Swap the Hard Work for Enjoyment
Whether you’re brand new to the world of adult coloring, or it’s love at first dabble and you want to know more about it, streamlining your process is a technique to help you be more efficient. It will make the activity more relaxing, and allow you to have fun with it.
The following five steps really are simple, time-tested strategies to boost your adult coloring game without having to sink too much time into it. Even this article will take you about seven minutes to read.
The gorgeous image used in this tutorial is courtesy of Anna Grunduls Design.
This illustration is available as coloring postcard.
Which colors will go where? Take out the colored pencils (or whichever implements you’re using), and literally set them down on the page to see how they’re going to look. I like to group my colors together.
This is a perfect time to think outside the box, and let your creativity shine. Of course you can also just color it the way it’s ‘supposed’ to look – no judgment! But make sure you pick colors that are similar, and contrast (are opposites).
2. Add a Base Coat
You want to start light, and then go dark. Find the lightest shade you will be using, and start to fill in the broadest areas of the picture in a faint coat of color. If you start dark, you will not be able to lighten up. You may go over this same area many times, but that’s okay. As the picture starts to fill up with color, you will be able to see which areas can stay light, and which ones need to be made darker.
3. Find A Rhythm
You’re welcome to color in any order that you enjoy doing it, but it can very satisfying to start working in patterns. In this example, I knew that I was going to go between two colors for the wings. Rather than pick up the pencil, color one stripe, then switch pencils – I saved myself thirty minutes by coloring one color, then skipping a stripe by leaving it blank, and moving on to color the next stripe.
If this resonates with your style, you can also try starting at one end of the picture and moving your way through it until it’s done. This can take away any indecision on your part of what needs to go where next, and can allow you to get into a meditative state of doing, rather than thinking. To me, that’s what coloring is all about.
PRO TIP: If you’re right handed, start coloring from left to right so that you don’t smear your color as you go. It also allows you to see where you have already colored as you go. If you’re a lefty reverse this advice.
4. Fill In The Blanks
Anywhere you left blank, or with a faint base coat can now get the darker colors you’ve been holding back on. This is a perfect time to start blending colors by filling in one section, then overlapping that section with another color.
As you get closer to the edges, add more pigment to your colors. You may need many extra strokes with lighter shades. With darker shades, keep adding light layers until you’re sure that it’s time to add the full force. With colored pencils, this means pressing gently until you’re ready to really push hard.
When it looks like you’re done with your coloring job, you can usually come back in with grey, or black, or even just a darker shade of the colors you are already using, and add some shading. In real life, wherever a light source lands, it leaves a bright spot. Everything to the side of that light gets gradually darker until you wrap around to the back of the object, and see the very dark shadows.
To imitate this in your coloring, figure out where you want your light to come from – you can even draw a little speck on your page to remind yourself where the light is coming from. On any edge close to the light you can add a light color, like yellow, if it’s appropriate. On any edge away from the light, you can add a darker color, gray, or black. As above, start light, then go dark with the shading.
This last step will give your drawing a nice, realistic pop. Once you get good at figuring out where light is coming from, it won’t take you more than a few minutes to add the right shadows in.
PRO TIP: If you’re not confident in your abilities to color inside the lines (and if that’s important to you), start your pencil tip at the line, and then work it in toward the drawing.
Did This Help You?
If any of this helped you, please share this article with your friends who might find it useful. Leave a comment below, and tell us what you liked best, or add any tips you think we may have left off the list! Thank you for reading, and check out Anna Grunduls Design for some really great adult coloring materials, as well as a host of other creative designer goods.