When my friends first stumble across my online shop, they often ask if I illustrate those adult coloring books. I always reply: I illustrate coloring pages!
It may seem like it doesn’t make a difference, but if a coloring page had feelings, I know it would be relieved! The way I see it, coloring pages don’t like living in books. And I’m here today, to explain why:
Before I started my own business, I illustrated an intricate coloring book for Australian publisher, Kaisercraft. I was so excited, when my copy of the book arrived! The quality of the paper was outstanding. But it wasn’t long until I tried coloring in one of the pictures and got instantly annoyed.
Because of the glue binding, parts of the design were inaccessible for the colored pencils. In order to color in the whole design, I had to break the seam. This in turn resulted in pages falling out. Yet, even after breaking the seam, the book still kept closing itself WHILE I was coloring, a total disaster. I ended up tearing out the pages I wanted to color in. And don’t even get me started on hardcover books! Keep in mind, you’re going to spend several hours coloring each picture from the book. Shouldn’t it be as comfortable and relaxing as possible? Loose coloring pages would do a much better job.
Colored pencils are great, but Promarkers will always be my favorites. Alcohol based markers blend wonderfully, so I just can’t help, but use them for shading. Unfortunately, no matter how thick the paper is – they pretty much always bleed through the page. Most coloring books have double sided pages, which means one of them will likely get ruined, unless you only use colored pencils.
Soon after the adult coloring community started talking about their inconveniences, publishers and indie artists started working on improving the coloring experience. As a result, they started offering artist editions of the coloring books, with one-sided pages, printed on a thick card stock. While that’s an awesome offering, it’s not a solution for left-handed colorists – most of those coloring books feature the designs on the right page. That makes it even less comfortable for left-handed colorists.
I can’t stress this enough: Art wants to be displayed! Once you finish a loose coloring page, you can frame it and hang under 5 minutes or turn it into other paper crafts. You might make a greeting card, use it for decoupage or decorate your planner with it. Colorists who finish their pages in books, tend to leave them there forever. Unless you open the book often and show the art to all your friends, I prompt you to cut out the page! Art needs to breathe! Coloring is a very time-consuming hobby and it’s only fair to your creations, if you let them make everyone’s eyes happy 🙂
Did you ever start a coloring page in a book and put it away while tidying up, but than you never picked it up again? That’s the most common case of forgotten coloring pages. Books are too easy to put away on a bookshelf and forget. I try to always keep my ongoing projects around my desk. I always use loose coloring pages, so I pin the page on a clipboard or tape it near my desk. This way it doesn’t take up any space, but I have a visual prompt to finish coloring.
Books may seem to be the perfect storage for finished coloring pages, however they’re not as protective as one might think. Coloring pages are usually bigger than regular books, so they’re stored horizontally. Due to their weight, the lower books are actually “squeezed” under the pressure. For a short time period this should not be a problem, but after a long period of time, this could ruin your finished coloring. After a while, the colored pencil pigments start sticking to the opposite page and if both pages are colored – they can even start to mix! The best way to keep your colored pages is to display them in frames. If they’re not currently displayed, use clear folders and a binder to store them vertically and minimize paper friction.
With all that being said, I decided to let go of the last few copies of my coloring books. If you like coloring books, now is your last chance to grab one of these for just $1! Once all copies are gone, these will not come back into the shop. To see the products, click on one of the pictures above or visit this shop page.
A few days ago I shared a picture on my Instagram Account, featuring an adult coloring page colored with regular, brewed tea. The post was a hit! I decided to share a tutorial, so you can try this technique at home.
It’s always a good time to grab a cup of tea (In fact, mine is standing in front of me right now!), but for this tutorial we won’t be drinking it. We’ll use a very intense tea essence as watercolor paint. Here’s what what’s needed:
This may come as a surprise, but I actually recommend using low quality, black tea for this purpose. Expensive tea may contain whole or broken tea leaves, which is great for brewing and drinking, but not so much for paint making 😉 Tea bags with powdered tea are going to work best here. I used Twinings Lady Grey, because it was too strong for my taste and I didn’t want to waste it.
In 1/4 cup boiling water, put 2-3 bags of tea. Squeeze the essence out of the bags by tapping them with a tea spoon. Let the cool and brew for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. I like to brew my painting tea on the day before. During the night, some of the water evaporates and the essence is more pigmented in the morning.
Time to start painting! Keep in mind, our tea painting is going to be monochrome, so instead of various colors (like with pencils), we’ll be working with various shades of the same color. How do we achieve all of these shades with one and the same tea brew? My answer is: layers. Darker shades can be achieved by layering tea 4 or 5 times and lighter shades only need 1 or 2 layers. While I was waiting for my coloring to dry, I made a simple paint chip for your reference:
For the first layer, I start off by coloring only the details I want to be the darkest. You’ll need a nice, thin brush for this. As you can tell from the pictures, I like to paint very thick layers. It causes the paper to wave more at first, but once it dries, the paper flattens out.
When you’re done painting the first layer you’ll have to wait until it fully dries, before you start working on the second one. Otherwise, all layers will mix up and every element will end up having the same shade. I recommend setting the picture aside until it fully air dries, but if you’re impatient like me, you can dry it with a heat gun or hair dryer. Keep a fair distance between the dryer and the paper, so you don’t blow the tea drops outside the lines.
At this point you pretty much know what to do: Each next layer should cover the element you colored before AND some that you want to be slightly lighter. Let the layer dry and paint the next one, this time covering even more elements. Repeat the steps until your picture is finished!
You can see my finished picture above. How did I do? 🙂
I’m 23, a designer, business owner and I like to believe I’m a kind person too, but I leave that up to my fiance to verify. 😉 It’s nice to meet you!
So, after illustrating coloring pages for more than 2 years now, I decided to start a blog of my own and share tips and tutorials with my wonderful followers. You asked and I listened!
Here are some of the topics I will be covering over the next few months:
Feel free to say hello and introduce yourself in the comments section below. Which posts are you most excited to read?