Last year I discussed the Pantone color of 2020, Classic Blue – and have had a few requests to make a tradition of it. So let’s do it!

In 2021, it’s actually TWO colors: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow. On their website one of the things they have for sale is some swag – so I ordered a Cortado cup – it’ll be a nice little water cup for painting in 2021!

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.


The video has three parts: 1) coloring the chart (download here), 2) coloring an image from Three Room Studios, and 3) looking at a few sample cards, also pictured later in this post!

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The Free Chart

I’ve made a chart for you to download HERE– it’s 2 pages, one has my numbers on it, the other is blank. That way if you want to try to match a different medium like colored pencils, you can add those yourself.

Color harmony examples

To use harmonies the way they’re shown at Pantone, use the colors in different quantities – usually 3 or 4, though I tried using all 6 where possible on these sample cards. The tone of a piece will change dramatically based on which color takes up the most real estate, and what colors are next to each other.

The yellow background is the largest color percentage – and it definitely pulls your attention! The girl’s pink clothing is pretty important here, as the color is so much darker than what’s around it.

The mood is more peaceful with the deep grey background this time – and the yellow chair draws the eye right away. Polkadots on these two, by the way, are the green, and the tan color was replaced with skin and hair colors.

The background is the tan color, and it’s right next to the yellow – almost hiding the yellow outfit as they’re right next to each other. To make the corduroy fabric on the chair, use a white pen, let it dry, then go over it with Copics.

The pink is adapted to have two tones – the airbrushed one is lighter, carpet darker. This and the grey chair surround the shock of the yellow outfit, which pops against all those colors!


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