Tips for Using a Drawing Palette

Drawing is a form of art that has been around for centuries. From cave paintings to modern digital illustrations, drawing has evolved and adapted to different mediums and techniques. One of the essential tools for any artist, whether traditional or digital, is a drawing palette. A drawing palette is a surface used for mixing and holding different colors of paint or other drawing materials. It is an essential tool for creating a wide range of colors and shades in a drawing. In this article, we will discuss some tips for using a drawing palette effectively.

Understanding the Different Types of Drawing Palettes

Before we dive into the tips for using a drawing palette, it is essential to understand the different types of palettes available in the market. The type of palette you choose will depend on your personal preference and the type of drawing materials you use. Here are some of the most common types of drawing palettes:

  • Traditional Wooden Palette: This is the most common type of palette used by traditional artists. It is made of wood and has a smooth surface for mixing colors. Wooden palettes are durable and can be used for a long time if taken care of properly.
  • Disposable Paper Palette: As the name suggests, this type of palette is made of disposable paper sheets. It is a convenient option for artists who do not want to spend time cleaning their palettes after each use. However, it is not as durable as a wooden palette.
  • Glass Palette: A glass palette is a popular choice among oil and acrylic painters. It has a smooth surface that is easy to clean and allows for easy color mixing. However, it can be fragile and needs to be handled with care.
  • Plastic Palette: A plastic palette is a budget-friendly option for artists. It is lightweight, easy to clean, and can be used with a variety of drawing materials. However, it may not be as durable as a wooden or glass palette.

Tips for Using a Drawing Palette

Now that we have a basic understanding of the different types of drawing palettes, let’s look at some tips for using them effectively:

1. Prepare Your Palette Before Starting

Before you start drawing, it is essential to prepare your palette. This includes cleaning it if you are using a reusable palette and arranging your drawing materials in an organized manner. This will save you time and make the drawing process more efficient.

2. Use a Limited Number of Colors

When using a drawing palette, it can be tempting to use a wide range of colors. However, using too many colors can make your drawing look chaotic and uncoordinated. Instead, try to limit the number of colors you use to create a more cohesive and harmonious drawing.

3. Start with Light Colors

When mixing colors on your palette, it is always a good idea to start with lighter colors and gradually add darker colors. This will help you achieve the desired shade without wasting too much paint or other drawing materials.

4. Keep Your Palette Clean

It is essential to keep your palette clean while working on a drawing. This will prevent colors from getting mixed unintentionally and help you achieve more accurate shades. You can use a palette knife or a damp cloth to clean your palette between color changes.

5. Use the Right Tools

The type of tools you use on your palette can make a significant difference in the outcome of your drawing. For example, a palette knife is a great tool for mixing colors, while a brush can be used for applying the mixed colors on your drawing surface. Make sure to use the right tools for the job to achieve the best results.

6. Experiment with Different Techniques

Using a drawing palette gives you the freedom to experiment with different techniques and create unique effects in your drawing. For example, you can try blending colors on the palette before applying them to your drawing surface or use a dry brush technique to create texture. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and see what works best for you.

7. Use a Separate Palette for Each Medium

If you work with different drawing mediums, it is a good idea to use a separate palette for each one. This will prevent colors from getting mixed unintentionally and help you achieve more accurate shades. It will also save you time and effort in cleaning your palette between medium changes.

8. Use a Palette Cover

If you are using a reusable palette, it is a good idea to invest in a palette cover. A palette cover will protect your palette from dust and keep your colors fresh for a longer time. It is especially useful if you work on a drawing over a period of several days.

9. Clean Your Palette Properly

After you are done with your drawing, it is essential to clean your palette properly. This will prevent colors from drying and getting stuck on the palette, making it difficult to clean later. Use warm water and a mild soap to clean your palette, and make sure to dry it thoroughly before storing it.

Case Study: The Importance of a Drawing Palette in Digital Art

While drawing palettes are commonly associated with traditional art, they are also an essential tool for digital artists. In digital art, a drawing palette is a virtual tool that allows artists to mix and blend colors on a digital canvas. It is an essential tool for creating realistic and vibrant digital paintings.

One example of the importance of a drawing palette in digital art is the work of digital artist, Lois van Baarle. She is known for her stunning digital illustrations that often feature vibrant and realistic colors. In an interview with ImagineFX, she mentioned that she uses a drawing palette extensively in her digital paintings to achieve the desired colors and shades.

Lois also shared some tips for using a drawing palette in digital art, such as starting with a limited number of colors and experimenting with different blending modes. She also emphasized the importance of keeping the drawing palette clean and organized to achieve more accurate colors in the final artwork.


A drawing palette is an essential tool for any artist, whether traditional or digital. It allows artists to mix and blend colors to create a wide range of shades and achieve the desired effect in their artwork. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can use a drawing palette effectively and create stunning drawings that showcase your creativity and skills.

Remember to choose the right type of palette for your needs, keep it clean, and experiment with different techniques to achieve unique effects. With practice and patience, you will become more comfortable using a drawing palette and see a significant improvement in your artwork.