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Coloring Tips And Ideas

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Coloring is fun and a relaxing way to spend some free time

Coloring is fun and a relaxing way to spend some free time

Tips For Your Coloring Enjoyment

The idea of adult coloring is to spend quiet relaxing time for yourself to distress. Here are some tips to make your coloring time enjoyable.

  1. Find a comfortable space to color. If you can find a quiet space to enjoy your coloring experiences all the better. But minimally, find a comfortable chair and some space where you can keep your supplies. Make sure to have a chair or seating that will enable you to sit up straight comfortably, You do not want to sit over hunched up or you could wind up with back problems.
  2. Make sure that you have a good light source. Take to outside when you can. Not only will you have a natural source of light, but you can enjoy some fresh air. If you are indoors and are able, sit by a window that has good light. There are lamps that mimic natural light and they have magnification too. Those light will put less strain on your eyes and help you see the details of what you are working on.
  3. Make sure to take breaks after about 20 minutes of coloring. You need to give your hands and wrists some love. Before you get started, exercise your hand's wrists a bit. Roll them in circles to get them warmed up.
  4. Take your time. The point of coloring is to take your time and enjoy the process. Focus on the page and be mindful of what you are doing every step to completion. Taking your time means that your coloring will be better than just rushing through.
  5. Find a page that fits your mood. I often find that I have several pages going at the same time. Sometimes I am in the mood to do a mandala. Other times, I am in the mood for flowers. It's ok to focus on what makes you happy or fits your mood for that day.
  6. Take the time to grow in your hobby. Just like any other hobby, you need to take the time to grow and learn the tricks of the trade. Join an online coloring group. Take a lesson. Or watch some you tube videos. Take some time to grow in your coloring. Becoming a better colorist is rewarding/
Colored pencils are an economical and easy way to start your coloring journey

Colored pencils are an economical and easy way to start your coloring journey

Start By Understanding Your Coloring Tools

Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are probably one of the most popular coloring tool. There are so many colors available.Most are waxed based. You can get colored pencils in all kinds of price ranges. You will want to get the best colored pencils your budget will allow. Generally, mid price range colored pencils are good for most uses. If you chose the budget pencils, you may get frustrated. Most of the lower end pencils have a lot of filler and will not give you the best results. Stick with the mid price range colored pencils and you will get the nice vibrant colors that we all love.

The best things about colored pencils is that with just a few colored pencils, you can create a whole range of colors. You can actually get up to 20 shades with just a few colored pencils by combining them.

If you enjoy working with watercolors, give water color pencils a try. They are meant to be used with small amounts of water. Over saturation of these pencils will leave you with a puddle of messy color. Make sure that the paper or coloring book you are using, is made of a good water color paper.

Colored Pencil Tips

  1. Always make sure to use a sharpened pencil, especially when coloring small areas. You get better pigment when your pencils are sharp. Sharpen your pencil more than you think you need to.
  2. When sharpening your pencil, turn the sharpener rather than the pencil. You will have a better chance of less breaking of the tip.
  3. You can vary the heaviness of the stroke depending on where you hold the pencil. Gripping the pencil farther from the tip will create lighter coloring and wider strokes. The closer to the point that you hold the pencil, creates a bolder and closer stroke.
  4. You don't have to have a death grip on your pencil. They are thin and are easily controlled. It will not give you better coloring. It will only create pain in your wrist and hands.
  5. Color In Different Directions. If you color in one direction, you will wind up with streaky uneven lines. The pigment will be uneven for sure. Instead color in circles. Your page will be more satisfying and beautiful.
  6. Always Start With Your Base Color Lightly. Chose your base color and color in lightly.. (Remember, you can always add more color, but once you have covered the white of the paper, there is no going back. Start with light to dark, gradually building up color.
  7. If you are using colored pencils, you can mix colors to create the perfect hue for what you’re working on. Start with a base by coloring the area lightly with one color, then use the same color to go over it again, pressing a bit harder. Now you can add different colors over it. Experiment on a test page until you get a color you like.

Essential Tools For Colored Pencils

  • Prismacolor colorless blender-takes the harsh lines out of any project
  • White gel pen-
  • Pencil extender-allows you to use the complete pencil with more comfortable handling
  • Hand-held pencil sharpener- refreshes the tip of your pencils

Blending Colored Pencils

Like other mediums, colored pencils blend beautifully. You will be amazed at the art you can create with just some simple bending techniques.

Dry Blending

You have a tool right in your kitchen to help you blend your colored pencils. Just use a small piece of paper towels to rub on your colored pencil images. Use the smooth side of the paper towels to create a gentle smudge. Use the rougher side for heavier blending.

You can also use toilet tissue, tissues, cotton swabs and cotton balls.

Wet Blending

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Wet blending breaks down the pigments of the color you have laid on the page.

Baby oil has been a popular item to use to blend your colored pencils. Rubbing alcohol is another popular choice.

Just dab a small amount of the fluid you have chosen. Then blend the fluid with your pigment. You can use a brush or a q-tip.


Watercolor Pencils

With the right type of paper, watercolor pencils can be a lot of fun to use. Unlike colored pencils, watercolor pencils have very intense colors once they are mixed with water.

The best way to try this type of coloring is to print some pages off your printer or stamp some images. When you print the pages, you will want to allow them to dry overnight. I prefer a cold press paper since it has enough tooth, but a smoother surface,

If you are just starting out with this medium. try a basic set of about 12 colors. If you enjoy using them, upgrade to a good quality of a larger collection.

You will also need a couple of different brushes. Watercolor brushes are sable. You get the best results from them. But you can use any brushes that you may have, You will need a round, flat, and detailed brush.

Watercolor Pencil Techniques

Dip Pencils Into Water

One way of adding color is to dip your watercolor pencil into water. The results are thicker and vibrant lines. However, what you will find is the first bit of color will be strong and then start fading as the tip of the pencil starts drying. So the answer is to frequently wet your pencils. If you are using this technique, make sure to dry your pencils with a paper towel to keep them at their best.

Color On Wet Paper

You can wet your paper with an even coat of water first. Just brush an even coat of water just to the area you are coloring, not the entire page. A flat brush is perfect for this technique.

Now color the area with a dry watercolor pencil. You will see an intense color with a textured grainy look. This technique is easier and less time-consuming than dipping your pencil into water.

Wet Pencil On Wet Paper

I do not recommend this option for coloring. Both the paper and the pencil are wet,. You can get running of color and the paper can lose its texture. But if you have good strong paper, give it a try. It provides a lot of textured bold color.

More Watercolor Pencils Ideas And Respurces

5 Easy Steps To Get Better Coloring



Just like colored pencils, markers and felt-tipped pens come in a variety of colors, brush tips, and cost.

You will want to start out with a marker or pen that has a nib with a small tapered end. That will help you keep within the lines on any project that you are working on. You are so better off to get a good grade pen or maker in just a few colors that you will use over a larger number of cheaper pens or markers

If you are thinking about alcohol markers, go for it. They blend beautifully, dry quickly, and cover the paper surface wonderfully. The only problem with these kinds of markers, you need to have thicker paper underneath. They tend to "bleed" through lighter papers. Put something underneath the coloring page or paper that you are working on. If you are working on a coloring book, you will want to use one with heavier paper. This becomes also important if you are working in Bibles which often have thin paper.

In journals or in thin paper Bibles, there is a solution. You simply add a layer of gesso to the page before you use the markers or pens.

What Makes A Good Marker

If you are considering buying a set of markers for coloring, you should buy the best markers your budget will allow. Here are some things to consider:

  • They should dry fast. Preferably, you will want your markers to dry quickly. If the marker ink does not dry quickly, you run the risk of smearing the ink with your hand.
  • They should have a large color selection. That way you can always add more colors and have broader options to shade and blend.
  • They should have quality tips that can be replaced. You will want to have options when it comes to your markers. There are different types of tips that can be chosen. You will want at least a chisel tip and a broad tip. There is also a brush tip option, Chose the tip that is right for you.
  • They should be refillable. I invested in a set of markers that are refillable. The investment was bigger upfront, but the ink refills are cheaper than replacing the markers. So in the long run, I am saving money and helping the enviornment/

Tips For Coloring With Markers

  1. Test the markers on the paper you are planning to use to make sure that the markers do not bleed through the paper.
  2. Slip a piece of paper behind the page you are coloring just to protect the pages behind from denting them if you have a heavy hand or bleed-through issue.
  3. Always go with the lightest color first. Markers are permanent media, so you cannot remove color once it is on the paper.
  4. With markers, you don’t have to press down very hard, like with some colored pencils. Adult coloring with markers tends to be easier on your hands and joints,
  5. Try using regular markers with metallic markers.
  6. Use dark and light colors to create contrast. It will add lots of depth to your images.

More Marker Resources

Tips To Blend Markers

Fine Lined Pens

These pens are made for illustrating and drawing. They come in a variety of tips and colors. These pens are very good when you are coloring in coloring books, because you can apply color in tiny nooks and crannies. They generally do not bleed. So, you can easily control where the color goes.

While I love markers and pens for coloring, there are a few things for you to consider. The first being the weight of the paper. If you are going to use them in coloring books, you need to make sure that the paper weight is heavy enough so that the ink will not bleed through the paper.

Markers Verses Pencils?

If you are just starting out in coloring, the eternal question for colorists is which is better to use, markers or pencils?

There are several things to consider when deciding which way to go. Here are a few thoughts to help you make the best decision for your needs.


  • Markers are a lot more expensive upfront. But if you buy the refillable markers, in the long run, they actually come out more budget-friendly. The drills are more reasonable than buying a whole set of colored pencils.
  • Markers tend to have brighter and stronger colors
  • Markers are faster to use than pencils
  • The only negative side to markers is that you cannot erase them once you lay down the color

Colored Pencils

  • Cheaper upfront, but more expensive in the long haul
  • The bigger the set that you buy, the less expensive the cost is per pencil
  • They take a longer time to use, but you get a lot more control when coloring specific areas.

More Coloring And Coloring Book Resources

Water Colors

Watercolors are fun to color with, but you need the right supplies to get the best results. If you want to use watercolors on a coloring book, make sure that the paper will hold up under the use of water. There are coloring books available that actually are for watercolors. Some coloring books may have outline inks that may run.

There are loads of images on the internet that you can print on watercolor paper. If you decide to do that, make sure to allow the paper to dry overnight. The standard copy paper will never hold up to the weight of watercolors, Avoid using it.

In addition to coloring pages, you can make watercolor papers for your greeting card backgrounds. Create a mini watercolor painting for the front of a card. You can also create custom papers using watercolors for scrapbook pages. Art journaling with watercolors is a lot of fun.

Water Color Paper

While you should use watercolor paper any time you are using watercolors, there are quality differences in papers. The better the paper, the better your results will be.

The weight of the paper is important too. Consider starting around a weight of about 150 lbs.

Watercolor Paints

Watercolor paints come in both tubes and pans. You will want to use good watercolor paint to get the best results. Cheaper paints will become cracky and chalky rather than providing a good even color.


There are special brushes just for watercoloring. You are better off getting a few quality brushes rather than a large selection of fewer quality ones. A small, medium and large round brush, a flat brush, and a mop brush is great way to start.

Using Watercolors

When applying watercolors, always start from the lighter colors and then apply the darker tones. You can always add color, but it is very difficult to take color away once it is applied.

Wet On Wet Technique

wet paint is applied to wet paper, or added to a wash of fresh paint. This creates a fluid, fun, and unpredictable effect. There is less control with a wet-on-wet technique. To try it, lay down clean water on the paper, then add watercolor paint to the wet areas. You'll see the paint flows to the wet areas.

Wet On Dry Technique

Try applying wet paint onto dry paper, or wet paint onto an area of dry paint. This technique allows for more control and crisp, defined edges. The paint will only go where your brush takes it.

Drying Time

Dry-time varies depending on what you're trying to achieve in your painting. If you want colors to blend and bleed into each other, you can apply layers on top of wet paint. Be careful not to over-layer with wet paints because the colors could easily become muddy.

If you want to add new color layers and details over the top of a base you've laid down, be patient and make sure the layer underneath is dry first, or the colors will run into one another and you won't have defined edges and shapes. It takes time, patience, and practice.

Other Supplies For Watercoloring

  • Paper towels are going to be one of your best friends on your watercolor painting journey, so keep plenty on hand. You'll use it to clean your brush, dab your brush, and dab the paper as you work.
  • A painting palette is essential for watercolor painting so you can mix colors, add water, and get the right mix before applying paint to your paper. They come in plastic that can be used over and over again.
  • Scratch paper is helpful to test your shades and water-to-paint ratio before moving to your final piece.
  • Masking or painter tape is a great tool to use to tape off your borders and make clean edges to frame your painting. Make sure your edges are sealed tightly so the paint doesn't seep through.


Crayons are fun and you can get a lot of colors at very reasonable costs. These are some of the great starter resources for anyone just getting started in coloring. They have a nice waxy feel on the paper. They are easy to use and are inexpensive.

However, there are some things that you should consider about crayons. They are difficult to use in tight areas of images. Detail work can be difficult to accomplish. They are hard to keep sharpened. And you will find that they get used quickly.

If you would like to get into crayons or add another medium to your coloring. I highly recommend the Crayola Twistables. They have a nice selection of colors and are the easiest of all crayons to get into tight spaces.

But they are very good to use when you have large areas to color.

I do think they are perfect when you are spending some time will your children coloring together.

Paper Matters

Alcohol Marker Paper

The weight of the paper you are using does affect the application of markers. This is especially true of alcohol markers.

When you are trying to get good blends on a stamped image, the lighter paper will bleed more. The lighter papers also do not blend as well and tend to bleed through. In fact, the ink is disbursed through the fiber making it difficult to blend the inks.

  • Neenah Solar White 110 lb is my go-to paper especially when using alcohol markers
  • Express It Blending card
  • Heavenly White 80#
  • Heavenly White 100#
  • Heavenly White 120#

Paper For Colored Pencils

For most colored pencil projects, you will want paper that has some tooth. (texture).That is because in most cases, you are layering colors to blend. Paper without texture (tooth) may actually rip through under the weight of blending techniques.

If you are using a solvent to blend your colors like Gamsol or Mineral spirits, you will want to use a smooth cardstock.

  • Canson Mi Teintes in Pastel White
  • Canson Drawing 220 (or Canson C A Grain in some countries)
  • Strathmore Color Pencil
  • Stonehenge
  • Artagain by Strathmore

There are two papers that work really well for colored pencils. They are well worth the price, especially when you are printing PDF copies or copies that you have downloaded.

  • Neenah Exact Vellum Bristol 67 Lb. has a good amount of tooth,
  • Springhill Digital Paper Vellum Bristol Paper 80 Lb is thicker and has more tooth

Watercolor Papers

For any projects using watercolors, or even watercolor pencils, your only choice should be watercolor paper. This type of paper comes in three textures, hot press, cold press, and rough. Cold press has a lot of tooth to it. Hot press on the other hand has a more smooth texture.

  • Canson XL Watercolor
  • Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Press Extra White
  • Langton 140lb Extra Smooth (Hot pressed) Water Colour Paper

Coloring Essential

Coloring Pages And Books

Coloring books and pages have become so popular, so your options are endless. You can get thousands of free coloring pages with a click of your browser.

Just go to your favorite browser and type, " free coloring pages" Then click images. Or if you are looking for a specific type of coloring page like free Easter coloring pages. You can then print them out on your home computer.

These pages are fun to practice your skills.

You can also scan pages from your favorite coloring books so that you can see them again.

Coloring Tips

  • Turn your coloring book as you fill in the page so that the direction of your pen or pencil strokes is at a comfortable angle for your wrist.
  • Work from the outside in. Start with the outlines of the picture. You are less likely to go out of the lines.
  • Change the angle of your stroke regularly. This will prevent visible lines that can appear when you’re coloring in the same direction.
  • Don't press too hard. Build up layers of color rather than laying a heavy level of color. You can always add color, but it is hard to take it away.
  • White space is your friend! Try leaving a little circle of blank space uncolored to achieve the shiny look of eyes or other round objects.
  • When mixing colors, remember to begin with the lightest color as your base and gradually layer darker colors on top of that, with the darkest shade being the top layer.

Shading Tips

  • To make a shape look full and round, color the edges darker than the center by pushing harder on the pencil.
  • For shadows on the ground below an object, smudge a bit of gray underneath the object.
  • For elements of the design that overlap, shade the bottom shape darker to draw attention to the layering effect.

Coloring Resources

  • BLEND CHARTS | kit-and-clowder
    Colour Blend Charts for markers and pencils, including Copic, Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Prismacolor, Polychromos. Including Blank Colour Charts and popular Colour Blends.

How To Use Coloring Pages

Take your coloring to the next step by using your coloring pages for all kinds of projects.

  1. Wrap it on your coloring page- use your coloring pages to wrap a special gift.
  2. Make an envelope with your coloring page. Use a template or use an envelope tool to create a decorative envelope. Double-sided tape will hold it all together.
  3. Make an envelope liner with your coloring pages.
  4. Create a postcard with your coloring page. Mount a slice of your coloring page on postcard-sized heavy cardboard.
  5. Make an artist trading card. Mount a part of your coloring page on an artist trading card or a standard-sized playing card.
  6. Frame it as an art piece. If you love your art, frame it and hang it somewhere special.
  7. Mount it on canvas or wood. You could decoupage it onto a piece of canvas or wood
  8. Create a storage container. Cover a container with your coloring page to make a one of a kind storage container
  9. Create a custom bookmark with your coloring page. Cut your coloring page into a shape with die cuts. Mount it on a bookmark shape
  10. Make a journal cover with your coloring page.
  11. Line a serving tray with your coloring page. Decoupage a coloring page that you have cut to size. Decoupage it into a wooden serving tray.
  12. Make coasters. Cut your pages to 3.5-inch squares. Apply them to heavy mat board or ceramic tiles.
  13. Create small magnets with pieces of coloring pages.
  14. Decoupage some coloring pages on a plant pot.
  15. Wrap a coloring page around a flameless candle.
  16. Create a bow with a colored page/.

What To Color

Of course, color books are one of the most popular coloring projects are coloring books. You can purchase coloring books or you can find free coloring pages on your favorite browser.

Rubber/Clear Stamped Images

Creating and coloring stamped images for cards, scrapbook pages, and journals have long been popular coloring projects. Because these are stamped images, they are fixed sizes. The images can be stamped over a variety of different surfaces. These images can be embossed to give them raised surfaces. These stamps come in both rubber and clear stamps.

Digital Stamps

Digital stamps are images that you can find at no cost to you on your local browser. Or you can purchase images that appeal to you. The lovely thing about digital stamps is that they can be sized to any size that you can print. They are more economical than regular stamps. They are also easier to store. You can also create scenes by putting images together.

Coloring Techniques

  • Collect the shavings from your favorite colored pencil after you sharpen it. Put them on top of the area you would like to color in. Then, gently, press your finger on top of the shavings, and move your finger in a circular direction. This will create a soft, airbrushed effect with your colored pencil. You can experiment with this technique by mixing together a few different pencil colors.
  • Make the outside edges of each shape darker than the center. This will give your coloring book page a stained-glass effect. You could try outlining the shape with one color, and then shading in the center lightly with another color, as well.
  • Try some multi-colored pencils! Koh-I-Noor Tri-Tone pencils allow you to capture three hues at once with a single stroke of your pencil. This will add instantaneous depth and interest into each area of the image you color. These pencils are also very entertaining to write or do line art with.
  • The ink on certain pens, such as gel pens, often takes a moment to dry after you put it on the page. Take advantage of this by outlining a shape you would like to color in, then wiping your finger from the outside of the shape inward so that the ink drags into the image. This creates a unique technique that will keep your friends guessing!
  • Instead of filling in the space you would like to color with basic, consistent shading, consider putting something textured, such as a leaf, underneath space you plan to color. Then, softly color over the area you would like to fill in using a colored pencil. The pencil will pick up the texture of the object under the paper, giving your coloring book page a whole new dimensionality! Other objects that would work great are coins and textured paper.
  • Have you heard of a blender pencil? Blender pencils are used to do exactly that — blend the color you have already applied to your paper. You can use the blender over one color to make the color appear more solid and to fill in the gaps. Or, you can use it to help create a smooth gradient between different colors after you have applied them to your paper. Give it a go — it’s quite satisfying!

Experiment With Mixed Media

Sometimes you just want to experiment and create a truly unique piece of art. Remember, there are no rules to what you can do on your own personal coloring adventure.

I love to mix different coloring tools to see how they come out.

You could for example color a page with colored pencils and markers, Why not try colored pencils and crayons? Why not try colored pencils and watercolor pencils? There are endless combinations that you can create, only limited by your imagination,

© 2021 Linda F Correa

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