Love Color? Then Put Your Color Wheel to Work

The basic color wheel may seem like an overly simple tool, with its six colors typically divided into pie chart slices. But don’t underestimate its power–using a color wheel can add punch to your art journaling techniques. In the following Q&A with Cloth Paper Scissors editorial director Jeannine Stein, Pam discusses the usefulness of the color wheel and the importance of color in your art.

The timing is perfect. We’re kicking off Pam Carriker Week to celebrate Pam and everything this talented mixed-media artist has to offer. Start with the Pam Carriker Color Wheel Value Pack. It features Pam’s Color Page by Page: Using Color Wheels in Art Journals DVD (sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama!), two color wheel stencils, and a face map stencil, for perfect portraits.

Mixed-media art by Pam Carriker |
Mixed-media art by Pam Carriker, who teaches art journaling techniques and more in her DVDs and books.

Color Wheeling for Art Journals: a Q&A with Pam Carriker and Jeannine Stein

If you think you know everything about the color wheel, you have not met Pam Carriker. This talented artist and author has come up with innovative ways to create and use a color wheel–not just as a tool for working with color, but as an element in art journals. I caught up with Pam to ask her why the color wheel is an artist’s best friend.

JS: Working with color is a challenge for some artists. How does creating a color wheel offer a better understanding of color and how to use it?
PC: I’ve found that many artists who have a color wheel sitting around their studios somewhere don’t really use it. I pick mine up almost every time I play with color in my journals, as I often start on a background of leftover splotches of paint that I need to somehow make work. That’s where the color wheel comes in really handy. I use it to pick a palette to work with. I find working this way makes me stretch and work with color combinations that I might not otherwise try.

JS: We often think of color wheels as utilitarian things, but you use them as subjects in your art journals. Why did you start doing that?
PC: I think the color wheel itself is visually appealing, and it also serves a function on my art journal pages. In addition to using it as a visual element I also write down the medium, paint brand, name, and color number when possible, so when I refer back to that page I know exactly what I used.

JS: Besides using a color wheel, how else do you express different approaches to using color?
PC: I love to paint faces using different color combinations that aren’t the expected flesh tones. Sometimes I use an analogous color palette to present a calm and lovely feel, and other times I mix complementary colors together to get an earthy neutral color that gives a moody appearance to my work. I often work with a limited palette; it’s amazing how much you can do with one or two colors.

JS: How has using color wheels changed your artwork and the way you approach art journaling?
PC: Using color wheels in my artwork has greatly broadened my approach. I don’t just stick with what works, I stick my neck out and enjoy the thrill of making what could be a messy situation work. I’ve tried colors and color combinations that I never use in my other work, but in my art journal I’m pretty much fearless with my color wheel as my guide!

When you get the Pam Carriker Color Wheel Value Pack, you’ll be able to use the color wheel stencils to map your own shades. Imagine what this can add to your art journal pages!

Viva color!


Learn new mixed-media art techniques in this free eBook when you join our newsletter for daily tips, special offers, and more!


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.