Less is more. Get started with adult coloring minimalism - Anna Grunduls Design

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Less is more. Get started with adult coloring minimalism

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So I haven’t bought a single craft supply this year yet! A win? You tell me, it’s January 3rd.

I’ve never been a minimalist – quite the opposite. I like collecting materials and finished artworks and I guess you could say that I hoard paper. However, every once in a while, I feel overwhelmed. This is when simplifying comes very handy! Sometimes all you need to do is more space and it will instantly fill in with joy.

If overwhelm has sneaked into your adult coloring routine, keep reading. Today I’m sharing a few of my best tips to color like a minimalist and deal with overwhelm.

Buy less

Gain the healthy habit of browsing all of your coloring books before purchasing a new one. Sometimes it seems that the new book has everything you ever wanted in it. Especially if it’s on sale, am I right? However, upon browsing your own collection, you might find real gems you forgot about!

Choose quality over quantity

Sometimes it’s tempting to buy thick coloring books with hundreds of designs. And yet, when it comes down to choosing one of the designs, you might find that there’s only a few pages in the whole book that you really like. Adult coloring can be very time-consuming and every illustration you start will be with you for another couple of hours, if not days or weeks! With that in mind – choose wisely. It’s often better to purchase one illustration you absolutely love rather than 30 illustrations you kind-of like.

Print less

Don’t print free coloring pages, unless you intend to color them in right away. A stash of printed pages only creates clutter and actually lowers the chances that you’ll ever finish the page. After all, it’s much more fun to start coloring a freshly printed page rather than one that’s already creased and dusted and has been sitting on your shelf for months.

If you find a free printable that you like or receive one in an email from your favorite illustrator, save it in a special folder on your desktop. You can always check back and print it, when you’re ready to color. This tactic will help you cut down on ink and paper cost and most importantly – will help you de-clutter your coloring page collection.


I don’t know about you, but I am not happy with every purchase I ever made. It’s possible you have books in your collection that collect dust, because the illustrations just don’t speak to you anymore. It’s ok, we’ve all been there. There’s no need for the book to stay on your shelf forever though. If you’re not likely to pick it up yourself, think of someone who could really enjoy the illustrations.

A good idea is donating the book to a local school or a nearby hospital. You could also post a picture of the book in one of the groups for adult colorists. It’s a win-win-win situation, because you’ll have more space for your finished projects, someone will have a lot of coloring fun and the book will finally fulfill it’s purpose.

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Photography by Kelli Tungay

Use the supplies you have

Before you purchase new drawing supplies, consider using the ones that are almost finished. If you have a box of short colored pencils or fine liners that are going to dry out any day now – use them first. There’s no need for you to buy more supplies if you can use what’s almost finished first.

You can turn it into a creative project too! Use each pen until it’s completely dry (or pencil until it’s too short), then throw it out and move on to the next one. This way you won’t feel bad about throwing out supplies that are still good to use, but you won’t have to keep them forever either. Use them up and make space for a fresh set! 🙂

Limit yourself

This is something I learned to appreciate during the first year of my art studies. We were given an assignment to paint a few landscapes from our neighborhood. The catch? We could only use 4 colors per painting. The task seemed so boring at first, I could hardly bring myself to do it. And I was in for a big surprise. When I finally started working on the project, I couldn’t stop painting. Limiting myself to 4 colors helped me control the overall color palette, but most importantly, created very colorful and eye-pleasing outcomes.

I highly suggest that you try this technique yourself. Instead of using the whole box of pencils, limit yourself to 3-4 pencils per illustration. Pick 4 colors that go well together and put the rest back in the storage container. You will be surprised how creative you can get, when your color choices are limited! It’s also a great way to explore texture, pressure and blending.

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Tea coloring by Personally Tea

Think out of the box

Adult coloring can be a very expensive hobby or a very affordable one, depending on your own choices. If you want to try something new without buying another expensive set of art supplies, I recommend improvising!

Any kitchen, garage or garden can be a source of art supplies, if you dare to try them. For example, a while ago I wrote a tutorial on adult coloring with regular black tea. If you think about it, anything that could stain your clothing, could probably also stain paper 😉

Here’s a list of various ideas you could explore (some wilder than the other):

  • wine (grey on paper)
  • coffee (brown-ish)
  • green tea (yellow)
  • water from cooked red cabbage (blue)
  • pressed or blended thick leaves (green)
  • smashed flowers (various colors)
  • cheap bike chain lube (black-ish)
  • bbq coal (black)

Sort your supplies

Last but not least, keeping your supplies organized and tidy will help you avoid unnecessary purchases and make your coloring process more enjoyable.

When you organize your drawing supplies, make sure that every pencil or pen is easily accessible. Instead of deep storage boxes, opt in for multiple shallow boxes or drawers. Don’t mix supplies you wouldn’t use together. For example when you start a page with colored pencils, gel pens mixed into the same box will probably annoy you. Future you will thank you for sorting the supplies today.

When you store coloring books, instead of big stashes, try storing them vertically – this way you won’t have to move the whole stash, whenever you want to browse the last book.

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These are my ideas for adult coloring minimalism. If you have any other ideas on simplifying the adult coloring process for more enjoyment, please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear your great tips!

Have a wonderful year, my favorite colorists!


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Written by Anna Grunduls

Meet the Blogger

I'm the Owner and Illustrator of Anna Grunduls Design. I design very intricate coloring pages and use them to create fun and practical stationery to color in. Follow me on social media for blog updates!

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