Skip to main content

Recording Your Colors

Roughly 3 weeks ago, I finished my Jellyfish from Lost Ocean and started on another project. Since I had amassed more than 400 pencils in pursuit of my coloring hobby, it was about time I started recording all the colors I had. I talked about it in a previous post as something that would help any colorist.

There are many reasons you might want to have an organized list of all your colors. For one thing it helps you get to know them. If you're anything like me, you may have hundreds of pencils, pens, markers and paints across a bunch of different brands. Even if two pencils in different brands have the same name, it doesn't mean they will look the same. Recording your pencils gives you a feel for them, so you know exactly what shades you have in your toolkit.

Most pencils will have the color on the outside either at the tip or the whole body. But often what it looks like on the pencils will not match how it goes down on the paper. Having them all in a journal means you know how each pencil will look on paper, even if the paper in your coloring books isn't exactly the same.

Another reason is to have a reference chart of all your colors. This way you can instantly find the shade you're looking for. You can also pick out color combinations that will look good together or colors which will make your picture pop. Picking out the exact shade for the leaf or skin or hair etc will be much easier if you have all your colors in one place.

Sooner or later you will find yourself buying pencils or pens in open stock (basically single pieces instead of sets). You can take your reference journal with you so you don't end up buying duplicate colors or so you know exactly what shades you are looking for. You can even test your colors right there to see if it's what you want.

I have a tendency to not mix different brands or media in my pictures. Having a swatch book helps me to mix things up a little. Sometimes that exact shade you're looking for may not be in the set you've used so far but in another brand. With my swatch book open next to me, I'm able to mix and match across brands to create beautiful pictures.

How to Make Your Own Color Journal
If you don't have wet media like paints, watercolor or even alcohol markers, you can use any old notebook you have lying around to make your own journal. But if you do not have any of the above, then you would be better served buying a dedicated journal. I bought a mixed media visual journal from Strathmore because of many reasons. I have watercolor and ink pencils so I needed paper that could take wet media. I also liked the spiral binding so I could lay it flat on my desk. Plus it's not very expensive.

Peta Hewitt has a nice video tutorial on how to record your colors for reference. So you can follow along with your own media and journal. How you divide the pages to fill all your colors is up to you. You can divide them by color groups or according to the total number of pencils/pens you have. For example, I divided my Polychromos and Albrecht Durer according to color groups since Faber Castell arranges the pencils in a nice gradient from white to black. For my Derwent Inktense and Prismacolors, I ignored any groups to fit everything in 2 and 4 pages.

In fact now I wish I'd done the same for my FC pencils but oh well. There aren't any rules to making a reference chart, it's basically up to you. Some people even draw little boxes and create different swatches for how the same color looks in light, medium, dark and blended variants. Or you might want to have dry and wet swatches for watercolor pencils and so on. Happy coloring everyone!


Popular posts from this blog

The Theory Of Color

My favorite thing about coloring is that it takes away much of the stress of drawing. I've seen disparaging remarks by people against colorists, mostly in the vein of 'just learn to draw already!' But I think that they are kind of missing the point. I know I can get better at drawing if I practice everyday. But being a full-time student with a couple of part-time jobs doesn't leave me much time for creative pursuits. Why shouldn't I enjoy playing with color just because I can't draw well?

Once I jumped into the world of coloring, I faced the biggest question for a newbie colorist - how do I pick colors for something? I loved looking at the finished pictures posted online by advanced colorists and even actual artists. I wanted to be able to create something like that! I started learning some basics about colors and how they work to get better at coloring my books.

So if you have ever wondered about color combinations or why some colors tend to look better toget…

Tutorials And Coloring Videos On YouTube

When I first started coloring, I didn't know much about techniques or special equipment that I would need. So how did I go from an absolute beginner to being able to produce finished pictures such as the one on the left? Almost everything that I have learned is from reading blogs and following colorists on YouTube. There are many talented artists who put up different types of videos and there is a lot to be learned out there. A few of my favorite artists are:

1. Peta Hewitt

To be quite honest, if I had to recommend only a single name for beginners to follow it would be Peta. She has some wonderful videos where she explains different parts of the coloring process including types of supplies to buy, how she goes about selecting color combinations and even detailed tutorials where she shows how to color an entire page from start to finish. She frequently reviews various coloring books as well. She also has some speed coloring videos – where there is no explanation, just her coloring …

Organizing Your Coloring Supplies

Coloring is easy enough to get started with - all you need is a book you like and some pencils or pens you have lying around. But as with any hobby, there are always more and better supplies just round the corner! It started out innocently enough for me, I spotted a book in the store and bought it entirely on impulse.

Pretty soon I was caught up in all the beautiful books out there for colorists, not to mention good quality supplies. It's been a little more then 6 months since I started coloring and already I've amassed an impressive collection of books and coloring supplies. So how do you store your pencils/pens when you have so many? Well turns out there are many options before you. Here are a few ways you can store your supplies:

The Original Tin
If you're buying quality pencils or pens, they usually come well packaged in tin or wooden boxes. The wood cases are stunning to look at but often take up a lot of room, not to mention they can be twice the price of the tin cas…