It’s Day 24 of National Craft Month! Today, Sandy Allnock breaks down the adult coloring book trend for us. If you’ve been wanting to check them out for a while but have some questions, you need to watch her video! Don’t forget to join us on Periscope for a live-streamed craft every day this month. Plus, scroll down for info on how to win our epic craft giveaways!
Coloring books have been all the rage lately – everyone’s talking about them! Check out the articles in Huffington Post and Parade, just for a few. It’s as though the rest of the world is finding out what we as artists and crafters have always known – coloring is relaxing!
Artist and Adult Coloring Books: the straight skinny!
What is the straight skinny? From Urban Dictionary: the bare, whole, and honest truth about a situation.
As I’ve shared some of the pages colored in my books, I’ve received lots of the same questions – and this post is an attempt to answer them. Please watch the video and then read info below in this ginormous post. (Did I say ginormous? I think it needs to be in all caps like GINORMOUS!)
- Which books are good for which medium? Every book is on different paper. Some are thinner or thicker, some are printed on one side or two. I’ve listed each book below and some SUGGESTIONS for mediums. It’s not an exhaustive list, but you need to test for yourself. See the video for info on how I test.
- Which ones bleed through the back of the paper? Pretty much all of them, just some minimal exceptions. I always put a piece of cardstock behind whatever I am coloring or painting in the book. However – consider there are a LOT of pages in each book, and think about how fast you color. How many months worth of coloring joy do you have with just coloring one side? Question answered.
- Can I treat the paper with anything to keep it from warping? Some folks use different art mediums to coat pages first. I find that’s overkill for the way I work; if I want art to be fancier than I can get in a coloring book, I just begin to create a work of art instead and save my mediums for those pieces.
- What do you do with your pages when you’re finished? I leave them in the book. Just like I did when I was a kid! To me these are not finished works of art.
- If I frame it, will it fade in the light? If you use artist quality mediums, you might be okay; I’m not certain if really awful paper and really lovely paints cancel each other out. If you use regular craft markers, it’ll likely fade – so just change the picture out periodically, that’s all.
- Will coloring in these help me become a better artist? Yes and no. No because you’ll likely never be coloring on these papers in your regular art or craft projects. Techniques need to be altered, sometimes drastically, to work in these books. But YES because any time spent with a pen or brush in your hand is a good thing, right? I try out color combos in my coloring books – that’s a great way to learn how colors look together.
- Can I flatten a page that got crinkly with water? Try ironing it carefully between sheets of copy paper. However if you use anything thick, or paints with mica, those may iron off on the copy paper.
The Mediums: Test yours!
We as artists and crafters have a variety of mediums at our disposal. These books, though, were made for a general audience – people who pick up pencils or crayons at the drug store. Keep that in mind as you try things out! Dedicate your least-favorite page in a book to testing and try out all the mediums, keeping good notes on what it was and how you applied it. I’ve listed below a bunch of ideas – but please, try out what you have! Don’t make it hard on yourself, unless Santa needs to tuck an item into your stocking, of course, just put it on your Christmas list!
- Crayons: Why not! Just get a good sharpener.
- Pencils: I like Prismacolor pencils, but with coloring books – use whatever kind you like. Cheap ones from the drug store are usually just fine. With most coloring books, you’ll use up a lot of the medium, and lots of folks don’t want to use up expensive brand pencils.
- Pens: Before getting to markers, let’s talk pens. Some of the books have either areas you can zentangle (doodle) in – or they have SUCH tiny sections to color that you really do need a tiny nib! I have two pens I use in those cases – Fineliner Triplus.
- Watercolor Pencils: With these, color on the paper, then move the color around with a damp brush. I have two types, but try out whatever you have:
- Prima watercolor pencils: these seem to break down nicely with water on most of the papers -just use a very small amount to keep paper wrinkling to a minimum. They come in sets of 12, so pick a set with colors you like.
- Inktense Pencils: the color is applied the same way, but after the first layer dries, you can put another color on top without moving around the dried color.
- Water-based Markers: There are lots of options here! Try coloring both on the paper, and test coloring on an acrylic block or a piece of plastic and picking up color with a brush. And you can try out lots of other brands that aren’t listed here too, but these are my favorites:
- Tombow: they seem to work most consistently and break down into watercolor best across different books; the brush nibs seem to push the color around best on many of the books I tried out.
- Marvy Le Plume: I love the teeeeny tiny writing nib end! They also have a brush nib – they sometimes pill a little when applied direct-to-paper. But they watercolor pretty nicely.
- Distress Markers: I only found that picking up color from a block worked; these pill up on most papers if you color directly with the brush nib.
- Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers: These have an actual brush for a nib. On some papers colors blend without water, but not on all. The brush nib can be too wide for tiny detailed areas.
- Watercolors: These can be as inexpensive as dollar store paints or as high end as you want to go! My favorite two types for coloring books, and again using very little water: Kuretake Gansai Tambi and Koi Sketchbox.
- Alcohol-based Markers: I wouldn’t recommend these in general for blending most coloring books. The color blends within the fibers of the paper, and there’s not really fiber for the color to get into. But – that said, if you want to do as I did on a few of these and use flat color – go for it!
If you want to see reviews of several different types adult coloring books, you can head over to Sandy’s website to see which one is right for you!
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