Concept Cookie Resources: Color Palette

Hello and Welcome to this Resource download of a custom color palette with Tim Von Rueden

For help installing the color palette scroll to the bottom of this post

Download Color Palette: HERE

Why is having a Color Palette Important?

Firstly, I would highly recommend creating your own swatch palette and take the colors from nature, existing art, photos, and color references,  then compile them into your own working palette. That way you become more familiar with those colors and given an example of how to use them. I choose every single color by doing this and I can tell you where each of the color groups were from originally. The more you become familiar with color and how they interact with each other, the higher quality and correlation of art you will then produce in turn.

Okay, so I have been asked before if it would be alright to use my color palette they see from my tutorials or screenshots, and I found it funny that I was asked permission since I don’t own the colors in any way. I have just organized them in a way that makes it more convenient and readily available for me when I am digitally painting. I then realized during my next piece how much I go back and fourth between the palette and the canvas and how important and valuable I consider this palette to be. So after a weeded out all the extra swatches that were floating in the palette I now have this clean color swatch collection in groups of ten. So for every ten colors a new set is available. For every piece don’t assume you have to rely on your palette, it should be ever-growing and ever-evolving.

Why don’t you use the standard light to dark hue selections?

Instead of the standard sets of an individual hue, like lining red up from it’s lightest value to darkest is because I find that overly simplistic and uninviting to new possibilities in your work. I like to shift not only in lightness but in the hue range as well. This may spark new and interesting color plays and you are given more options and a broader outlook if your seeing a color shift you may not have done so originally. For the image on the banner you can see how I take a dark blue/green and transition into orange. This is an example of a coloring hue shift. I also don’t organize the colors in any fashion for I like going to the palette originally looking for a specific color and then completely finding another that catches my eye.

↓ I tend to use the First Twenty repeatedly for characters and below I give a quick explanation of what I use them for ↓

I believe when it comes to something like this that there is organization in chaos but I will highlight certain sections of the swatch palette for those who like to keep it a been more tidy

Here are some warmer swatch hues:

And here are some of the cooler swatch hues:

I can’t stress enough how important color is. If you are looking to really delve into color theory and learn more, I would recommend the book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney.

How do I install the Palette?

For Photoshop:

In this download is a .aco file type which can be installed into Photoshop by just double clicking it after it has finished downloading. Photoshop will take care of the rest, Enjoy!

For Gimp:

1.Right click in the Palettes window and choose Import Palette

2. In the “Import a New Palette” menu, select the Palette file and find the downloaded color palette, then choose import

3. Enjoy the Color Palette in Gimp :)

Thanks for checking this out, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the section below!

Leave Comment


44 Responses to “Concept Cookie Resources: Color Palette”
  1. Posts: 16
    Andrew Krypel says:

    Wow, Tim!

    EXACTLY what I needed!
    The swatches AND an explanation of how you use them!

    It made me smile when I found this, and I can’t wait to use it!

    Thanks so much for posting this! It’s a huge help!


    • Posts: 640

      Hey Andrew I’m glad you requested the post, it was an enjoyable and hopefully helpful post to create!

  2. Posts: 5

    thanks soo much tim,

    this will save me tons of time as i was contemplating making selecting every single colour that i need and adding it to my pallet :)

    btw, could you also share some custom brushes for download??
    thanks anyways,


    • Posts: 640

      Yeah of course, and a continually updating and growing custom brush downloadable pack is in the making, be sure to look back soon.

    • Posts: 640

      I just updated the post to include how to install the color palette in Gimp, Hope this helps

      • Posts: 4

        YAE! Thanks alot. Gimp’s basic swatch set left something to be desired.

  3. Posts: 4
    DarkSideOfChaos says:

    OMG! Thank you SO much! Your advice to build a custom palette of our own is awesome, but it’s nice to see how other people started and how the organizational flow of it works.

  4. Posts: 8
    Donald1 says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    For me, this is a great motivator. While watching your tutorials (especially the human anatomy ones) it just wasn’t the same since the colors didn’t quite match (yeah i know it’s not that big of deal, but for me, if it doesn’t match exactly then I feel like i haven’t done it right, this is something I’m working on). I’m so glad you decided to post this and appreciate it very much.


  5. Posts: 3
    Grant says:

    soo i have photoshop elements 10 and i did the whole double click thing and it didn’t update with all the swatches in fact it actually took the ones i made away.

  6. Posts: 10
    Debra Person says:

    thank you, thank you. I’m just learning GIMP, and didn’t know about using palettes. Talk about a time saver, WOW.

  7. Posts: 11

    Sorry for the noob question but how do you use Palettes in GIMP (I’m running Ubuntu)?

    I go to Windows > Palettes and can import the palette fine.

    The only way I can use it so far is to double click on it (which opens the “Edit Palette” window). But once I close it, it won’t let me reopen it again. Am I missing something?

  8. Posts: 13
    Andy says:

    Ohh..swatches!. I really enjoy being a citizen.. THanks Tim!

  9. Posts: 2
    Jackie says:

    Does this work in Corel PhotoPaint?

    • Posts: 2
      Jackie says:

      Nevermind. It does!

  10. Posts: 2
    leonguisti says:

    Geez, this is perfect! I was just looking for something like this a couple days ago.

  11. Posts: 1
    Ickathu says:

    Sweet. I don’t think I even knew before that there was such a thing as a Color Palette in Gimp (/photoshop/etc). I’ll probably start using this one for a while and get used to dealing with them before I start to create my own.

  12. Posts: 12
    chris says:

    in GIMP i can choose which palette to use, say if i have one for skin colours, and one for green leaves. so i can choose my pallete depending on what i am drawing, in photoshop all the swatches are bundled into one single palette. is there a way to have separate palettes in photoshop (CS2)similar to GIMP?

    • Posts: 640

      Kind of, you can save out different color palettes for whatever you are working on and load them in for each.

  13. Posts: 39
    ldabreau says:

    amazing contribution i needed this BAD i was used to selecting colors that were tooo saturated but this will even the playing field. thank you !

  14. Posts: 1

    I am new to blender (but have been working with PSD for 12+ years. I have a custom ACO palette that I use in Photoshop. How do I append? or import? that file so I can quickly select custom swatches to use as the base color for new materials.

  15. Posts: 2

    Can you please help me? There are some colors in the swatch that are completely black. A whole line of them are black.

    • Posts: 640

      Those were just to separate the colors from each other, nothing wrong with the colors =]

  16. Posts: 1
    Bakiyaraj says:


    Thank you so much its very useful…..

  17. Posts: 4
    hazahel says:

    Wooooooowwww Esta super lo utilizare muchas gracias!!!!

  18. Posts: 1
    muppo says:

    Just for your information: it does work fine on ClipStudio

    Thanks for sharing Tim, it’s a fine palette :)

    • Posts: 388

      Thanks for trying it out in ClipStudio, wasn’t sure if it would work or not, so thanks for clearing that up!

  19. Posts: 2
    Hyeong Choi says:

    For some reason, I can’t figure why the palette doesn’t appear in the photoshop. it only appears one white one what the heck?

  20. Posts: 7
    jbfuller says:

    Manga Studio is compatible with photoshop and I was wondering if there was a way to import this into my Manga Studio 5EX.

    • Posts: 7
      jbfuller says:

      Oh, I poked around a little and for future queries, the file IS compatible with Manga Studio 5EX.
      Simple as opening the program, and importing the file from the drop down menu next to the color tab.

      Very excited and can’t wait to mess with them!

  21. Posts: 1
    bybsm says:

    Thank you soooooo much for this post! 😀

  22. Posts: 2
    cherylsart says:

    Hi Tim, I downloaded the color palette but I can’t find it in my photoshop elements program. Can you help me figure out how to access it? Thanks!

    • Posts: 11
      Joe Chico says:

      Hey cherylsart! If the Color Swatches palette is not showing, open it by going to the Window menu and clicking Color Swatches. You can load, replace, and save swatch collections from the Swatches palette menu. Just be sure to remember where you saved the .ACO file on your computer to load them into photoshop! -Joe

  23. Posts: 2
    cherylsart says:

    Hi Joe,

    I have downloaded the swatches from your site. When I click the download and tell it to open with my program, it just makes a single white box on my existing default swatch group. Is it because I am running Elements rather than the full Photoshop program? The swatches are not listed in my palette menu. If it doesn’t work it’s not that big a deal but it’s cool to have more colors to work with. I make my own anyway. Thanks so much!


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