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Coloring is Not Just For Kids!
I'm an Adult and I Color!
As a child I remember being thrilled to receive a coloring book and a new box of crayons - Crayolas please:) Do you remember getting your first box of 64 crayons? The colors were amazing, right? And the sharpener in the back of the box was outrageous! While other kids couldn't wait to get outside I was content to sit for hours happily laying down color and creating a "masterpiece."
About four years ago while spending time with a friend's children, I pulled out my coloring books and purchased some new crayons thinking the girls would be thrilled, wrong. They had something better than a box of new crayons, they had Crayola Twistables! I was intrigued and hooked. Twistables are crayons that you twist to reveal the point; like a mechanical pencil. The next day I went out and bought my own set of Twistable crayons. Little did I know they had Twistable colored pencils too, so I purchased those along with a few new coloring books.The Twistables made it easy to shade and I was able to achieve a certain level of detail while coloring - loved it!
A few months later when visiting my sister she pulled out her coloring book -- I had never seen a book like this (I must live under a rock) and I was wishing I had my Twistables. Needless to say I purchased my own Creative Haven Coloring Book in the next day or two. These coloring books are awesome, published by Dover, they offer a variety of coloring books from which you can choose and you can purchase them at your local craft store or Amazon.com. Barnes and Noble does not carry this coloring book in their store but you can purchase them on their website. My next purchase will definitely be Creative Haven's Steampunk coloring book - can't wait!
My interest in coloring has never waned and recently while surfing on YouTube I discovered a color blending technique using colored pencils. So I headed to the craft store once again, this time to purchase my "big girl" colored pencils. I opted for Prismacolor Verithin pencils to stay within my budget. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. Unfortunately I did not research colored pencils before making my purchase and have since learaned the Verithin Prismacolor pencils, while a good pencil, are best for sketching. The Premier and Scholar variety of Prismacolor pencils are better for blending, they have a higher pigment and wax content which facilitates the blending process. The Premier Prismacolor pencils are considered artist quality. Going forward I will purchase Prismacolor Premier pencils because I love to blend my color.
As for color blending, there are several ways to blend your color. Here's what I've learned.
Supplies Needed for Color Blending
Baby Oil Blending
Mineral Spirit Blending
A Few Coloring Techniques to Consider
Here are a few coloring techniques you may want to consider.
Just Pencils-in this technique you only use your colored pencils. By applying different pressure while coloring (heavy, medium, and light) you are able to blend and shade your work. You can also overlap your color with a lighter shade using medium to heavy pressure. I'm going to try this technique at some point, but I think, for me, most of the time this technique would be too labor intensive and require too much brain power. I like to relax when I'm coloring. So for now I'm going to pass on this technique.
Baby Oil-in this technique you use baby oil as your medium. Once you have your base color in place you use a blending stump and apply baby oil which reacts with the pencil and allows you to blend your color as you continue to apply additional shades of colored pencil strokes. With this technique you need to discern how much oil to apply. While baby oil is a somewhat common household item, I'll pass on this technique. Might just be a little too messy for me.
Colorless Pencil-Blick has a colorless pencil available and it looks like it would work well. After you apply your base coat of colored pencil you go over your work blending the edges with the colorless pencil. I'm looking forward to trying this technique, but if you knew me personally you'd know I am way too impatient to wait until I purchase a colorless pencil to try my hand at color blending.This technique will have to wait until my next trip to the craft store.
Mineral Spirits-this technique is very similar to the baby oil technique. You lay down your base coat of color and instead of applying baby oil, you apply the mineral spirits. In my opinion papernlaceprincess, whom I found on YouTube, is spot on. This blending technique is easy and you get great results. The mineral spirits has a watery consistency, but yet not oily or greasy. The paper absorbs the mineral spirits but yet is dry to the touch within seconds. As you apply this medium you can see your colored pencils strokes meld together right before your eyes; very cool. This technique has my vote and has has kicked my coloring up a notch. I am loving the results.
Why Not Consider Coloring as a Hobby?
If you are looking for a relaxing hobby I recommend you return to a childhood favorite, coloring. The range of subjects to color are endless. There are crayons, Twistables, colored pencils, and markers (Copic markers, oh my, let's not even go there) something for everyone at any skill level. To me color blending keeps the art of coloring alive and interesting. I think you will agree with me when I say color blending with mineral spirits very easy but gives you big results. Try it, I think you'll like it!
Once you have gathered your supplies - check out my tutorial and I will walk you through the color blending technique using mineral spirits. Enjoy!
Here is what you will need to get started.
1. A good quality coloring book or print. Purchase a coloring book or print a coloring page you. Free coloring pages are available on the Internet, however if you go this route, I suggest you print your coloring page on ultra smooth cardstock or good quality paper, the end result will be much better.
2. Quality colored pencils are worth the investment. You can visit an art center to purchase pencils, but keep in mind your local craft store does carry the Prismacolor and you can use a coupon:)
3. Blending medium. Odorless mineral spirits.
4. A blending tool. Blending stumps are available at your local craft store and Amazon.com. In a pinch you can use a Q-tip!
5. Small jar and a small piece of sponge.
Project 1 - roses
To me, markers were something your sister-in-law gifted your children; those messy things would get all over their chubby fingers and on their clothing, right? They bled and looked blotchy. Clearly markers were created to intrigue children and make parents crazy. I put the thought of markers right out of my head.
When doing some research on colored pencils I began seeing completed works using markers. These marker colored pages didn't look like anything I recognized. The colors were vibrant, coverage was smooth - the more I saw this type of art form the more I was drawn in - I couldn't image how the artisan achieved this magnificent look using MARKERS!
As I continued my research I started seeing the brand name Copic - I began to investigate. I learned a few things right away. Copic markers are alcohol markers, they are used by artists and/or professionals, they come in hundreds of colors, they are refillable, and cost prohibitive for my budget. So again I put markers out of my head.
A few weeks later I was tuned in to QVC, a home shopping network, and they were airing a rare two hour "craft" show and I was watching because they were going to have a few scrapbook items, my newest passion. While watching they began presenting an item called Spectrum Noir Markers -- what was that? -- markers? Turns out Spectrum Noir is a brand of alcohol marker that is in my budget. With the QVC offer I would receive 24 markers and an instructional DVD, extra smooth card stock (didn't know that existed) and a case to hold the markers; sold!
I think the Spectrum markers are great with a few exceptions, of course I have nothing to compare them to; I'm hoping to purchase a few Copic markers just to do a comparison. The biggest complaint I have about the Spectrum marker is that the marker is difficult to open, the cap has a really tight seal. The DVD explains the idea is to put down some ink and before it dries apply your next color and then blend the two with a third marker. In other words, you have to work somewhat quickly and when you can't get the cap off it's stressful.
I'm in the beginning stages of learning to blend my color and I am having trouble. I guess this could be for a few reasons; the color range of the markers are too far apart; not enough base color on the image or I just haven't practiced enough. From what I read on the Internet it sounds like the Copic markers are easier to blend. Also, the Spectrum kit did not include a blending marker which might help. I'll pick one of those up the next time I'm in the craft store. I was delighted to learn A.C. Moore sells the Spectrum Noir markers so I added two additional color ranges to my stash! In July I am planning to attend a Scrapbooking conference. The conference is offering a class teaching how to use colored pencils and alcohols markers together - sounds like a dream to me!
Colorless Pencil is the Bomb!
I recently purchased a colorless pencil which I found at my local craft store located right with the loose colored pencils. The one I purchased is marked "Premier Colourless" and the outer covering is natural wood.
To get started I choose three shades in the same color family. I laid down my base color, the lightest of the three, making sure I have good coverage of color. Next I use the medium shade, and use light strokes and apply the color. For instance, if I'm coloring the petal of a flower, I begin at the flower center and stroke toward the edge of the petal coming down about two thirds of the way. Lastly I use the darkest shade and again start at the center of the flower, this time only come out about a third of the way toward the pedal edge. Now for the magic.
Using the colorless pencil I begin "scrubbing" the pencil over my original colored pencil strokes. As you apply the colorless pencil you will see your base color melding together, the surface becomes much smoother. This will create "crumbs" so if you have an old make-up brush to brush away the crumbs use it - if you use your hand to brush away the crumbs you may apply too much pressure and smear the color pencil crumbs on your work - you will not be happy.
You can achieve a very nice finish with this technique. I have been using the colorless pencil almost exclusively when coloring. Again, it gives you a really nice finish and is so easy to use. Let me know if you try this technique and what you think. I thought I would stay with the mineral spirit technique, but I've changed my mind. The colorless pencil now has my vote.
Glad I'm Not Alone
At family gatherings I usually bring my coloring books and crayons, pencils, etc. My nieces love to color - they are adults now, but not counting them, I'm happy to know I'm not the only adult that colors.
I was getting a little bored with the coloring books in my stash and began surfing the web for pages to color. I found on Pinterest there are tons available. I like to print the images on my ultra smooth card stock - I get such a better end result it's worth printing on the better card stock. I purchase this special card stock at my local craft center,with a coupon of course and that makes this extra expenditure affordable. If you have better grade computer paper that might work well too, I don't have any of that on hand.
I also like I to outline my work. I don't do this with everything I color, but on special pages I do. For example, right now I'm working on a scrapbook memory album and I'm incorporating some of my coloring. In this project I took one of my rubber stamps, stamped it on the ultra smooth card stock and then colored it. When I was pleased with the end result I came back in and "inked" all the outlines. It really makes the colors pop. To out line my work I like to use the Pigma Micron markers. These markers come in different colors (I usually use black) and different nib sizes (the tip); 01 being the smallest nib. The photo pictured here is going to be the cover of my scrapbook project; a garden themed memory book - I think it's going to look great.