What is a Color Chart?
A color chart is a piece of paper or card that has color swatches or samples of the colors that are part of a set of coloring media: colored pencils, pens, markers, etc. The chart is often arranged in a grid with one square per color. Each color usually has an identifier, usually a name or a number or both, printed near to the color sample. See the example color chart which contains color samples of ALDI Scholar Color Pencils.
Why do you need a Color Chart?
One of the really useful tips I learned early on was to always create a color chart for each of my media. This was something I learned the hard way 🙂 . It’s not always easy to tell the actual color of a tool simply by looking at it. Often the colors on the barrel of your pencil or pen may not be a true indicator of the color of the pigment or ink. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of exactly which shade of a particular color you were using. If, like me, you don’t always finish a picture in one sitting, it can be helpful to know what colors you were actually using.
Do you like to plan out your color scheme before you start coloring? If you do, then you need an accurate way to do this. A color chart can be an excellent tool to help with choosing color schemes. I like to create color charts for each of my media and each of the brands. That way I can always look at the chart to help me choose the shades I want to use in my pictures. This is often easy when the pencils or pens I am using has an assigned color name or number by the manufacturer.
How do you create a Color Chart?
An easy way to create a Color chart is to take a piece of blank paper and color in a sample spot for each of the colors in the set of pens, pencils, markers, etc you are using and write the name and / or number of the specific color under or beside the sample. An even easier way is to download and use the Free Color Chart Templates I have prepared. You can access these free templates once you Sign Up.
So what do you do when your media don’t have color names or numbers?
Not every media brand provides a color identifier. Often there will be no name or number for the colors in a set. Sometimes, but not always, the manufacturers will have a color painted on the barrel. Even where this is the case, often this isn’t an accurate indicator of the color of the pigment or the ink. Some sets of pencils and pens have multiple shades of the one color. This makes it confusing to know which particular shade you want or even which shade you were using last time you were coloring your picture.
One way to deal with this is to assign each pencil a number yourself. For each of the pencils, pens, markers, etc I have where no color identifier is provided by the manufacturer I apply a simple numbering system. I use a black or silver Sharpie to write a number on the barrel of the pen or pencil. I then use that number as the identifier on my color chart and place it below a color sample of that pen or pencil’s color swatch. Click on the links to see photos of my completed color charts.
Download your Free Color Chart Templates
I have prepared Color Chart Templates for the following coloring media that have Company provided color identifiers:
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Colour Pencils
- Faber-Castell Classic Colour Pencils
- Marco Raffine Colored Pencils
- Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
- Staedtler ergo soft 157 Coloured Pencils
- Staedtler Triplus Fineliners
- Staedtler Luna Coloured Pencils
- Staedtler Noris Club Coloured Pencils
- Crayola Colored Pencils
- Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens (Artist Pack)
- Bic Mar-its (Markings) Fine Markers
- Mont Marte Essential Coloured Pencils
There is also a Blank Template Color Chart for you to use with your own coloring media. This template allows you to create and record your own identifiers.
How do your store your color charts?
I have a number of different sets of coloring media. I like to create one color chart for each brand and type of media. So that I have a good comparison of all the colors I have, I use the same paper for each of my color charts (Reflex® Ultra White A4 80 GSM). This is similar to 20lb printer paper in the USA. This way I can put my charts side by side so I can see the differences between colors and brands. I also keep each of my color charts in a clear plastic sheet protector. These are then filed inside a ring binder so I can easily reference them as I need them.