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Tips & Hints for Coloring

Getting started with adult coloring books is pretty simple – get a book, some pencils or pens and start coloring. But as you go down this path, you are likely to amass a collection of books by different authors, different mediums for coloring them in and an assortment of miscellaneous supplies. I picked up a few tips from reading blogs and watching videos of other colorists that helped me with my actual coloring or with organizing my supplies. So I figured I would share them with others right here.

Keep a record for posterity

What I love about coloring in books is that not only do I enjoy the process but I end up with a finished piece of artwork that is beautiful to look at (even if I'm the only one looking!) That’s why I take pictures of every page that I finish. Now some pictures maybe mistakes and others are just pages where I tried out a new technique or color combination that failed - but I still record it.

Within a few weeks, you have this lovely record of images that you have colored in. Some images you can frame and hang up near your coloring space while others can be gifted to friends or family. Whether you want to share them with your friends and others is up to you but I do recommend that you take pictures for yourself.

Get comfortable

Some people like to color in a comfortable easy chair or in bed. Some others (like me) prefer to sit at a table. However you like to color, make sure it's a comfy place that's relaxing and has plenty of light. My coloring space is a simple computer table and chair, set against the wall right next to a window. I get plenty of light during the day and have a lamp for coloring by at night. I keep an unused cutting board to rest my books on and my coloring supplies are right underneath within easy reach.

Don't restrict yourself

When I first started coloring, I promised myself that I would not buy more books until I finished at least half of the first one I bought. But pretty quickly I got bored. So don’t restrict yourself to completing pages in order or using only pencils etc. Jump between different books or mix media (pencils, gel pens, glitter pens, ink, watercolor, anything at all!) on the same page. Go with whatever takes your fancy that day - pens or pencils, shading or just filling in, flowers or landscapes.

One tip I can give is to try and work from top to bottom and left to right. This way you don't smudge anything underneath your hands as you color. Use whichever angle works best for you, I've turned books upside down to color in some hard to reach places. Experiment and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Record your colors

This is something I would recommend to everyone whether you have pens or pencils, 20 or 200 of each. Record all the colors that you have in a particular brand or set in a small notebook (with numbers or names). This way you don’t have to keep opening up boxes to find that one green you’re looking for. You also have your entire range available in a few pages so you can decide which colors to use for that flower or mountain. Always test your mediums at the back of a new book so you don't ruin your pictures with bleed through or shadows.

As you complete pictures, you will find that certain color combinations work well and others not so much (again, try them out on scraps before committing to your actual page). Some people fill their notebook with what pencils or pens they used for each image but I prefer to use my smartphone. Just take a photo of the image and write down what pencils and colors you used. This way you have a handy reference chart you can go back to when you’re wondering which blue looked good on those eyes you colored 2 months ago.

These are just a few of the things that I have picked up along the way and they have really helped me keep things organized. Just remember, there are no rules in coloring. So get comfortable and enjoy the process!

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