I don’t usually work with a lot of colour in my sketches. I find it a bit distracting (and difficult) to think about what colour(s) to use and where to put them. If I’m happy with a design, I’m always a bit worried that adding colour will be taking it one step too far. The right palette and great placement can enhance a pattern; the wrong palette and poor placement can just as easily ruin it.
Having said that, I recently sketched a pattern that I’ve had in my head awhile and that needs a bit of colour to define the units and bring out the actual design.
Now I’m not suggesting that this pattern should be made in black, blue and red – those are just the gel pen colours I had available. But to achieve the look I wanted, I think 4 colours (including white (I know, I know, it’s not a colour…)) are necessary; 3 could work if you had the patience to plan them out carefully (I didn’t).
My intention with this design was to make sure there were no adjacent pieces of the same colour within each rectangular block. Of course, you could make this pattern with even fewer fabrics or colours if you wanted to, or use more colours at one end and fewer at the other for a gradated look. The possibilities – as always – are endless.