Adult coloring books are a trendy way to relax and meditate on your day, they are effective enough for therapists use them for sessions. Although adult coloring books are considered meditative as adults we strive for perfection even while seeking stress relief. This article will give you some tips, tricks and techniques to begin you on that path.
To make your coloring pages look better (make them look realistic) focus on one small aspect of your coloring page at a time. A good example would be to focus practicing coloring on a single strawberry, or a single leaf. Start with the base layer, this should be a smooth layer that is easy to build upon. You can use markers oil pastels, mixing of mediums is encouraged to create depth. Make sure to turn the page to make coloring easier on yourself. Also, another quick tip is: When you think you are done add another layer. Each added layer will create greater depth in your coloring page.
Use the following tools and techniques too ad depth:
- Blending Stump
- Colorless Blender
- Blending with Oils
- Filling White Spots
- Adding White Spots
- Planning a Color Palatte
Adult coloring is a relaxing hobby to begin, great to help you deal with the busy everyday. Honing your coloring skills will give you a great feeling of satisfaction. However, make sure that when you first start out do not set your sights unreasonably high. Instead of aiming for perfection at the very beginning, getting frustrated with yourself and giving up, focus on one small aspect of your coloring page at a time. A good example would be to focus practicing coloring on a single strawberry, or a single leaf.
By focusing on a single portion of the coloring page at a time you won’t find the task set in front of you overwhelming and you be able to become proficient in one skill set at a time. Gradually adding up skills will result in you becoming a well-rounded artist. Also, if you are not liking how your coloring page is turning out take a step away and come back to what you were doing. This allows your eyes to relax and if you come back to the page refreshed you will find yourself less fatigued and more skillful. Also, there is a lot to be said about evaluating your coloring page in a different light because time of day will effect how it looks.
Get started with the base layer, this should be a smooth layer that is easy to build upon. You can use markers oil pastels, mixing of mediums is encouraged to create depth. Make sure to turn the page to make coloring easier on yourself. Also, another quick tip is: When you think you are done add another layer. Each added layer will create greater depth in your coloring page.
Adult coloring books tend to be more complicated than children’s coloring books. They also usually contain higher quality paper. They contain detailed pages like mandalas, and swirling flowers. Adults usually seek out more challenging tasks than what is presented by children’s coloring books. These tasks keep adult minds focused on something more simple than their mundane everyday.
To get coloring you will need to find yourself something to color with. There are a lot of options out there for adult coloring books. You can get started coloring with makers, like Copic Alcohol markers. A lot of makers come with double sided tips to make your coloring experience as effective as possible. However, keep in mind although alcohol markers are vivid they tend to bleed through paper. If you do use a marker always make sure to put another piece of paper behind what you are coloring to prevent marks on the surface behind it.
If you want to avoid bleeding give colored pencils a try. They are the most popular coloring tool after all. You can also use other mediums like color pastels, crayons, and there is even watercolor pencils if you want a watercolor effect on your coloring page. Watercolor pencils though you sometimes have to add water and if you do be careful of the amount of moisture on that page.
When coloring there is a way to approach how you move the medium of your choice on the paper. When you color you will feel compelled to color back in forth, like most of us remember doing as a child, however this technique causes those big bold strokes to stand out. You will see those strokes especially if you change directions while you are coloring. Most artists tend to change directions when they are getting close to the lines. So to avoid this try coloring in circles instead, or you can always use cross hatch if you prefer just go over what you have already colored but in the opposite direction.
When coloring with pencils, crayons, and pastels. You can use a blending stump to blend your colors together, this is also a great way to fill in any remaining white specks you may have your paper. A blending stump also has a pointed end so it works well to control where your colors go. To keep your blending stump sharp you can use a pencil sharper or some blending stumps you can peel away layers to sharpen it.
Another way to blend your coloring page is to use a colorless blender. Most colored pencil producers make their own brand of these, they contain the same waxes as which they use in their color pencils, but have no color pigment added. This should be used as the last step of your coloring process. Because the added wax from the coloring blender will make it difficult to add any additional colors to the coloring page.
Blending with Oils
You can enhance your blending even more by adding a lubricant like a baby oil, petroleum jelly and/or Gamsol. These work great with pencils, crayons and pastels, just like using the blending stick. The addition of any of these oils smooths out the colors. To apply the oils you can use a cotton Q-tip, but keep in mind the Q-tip does tend to leave strands of cotton on the page. So you can always use a blending stump to avoid those stray cotton bits also these as I said before they are great for controlling where the colors.
The baby oil adds a smooth sheen to any coloring page. Make sure whichever you choose, only use a small amount, because you are adding moisture to paper. Also, if you plan on using one of these oils for blending be sure your paper can stand up to the wet additions, to avoid tears. These oils are affordable and can be easily found at most stores. However, Gamsol you will have to purchase at an art store, because this is an artist grade oil.
Filling White Spots
Those leftover white spots, if your tool leaves you with any is from the ridges of the paper, these are also known as the tooth. If you are not using any additive you will have to press the teeth of the paper down to fill in those white spaces. This can be hard on your hands and can cause you to break your tool at times. These especially appear when you are using colored pencils and crayon. An additional way to get rid of those spots is to combine mediums, you can use markers, pastels or even highlighters as a base and then layer on colored pencils next.
Adding White Spots
Another great way to enhance your coloring page you can add white highlights with a white gel pen. This is great for creating dimension and interest to your coloring page. When creating highlights keep in mind where the light source is coming from to make the look realistic. You can also use this white gel pen to add texture on top of what you have already colored, like use the gel pens to give characters shirt a checkered overlay or give a strawberry a shine where the light hits it. These small details will bring your coloring page to life.
Planning a Color Palette
A color palette is important with planning a coloring page and it can be tricky. Start by selecting 4-5 colors to use on your coloring page, keeping the colors limited will bring cohesion to your coloring page. If you don’t know what colors to start with refer to color theory or even nature. Taking a stroll around your neighborhood may give you an idea of what hues you should use on your piece.
When choosing your colors you may want to keep blending in mind too. If you decide to blend two colors together, colors which are similar will make for more gradual color transitions. On the other hand if you want a more dramatic transition, choose colors hues which make a larger jump in hue. You can also blend two totally different colors together, like blue and red. Just color them dark by pressing hard at two spots on the paper where you want your colors to begin and the closer they get to merging color lighter.
Quick Tip: Make sure to test out your tools before using them, because sometimes a marker, pencil, crayon etc may color as a different shade than what you expected.
Adult Coloring is a great hobby, great to use as a relaxation tool. Be sure to not let the hobby stress you out because you find building the skills overwhelming. Take it a step at a time. Use whichever blending technique above that stands out to you. If you find after giving that method a shot, it doesn’t work for you, try something else out and keep building from there.
Use this hobby to meditate, consider your day and clear your mind through focus. Use nature for inspiration and jump right into a fun coloring book. From there skill will come, you will find yourself relaxing while coloring and producing stunning coloring pages. Pages which you will want to hang up and keep around, or maybe as a gift.
Learn more blending tips HERE!
What coloring books are the best?
The best coloring books are the ones containing things you enjoy. Yes, you should always keep in mind the quality of paper that is used in the coloring book. But liking what you are coloring is really what it the most important. Because if you don’t like what you are coloring are you really going to enjoy the process? If you are on a budget you can always print out your own coloring pages too.
What is the best coloring tool?
The most common coloring utensil is colored pencils, but ultimately use the tool that works best for the job you set out to do. Pastels are great for background work just like markers. Also, how intense do you want the colors to be?
Do you have to Color inside the Lines to Color Well?
This question has a yes and no answer. Yes, you do want your coloring page to be as neat as possible. But a viewer of your coloring page isn’t going to be as focused on your ability to stay inside the lines if what they are looking at is compelling. The texture you create by coloring is something our eyes focus more on.
Learn more with my free adult coloring eBook and by signing up for my email newsletter HERE!
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Please consult a legal expert or medical doctor to address your specific needs.