Monday, August 09, 2010

keeping a color journal


I am TOTALLY immersed in color over here- partially because of the online class that I am teaching right now but also because I am working on projects for my book, new work and challenging myself to understand and grow with color (a daily ritual in my life!). For me it is a MUST to practice, understand and work with color theory and I thought I would share a peek at my color journal and color notes. I keep a "color only" journal with me at all times and I also keep a digital color journal full of photos, inspiration and digital color palettes. I have found that when you work on a better relationship and better understanding of color in your creative life, the easiest place to start is by keeping journal. Keeping a journal that is dedicated only to color observation and reflection is a really wonderful way to build up a resources of information and a way to be more intentional when working with color. Here are a few tips for starting a color journal!


Carry a journal everywhere you go- it doesn't have to be fancy just a place to record inspiration.


Incorporate swatches of color and color combos.


Collect scraps of paper, photos, fabric, paint chips in colors that you like.

analogous scheme

Pay close attention to the colors that you enjoy, photos that pop, fashion that you love and record your findings-

How does a color combo make you feel?
What makes you notice certain colors?
How could you incorporate those colors into you work?

blue orange


Practice with your favorite colors.

triadic study
Pay attention to the colors that you use in your
work and make note of your discoveries.

photo inspiration

Use photos for inspiration- build a color palette from your favorite photos.

carolina herrera dress

Look to the latest fashion trends for color inspiration.


Practice, practice and practice some more!
Challenge yourself to practice using and creating with color in different mediums and tools.

most important...HAVE FUN with color!!


Wendy said...

ohhhhh aahhhhhhh!!! Very, very inspiring.
I need an Alisa Burke clothing line!

Ruby Mines said...

WOW! out of all your incredible posts this one really speaks to me. It is just gushing with inspiration. I never thought of organizing swatches, patches, and shades of your inspiration by color. This is a truly wonderful concept. :)

Unknown said...

This is such an inspiration! Thank you!

Ally said...

Wow so inspiring!!!! I think I need to start a colour journal. At Uni we got introduced to the program Kuler , have you used that? It is a fun way to mix and match colour swtches digitally. It is also fun to collect the colour swatches from paint shops and play with them.

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh I love this! I totally want to start one...thanks for sharing!

nacherluver said...

Very inspiring, great ideas. Thanks for sharing a peek into your creative process!

Kari Desi said...

What an inspirational idea! I love color and notice color everywhere I go but usually keep it all in my head. How much more inspired I would be to collect color and swatches in a journal and have it to look at and refer to any time I wanted. Also, I loved your article in the recent Artful Blogging issue. Congrats on being featured!

MitziMakes said...

i love this idea! will most definitely be taking your suggestion and start to explore colour :) said...

This is such a gorgeous and fun idea Alisa. You're such an inspiration! I'll be linking.

Kimber said...

I have a color journal started and am really loving it. Working on color combo pages is really fun! I also really love the names of colors and going to the paint store and getting paint chips for cool colors with cool names - some great inspiration there. I am loving seeing your color journal and you've inspired some great ideas for mine - thanks!

Kathryn Zbrzezny said...

I really am fascinated by this! Your mind is truly an inspiring, creative, colorful place! So glad you shared this...Thank you!

Dale Anne Potter said...

Alisa - I LOVE this idea!
THANKS for posting this - I'm going to start one TODAY!!!
I LOVE all colours & I'm going to LOVE playing!

Dale Anne Potter said...

Alisa - I LOVE this idea!
THANKS for posting this - I'm going to start one TODAY!!!
I LOVE all colours & I'm going to LOVE playing!

Ale said...

This is a great idea for to learn about the magic colors!! I like it!!

You inspired me. Now it´s my turn!



Marisa said...

Wow this is really inspiring! I just might start one soon.. your blog is great. :0)

Take care,

Anna M. said...

Fantastic post! I'm going to do this now. I never really know how to start and I always feel like I'm carrying way too many things but maybe it's worth it if it gets you to see things differently. Thank you for the tips!!!

Eden said...

Love this post! I am a huge COLOR fanatic! So many inspiring things to look at and read, Thank You!

debra cooper said...

You have such fun ideas for analyzing color. I love color and tend toward specific hues but I never think much about what those colors mean and why they speak to me. I would love to know how you make the digital color swatches like for your pond photo. I see these from time to time on design blogs and would love to be able to make something like it digitally for my journal. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

Brilliant! HAve you read Maggie Maggio's approach to studying color ? It's in her book "Color Inspirations".

Unknown said...

What a great journal! Thanks for the inspiring post, it has reminded me that I need to keep mine within reach.

Laura said...

Wonderful Alisa! Thanks so much for your inspiration and encouragement!

Joei Lau said...

Alisa, I just can't to stand for your stunning colors! TOO pretty!!!!

Megan Warren said...

Very inspiring - thank you for sharing - I'm playing with colour in my watercolour journal - but keeping a colour journal - what a great idea!

Unknown said...

wow, an awesome and inspirational post at its best! I am definitely giving this a go, plus I shall be signing up for one of your online courses (the sort that starts any time) when I get moved, or maybe sooner if I can't wait!! I am interested in the way you have created a palette of colours from the photos or pictures as an analysis of what works together and therefore what fabrics to pick (for example) when doing an applique or quilt.

It's getting me thinking! Thanks Alisa x

Terri Kahrs said...

Fabulous! Reminds me of my very first color theory class assignment. We had to find 6 things that were the 'exact color red'! I've never looked at color in quite the same way since. Hugs, Terri

Tracy said...

this is an amazing idea!!!!! i have always wanted to create something like this. I have an inspiration journal with works of art and photographs that i love but nothing focused only on color. I sooo think i am going to try this!

lauren carney said...

hey fancy pants!
your blog is rather cute indeed!
just putting it out there!
love your stuff x

Jill C. said...

Great post & photos. I love all the colors! I may have to do something like this with one of the new art sketchbooks I am binding with sturdy cardstock paper. (I have three new ones that I've just finished sewing and gluing the pages-- still need covers, though.) Maybe tomorrow I can get started on this project with a completed journal. :-)

BTW, I saw your writing and photos in Artful Blogging 'zine today at the bookstore!

Holly Knitlightly said...

That is... AWESOME! So awesome. I would love to sit down and just soak it all in. Looks so inspiring. I wish this was a real book I could pick up in a bookstore and keep with me forever. :)

Unknown said...

I found your blog tonite while I was looking for some creativity. I absolutley loved it. You are a talented lady. Just wondering if you made the headscarf you are wearing in your photo. I love it.

Debbie from Oz

Michelle said...

These are really beautiful. I would love to be able to turn the pages of your journal :)

Katherine said...

I really can't recommend Evernote enough for keeping track of inspiration - computer-based inspiration that is. I've got folders for art inspiration, interior design inspiration and fashion. When I see something I like online - or take a photo of it - I whack it in here. Quick, easy and organised.

Anonymous said...

I usually do not leave a comment, but the ideas really rocks, also I have a few questions like to ask, what's your contact details?


Natasha and Jesse said...

Alisa- Wonderful idea! I think I will start one of my own. What sort of book did you use? Was it a Moleskin journal?


Anonymous said...

J'ai appris des choses interessantes grace a vous, et vous m'avez aide a resoudre un probleme, merci.

- Daniel

Teleri said...

Well, I don't know how you do it, but I always discover new posts about interesting things in your blog and this one especially speaks to me. I really love colour - and it took me a while to understand and accept that - and ever since I'm thinking about how to catch and store all the great colours I see every day. Maybe I should - additional to my weekly lieblingsfarben-post on my blog - keep an offline-journal about my discoveries. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your experience with us :) said...

Quite worthwhile material, thanks for your post.


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