Combining warm and cool colours to create contrast

This season has been a blast, and I can barely believe that there are only two more weeks left in this wonderful world of contrast! But, thankfully, I have prepared for you two new videos to make sure that your season end woes won’t last long! I’m here today to do two things: brush you up on the concept of warm and cool colors, and to present you with a tutorial that should leave you smiling over a brand new art journal spread!

The first video is available to you so that you can become more comfortable with the idea of using warm and cool colors for contrast. In this video, we’ll discuss what exactly makes a color “warm” or “cool,” and I’ll be showing you some examples of how I’ve used warm and cools colors for contrasting layers in my own art. In the second video, I will walk you through creating a background and a foreground, each consisting of only warm or cool colors. You’ll also learn some techniques that I use, such as a dry brush effect over dried gel medium, and varying the saturation of my primary image versus my supporting images.

If you chose to work with me during the viewing of video two, the following is a list of supplies that I recommend, however, I 100% support your creative decision to use other mediums instead or as well!

  • Acrylic paint: 1-3 warm colors, all of similar hues
  • Acrylic paint: 1-3 cool colors, all of similar hues
  • Acrylic paint: white and black
  • Collage material containing either warm or cool tones
  • Adhesive: Gel medium, glue, or Mod Podge
  • Palette or mixing bowl for paint
  • Paint brush, dip pen, credit card, and other utensils
  • Pens, markers, ink, and other mark making mediums in previously chosen colors

I hope that you feel inspired to play around with some warm and cool colors now! Your art and journal spreads can be as simple as you want them to be, so feel free to make more than one page with this combination in mind! The image below is what my page ended up looking like; I hope that you share with us how your pages turn out, too!

Action Steps


Following along with the second video, create an art journal page that has either a warm or cool color scheme for the background and uses the opposite types of hues for the foreground imagery.


EmK Wright is a self taught artist with a passion for creating. She finds her true love in between the pages of her art journals, where she has been expressing herself for about 13 years. 


  1. Deborah Hosaflook

    Wholly Crap!!!!!! Excuse my expression, but seriously, you are so amazing to watch create. It is like pure magic watching your blank pages turn into the most amazing, intricate, beautiful works of art. You make it all seem so effortless and the marks and layers just flow from your brush and dip pen.
    Would you mind sharing what your favorite tools are for mark making? Do you use your dip pen with only ink or paint to? What are your favorite size and shape of brushes that you use most?
    Thank you so much for this awesome video and for yet another beautiful finished journal page.

    • EmK Wright

      Oh my gosh thank you!!!! And yes I absolutely use my pens with paint!! Golden brand High Flow paints are made for spray paint guns and is thin enough to work just like ink with dip pens! I’ve never tried liquid watercolors with them, but that’s on my to-do list as well.
      I also usually use: Krink brand paint markers, uni posca fine tip paint pens, and many colors of the Faber-Castell Pitt pens in the brush style. All of those tools are durablely designed, making them great for using over rough surfaces, like gesso and thick acrylic paint.

      • Deborah Hosaflook

        Awsome!!! Thank you sweetie for those ideas!!! And again, thanks for such an amazing tutorial!!!!

  2. Gilly Welch

    Loved watching you pull everything together EmK and your end results are quite stunning, thank you!

    • EmK Wright

      Thank you so much! I hope it gets you creating!!

  3. Tanyalee Kahler

    Awesome, detailed tutorial EmK – I tried to follow along, but right at this moment I am not sure what I think of my spread. I’m going to put it to one side, sleep on it, and see how I feel about it in the morning. Thanks for sharing your amazing techniques. I love learning new things week after week.

    • EmK Wright

      You always make glorious spreads, I’m sure it’s amazing! I’m so glad that you enjoyed my process video and that it got you making!!!

  4. Sasha Zinevych

    I swear, you are just a QUEEN of voice overs! It all looks and sounds so professional, you should have your own TV show! :*

    • EmK Wright

      Haha thanks Sasha! I used a video gaming headset for a while, and realized that I just needed to get an actual microphone. I’m a techie geek, though, so any excuse to get a new gadget works for me!

  5. Ashley Rodgers

    Love your video tutorials, EmK! So professional and full of great information and tips.