Seven Cool Adult Coloring Hacks

Coloring is a beautiful and relaxing hobby that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s a meditative activity that eases stress by calming the part of your brain that controls fear. What are some cool adult coloring hacks? 

How to Create Your Color Combinations

You do not need to buy the biggest box of crayons or colored pencils to work with every hue in the rainbow. Too many options can often be overwhelming while working with a limited number of tools that can encourage us to unlock our creativity further. If you have just a small box of crayons or pencils at your disposal, you can still use these to create your new tints and shades. With some basic knowledge of the color wheel, the entire rainbow is at your disposal. 

When blending two or more shades, it is best to start with the lightest one first, coloring a very light initial layer. Use a soft touch while keeping lots of space between your hand and the paper, and do not be afraid to leave some white space on the page. Gradually add the other colors in increasing order of darkness, remembering to use a gentle touch. You can always go darker, but it’s harder to make your shades lighter after the fact (although not impossible, depending on your medium, but we will get into that a bit later). 

Blending Your Strokes for Even Color

Most people tend to color in a back-and-forth motion, but if you’re using colored pencils, you may get a more natural effect from moving in little circles (like brushing your teeth!). This will give your piece a more even appearance and make it easier to blend colors more naturally.

Keeping a light touch and plenty of space between your paper not only makes it easier to blend colors. It also keeps your hand from tiring too quickly or cramping up. Plus, this technique also helps to save your paper from ripping or puckering. 

Have trouble with your colored pencils? Check out Here is Why Your Colored Pencil Keeps Breaking to learn more!

Creating Shade on Your Picture

Playing with shade and shadows in a drawing is an effective and surprisingly easy way to enhance your artwork. Start by deciding where your light source is in the artwork, whether it’s the sun, a lamp, or a bonfire – whatever brightens up your work. Then make sure that your shadows are opposite the light source. Use a blender, baby oil, or other techniques to create tints and shade; it should be gradually darker the farther you get from the light.

Using a Blending Stump

Blending stumps look like white, double-ended colored pencils but are incredibly useful for marrying colors together. They are made of tightly compressed paper but are pointy at both ends, making them very handy for blending. Blending stumps come in various thicknesses and work well with colored pencils, pastels, charcoal, graphite, and even paint. 

You can use a blending stump to blend colors (as the name implies), create tints and shades, and add layers and shadow effects to your artwork. Their skinny tips are useful for pushing color into the tiny, intricate corners of adult coloring books. 

You can sharpen or refresh your blending stump with fine-grain sandpaper. If you gently spin or twirl your blending stump along with the sandpaper, it will help uphold your tip’s integrity while removing the previous color pigment to avoid unwanted blending; since these sticks are paper, it does retain a bit of color. 

Tools to Help You Color Small Spaces

One of the best things about adult coloring books is their sophisticated artwork level; the illustrations are often full of intricate, tiny details that can sometimes be too thin for even a colored pencil. These cases can help use a more refined tool to help spread the pigment around to fill in your small features. 

Dip a fine paintbrush, pointed cotton swab, or even the tip of a bobby pin or paper clip in a small amount of water, and use it to spread the desired color into the smaller crevices. If using markers or pastels, this works particularly well, and depending on how far you extend the color; you can create some lovely gradient shades in your artwork. 

Using Baby Oil to Make Your Colored Pencils Look Like Paint

Baby oil is a great tool to jazz up your everyday colored pencils or markers. Start by gently coloring your base. Then apply a drop of baby oil to a cotton swab and push the pigmentation outwards into your corners and edges. This is a great way to soften and blur your lines and make your artwork look like paint.

If you don’t have baby oil, you can also try using a colorless, alcohol-based blending marker to layer and spread your color, giving your pieces a dynamic look (or barring that, a drop of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or paintbrush). Blenders can eliminate any stubborn white spots in your paper while brightening up your colors. Just start small to not pucker your paper; you don’t want to saturate your artwork, but gently smudge your colors. 

If using colored pencils, you can achieve a similar effect by using a lighter tint of colored pencil layered on top of its corresponding darker shade. 

The Best Ways to Erase Your Mistakes

As Bob Ross always said, there are no mistakes in art – only happy accidents. But if a happy accident occurs that you’d rather not work around, try this nifty electric eraser. These handy gadgets are more efficient for erasing colored pencils than a standard analog one. Just take care not to use it too much in one spot because overuse could destroy your paper’s teeth, making it hard to add any pigment.

If you don’t have access to an electric eraser, try putty. While wall putty works best, even good old Silly Putty will work in a pinch. No putty? No problem! For small marks, try some scotch tape. If that doesn’t work, try liquid paper or a white colored pencil.

To prevent mistakes or other imperfections, test your tools on a separate sheet of paper before applying them to your artwork. Using a scratch sheet is also a great way to test your color blends to make sure the shade suits you. Even if you are using your colors solo, sometimes the hues appear very different on paper than you may assume. 

If you’re coloring in a book, take care to prevent bleed through onto subsequent pages. If you don’t want to remove your piece from the book, slip a thick sheet of paper underneath your coloring page. 

Love coloring as much as I do? Click here to download my free adult coloring eBook and sign up for my email newsletter!

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Shawn C

Hi! I’m Shawn and I Love Coloring and Art and the people in it! I created this website as a resource to help those who are considering getting into adult coloring. My website is your one-stop destination for all the inspired instruction and resources you need to start and grow your adult coloring hobby. From geometric to floral to zen doodles and from time to time even mandala’s when I am in the mood. I have researched and gathered the information to help you in your goal of starting your adult coloring hobby.

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