of these pigments to create the colours used in a particular painting. One can possibly mix uncountable number of colours using variation of colour, brightness, and whiteness. However artists end up using only a small subset of colours in any piece of work.

The choice of which colours to use and where - is one of the most important decisions in any composition. Choice of colours impacts tonality, emotion, setting, time of day etc. of the painting.

How to Choose Colours in a Palette?

There is no correct choice of colours. It depends on the goals of the artist. However that does not mean that any set of colours is fine. One must have at least an intuitive understanding of colour theory to be able to pick the right colours. (I will write more on colour theory some other time.)

While choosing colours one must keep in mind the colour wheel, complementary colours, warmth of colour, colour harmony, tint, light and shade etc.

Preset Palette (Hand-picked Palette)

Even the brief discussion above shows that creating a palette is no easy task, and requires advanced knowledge. Therefore most beginner artists use a small subset of colours, a fixed preset palette for their artworks. These preset palettes have hand-picked colours which has been designed by an artist keeping in mind various factors - and can be used to create a certain type of artwork, and convey a certain mood. For e.g. a palette for a dystopian cyberpunk landscape.

Preset Palette’s for Pixel Art

When I started doing pixel art, most tutorials I read mentioned using a limited preset palette for your artwork. Every artist finds one or the other palette useful for the kind of work they do. Several of these palettes are available for download at Palette List ( I found this website really useful.

I started drawing with a 1-bit (two colours only) palette a few months ago and had really good results. The palette is called 1bit Monitor Glow Palette ( Here’s a portrait I made using this palette.

I’ve also started experimenting with a 2-bit palette called 2bit demichrome Palette (, and I’m having fun creating with it. Here’s a small study of a pear using this palette…

That’s it for palettes today. I hope you try out some of these palettes for your art or design work.

Happy arting,

Abhishek (art noob)