Art Journal Colors: How to Balance the Brights

Biker shorts, high bangs, and mismatched neon–the ’80s left quite a memory for those of us who lived through it. I was an adolescent at the time, so you better believe that I pushed the styles to the limit without fear of offending the fashion police. It was fun while it lasted.

Dina Wakley invites the bold colors of that decade into her art with open arms, and uses a particular technique to keep her mixed-media art from going over the top.

“I love bright colors,” Dina says. “I often say that my work looks like the 1980s threw up all over it. Hot pink, lime green, turquoise . . . these colors just make me happy. Though you may think that using all of these colors together would overpower an art journal page, I manage to get many bright colors into my work. The secret? I use the gallon/quart/pint rule.” Keep reading to see what Dina means.

Art journal ideas with Dina Wakley |
Artwork by Dina Wakley
Art journal ideas with Dina Wakley |

Art Journal Tips by Dina Wakley

The gallon/quart/pint rule is a technique for using bright colors together, but not in equal amounts.
• First, select a gallon color. You’ll use this color the most on your page (often in a background).
• Then pick a quart color. You’ll use less of this color, no more than half the amount of the gallon color.
• Next, choose a pint color. Aim for using no more than half the amount of your quart color. Use your pint color in small amounts, maybe in only one area on the work.

By decreasing the amount of each bright color you choose, you can use all the bright colors you love while still controlling them. ~Dina

Download Dina’s Color Explorations Art Lesson for more explanation on how to balance your use of colors for art journaling and more. This lesson includes a video demonstration, bonus artwork, and a step-by-step tutorial on how to make an art journal page using colors that are bright, but controlled. And if you want to tease your hair while you’re at it, I won’t judge. 😉

Like, stay bodacious,

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Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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