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Your Color Palette

I’ve really, really, really been struggling to write since around March. Stephanie and I were on a hike not that long ago and talking about how hard it is to even drag ourselves to a notebook or computer. I think part of this, at least for me is that there’s so many bad things going on, one after another, that it feels impossible to process anything. And because I haven’t processed any of it, it’s overwhelming, and seems too draining to even attempt to process it on the page.

That is all to say, that once I give myself permission to write something shitty, simply for the sake of writing, I am always glad I did it. I am a person who loves structure, so having prompts to guide me, particularly in a time when I feel entirely deprived of new ideas, has been a saving grace.

I’ve been doing a lot of illustration and sketchbook work lately and that has felt so nourishing. I also think that it’s a great way to get into writing when you really don’t want to write. This prompt is all about combining the two things (don’t worry if you feel like you can’t draw- I’m not asking you to draw the Mona Lisa) in an effort to loosen up and think about things in small, digestible, bites.

Let’s just jump in and see what happens!

  1. Get out a piece of paper or a sketchbook, along with some paints/markers/crayons/colored-pencil/really any kind of art materials that you have at home in different colors.

  2. Draw (or print out) two color wheels. If you printed them out, glue them onto your paper or into your notebook. Download the Emotional Color Palette Sheet Here.

  3. Fill out one of them with your chosen materials. Get creative, you don’t need to use all the same material.

    1. A hue is what we often call color - this will go in the middle row of the color wheel and will be your standard red/blue/green etc colors. (they’re labeled on the sample so you can look at that for reference.

    2. A tint is that hue mixed with a bit of white- these go in the top row of the color wheel.

    3. A shade is the hue mixed with a bit of black- these go in the innermost row of the color wheel

  4. Next, I want you to paint a small swatch of each of those colors from the color wheel onto your paper/sketchbook. Leave a bit of room after each color to write a word or sentence. We will get to that in just a moment.

  5. Finally I want you to create some color schemes in the following ways (there’s an example below)

    1. Create one scheme that is monochromatic- using one single hue, vary the tints, shades and saturations

    2. Create one scheme that is analogous - using colors that are next to one another on the color wheel i.e. red,orange,yellow

    3. Create one scheme that is complementary- using colors that are across from each other on the color wheel i.e. red and green or blue and orange

    4. Create a Triatic scheme using colors that create an equally spaced triangle on the color wheel i.e. red, yellow, blue or yellow-orange, purple, green. (there will only be three colors in this scheme whereas in the others you can have as many as you’d like)

  6. Now onto the writing, I know you were wondering when exactly that’s going to come into play. Well, here we are. Colors can be so emotional and are often attached to memories. In each section of your blank color wheel, I want you to think of a memory that reminds you of the color in the color wheel that you’ve already filled out. Write that memory in the space where the color would go. If you want to get really fancy, you could even write it with a pen or marker of the same color. **note if you don’t have room, you can just number the spaces and write your memories on a corresponding page.

  7. Next we are going to move onto the swatches you created. There should be room to write at least one word, but maybe more after each color swatch. After each of these I want you to write an emotion that you associate with it. This could be as simple as “joyful,” or you could even go a little more in depth.

  8. When you’re done, you’ll have an emotional color palette that you can keep expanding on, or simply have nearby when you’re trying to write a tough story or essay. It’s nice to be able to refer back to the colors when you need to spice up your descriptions.

We want to see what you’ve created, so make sure that you tag us on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #WanderingWritings so we can see what you’ve done and share it!


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