Think outside the box


I like to limit the number of colours I use in a painting, but while working with my paintings for the exhibition this summer, I have realised that I tend to get stuck in certain colour combinations that I know work well. It feels like I´m playing it safe, and I need to get out of that comfort zone to create something new and fresh.

I´ve been trying to find ways to force myself to work with new colour schemes, and one day I was thinking I should have had some kind of lottery tickets or dice to randomly decide what colours to use – and there the idea for these little “colour dice” was born!

I made a template in Illustrator, cut it out in cardboard, traced a number of them on watercolour paper, cut them out and painted them. When they were dry I glued them together, and started rolling the dice! I just roll them all together and see if something nice lands on the table in front of me. It´s turned out to be a great way to find new and surprising colour combinations.

These first ten dice are a great start, but I want more, so I´m making another batch now, with both single and mixed colours.

Wanna make some? Download the template pdf below (right-click, save link as), draw/trace it on watercolour paper, cut out, colour it, and glue!

Colour cube template

22 Responses to “Think outside the box”

  1. Omigosh, what a great, creative idea, Nina! (I get stuck on my favorites, too…) This is lovely, and thanks for the template!

  2. Diahn Ott says:

    Genius! Wow! Thanks for the template…I’m going to start getting mine ready right now!

  3. Thanks! I will try it !

  4. Mari says:

    thats an awsome idea, because I as well tend to get stuck in that “safe zone” a lot and need a much needed extra boost… I so have to make my own dice.

  5. Cecelia says:

    That’s a great idea. Myrna Wacknov had a challenge a while back, in which people were supposed to write down all their colors on their pallete on slips of paper. Then they were to draw, as from a hat or box, 3 or 4 slips of paper and try only those colors on a drawing. You could draw the same thing and repeat with different colors. I think I did about 10 small watercolors this way, with different colors.

    • That´s a good idea too, Cecelia, thanks for sharing! I might try that. It´s so good to challenge oneself like that. You might get colours that are completely off, and you still have to make something of it.

  6. Irina says:

    Great idea from clever head and experienced painter. Thank you! And thank you for the template, too.

  7. Cathy says:

    What an original idea, it will be interesting to see the results…pleeeze! Love your work.

  8. Felicity says:

    Brilliant idea Nina! Actually, you don’t strike me as someone who stays in her comfort zone, rather someone who enjoys experimenting! I’d love to find colours I’m comfortable with, such is my lack of ability with wc’s! ;) I’m really looking forward to watching how this develops!

  9. Liz Steel says:

    Wow!!! I really love this idea!!! brilliant!

  10. Hi Nina
    This is a great site you have and a lovely idea for shaking up your palette.
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. What a cool idea. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. Jennifer says:

    What a wonderful idea, Nina. I think I might want a cube or two.

  13. Sandra says:

    I can count on you to come up with cool ideas. This is such a neat idea!

  14. nancy t says:

    What a clever bear you are! I’ve printed it out and will play with it! Thank you so much…. nancy

  15. Dan Kent says:

    Wonderful idea. There is a website that I think could be a great tool too. I’ve bookmarked it and always mean to use it but never do:

  16. Johanna says:

    What a brilliant idea. Not to mention that the cubes look great to, I could have them in the window just for decoration (well I would if I didn’t have a 1,5 year old that would tear them down in two seconds).

  17. I like this idea, too!

  18. Anne Olaug says:

    I love it! Beautiful cubes. Wonderful idea!
    I would love to see more pictures of the dices rolled in different combinations!!?

    You inspire me, Nina!


  19. Can’t wait to give this a go…Thanks for the template! :)

  20. vivien says:

    what a fantastic idea!

    I may ‘borrow’ this for my teaching! I hope you don’t mind?

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