How to Color an Adult Coloring Book
Ok, so we have showed you some of the best adult coloring books in the fantasy style and hooked you up with the best coloring tools. How do you color an adult coloring book? The answer may be more complex than you think.
When I was a kid I would spend hours with my Aunt coloring. It was a weekend activity that we all shared after the chores were done. She taught me how to line an image with the color I wanted to use then color it all in. It helped teach me to stay inside the lines. I have used this technique most of my life. Now that I am an adult however I want to experiment and practice with new techniques and styles.
A couple of things to think about before starting your project.
What color palette do you want to use. Picking some colors that go well together and will create the mood you are trying to achieve in the image is first. Not only can it be fun it can simplify your entire process. You will have several key colors you can then choose varying shades of to create depth and movement in your image.
Decide where the light in your image is coming from. Keep it consistent throughout the image. So that shadows and highlights align and create a true to life look.
What are you going to do with the image? There are a few things you can do with your completed works. Different tools require different drying times. Keep this in mind as you plan. You can use your images for wrapping paper on small packages. Unless you have a way to blow up said image to a large sheet.
You can frame your images and create a gallery of your families artwork.
You could create a portfolio or scrapbook of your images. To show off just your favorite designs and not the practice ones along the way.
You could leave them in the color book they came in to track your progression of learning techniques.
You could use your images in a decoupage and cover a boring item with a beautiful new look.
Remember that once you have a copy of a image it is up to you how to use it. The original drawing is copyrighted to the artist so you can’t sell them. However you can photocopy the image to work on in many techniques.
One of the most important techniques to master is shading. It allows you to really bring life to your images. Making them seem to leap off of the page and have natural curves to their form. Your strokes matter. Creating movement in an object can be as simple as changing the way in which you stroke the pencil across the page. If you use curved strokes instead of straight you can create a slight curve to the object.
Darker shades. Taking the movement a step further you can add darker shades to the edges to create the illusion of curving.
For shading to work you want to first decide where the light in your image is coming from. This allows you to keep the shading consistent across the entire image. The illusion would be shattered if the light is hitting different areas from different places.
Pressure Shading- A simple and natural method of shading an image. You alter the pressure you apply to your pencil as you work to give the appearance of shade. Sharpen your pencil to a fine point then grip your pencil so that your pencil tip is laying flat against the paper rather than on its tip. Make gentle overlapping strokes starting at the lightest area and gradually applying more pressure as you get to the area you want shade.
Alternately you can apply a light coat of color to the entire area then go back to the areas you want to be darker and apply an additional layer or many.
Most dark colored pencils will allow you to use this method and achieve 3 or 4 shades of color within the image. Starting with the lightest color you can achieve without losing control of the pencil.
- Colorless Blend- Using a pressure shading technique can leave bits of the white paper showing through. If you wish to remove this effect you will want to try a colorless blend. Burnishing with a colorless pencil or paper towel is a simple way to blend colors together. Starting at the lightest end and staying within your value area each time gently make overlapping strokes or circular motions. Using this method will darken and intensify the colors while smoothing out all the white specks.
- Add other tools of colors- Using a colorless blend can reduce the contrast between your light and dark areas. One great way to counter this effect is to use either a darker shade of pencil or a marker or pen. Lightly go over the areas you wish to be darker with the new tool. Colored pencils are translucent by nature. They are designed to be layered. Choosing a darker shade will allow you to create a strong contrast in areas you want dark.
- Apply Light Color over Dark- Transversely you can apply a lighter color over a darker one to create shine or subtle highlights to an image. This can work wonders for creating shades in hair and creating a reflective surface appearance. Simply work back and forth over an area with dark color with a medium or light color. Perhaps start medium and go lighter next layer to create real depth. You will want to use medium to heavy pressure to blend the colors together.
- Overlap Colors to Blend- Instead of using a pressure shade you can rely on your lighter colors. Start with the darkest color you want to have in the image. Then gradually work towards the lighter. Using the lightest shade to overlap all of the other gradients and blend them together.
- Use Solvents- Be warned not all paper can handle solvent. Be sure to test the papers ability to withstand your chosen solvent. Also use a test sheet to play with the colored pencils you are using and the solvent to see the effect it has on them. This way you can be sure to get the effect you desire. Some great solvents to try in a ventilated area away from flame of course:
- Zippo lighter fluid
- Rubber cement thinner
- Odorless mineral spirits
- Rubbing alcohol
A little goes a long way with solvent. You can also buy colorless blender markers. They use a liquid to dissolve the colored pencil or markers slightly. Allowing you to blend and lighten to get your desired effect. I feel the solvent method is best left until you have a firm grasp over the other shading methods. So that you have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve.
There are a lot of people who wonder what the white colored pencil is for. After all the paper you are coloring on is white. You don’t need to color it again right?
Actually in some cases you do. Coloring a small spot of white on an image allows you to keep that area white while you color and shade the rest of the image. You can go back over the area as needed to maintain the level of white you want. This will create a nice shiny spot or reflective area. Say you want an egg to look golden. Keep a small spot of it white while coloring the rest shades of gold and yellow. It will look as if the light is shining off of part of it. Remember to keep you light location consistent across the whole image.
Another great use for white is blending. You don’t have a blender pencil handy? No problem. You can simply use your white pencil. It will lighten the color across the entire image so remember to color it all a shade of two darker to counter this.
It also works wonders if you accidently color an area too dark. Say you are using a pressure shading technique and bring the dark in a bit more than you wanted. Simply go over the extra with a white pencil to lighten it back up.
As you look at your blank page there are endless ways to make it come alive. The artist has worked hard to create a fun and engaging world for you to step into. Why not jump in with both feet and truly let your imagination fly. There are no rules in coloring. Except maybe to stay in the lines. The rest is completely up to you. Have fun. Open your mind to all the possible ways the image can look. What is going on in the picture? Create an entire snapshot of a life. Each image can tell a story. How and what the story is about is completely up to you. Please feel free to share thoughts or creations of your coloring in the comments below.