More Colouring Challenges

If you enjoyed the previous 10 challenges here are another 10 inspirational ways to fill the pages in your colouring books differently.

Don’t forget to attempt each challenge separately, even if some cross over. Of course there is nothing stopping you later combining different challenges to come up with something new and even more inventive.

Focal Points

This one is especially good for those daunting pages. Pick three or four areas that you like the best and with a black drawing pen add a square around them.
Colour the squares as normal then colour the rest of the page in grey or sepia.

Use Lines

Free hand or if you feel the need to use a ruler. Colour the entire picture using lines, you can hatch the lines or only have them go part way across a section to give the impression of shade.

Colour The Background

It’s something that tends to get left a lot of the time, though there are many creative ways you can colour a background, you aren’t restricted to using the same media as you used for the main image.

Go Neon

Grab some highlighters or neon pens and colour the whole picture in neon colours. It’s loud but it’s fun.

50 Shades

Well maybe not 50 and you aren’t restricted to grey but choose a colour (yellow, green, red, purple, whatever takes your fancy) and find all your pens and pencils of that colour. Use these to complete your picture.

Make Your Mark

Add to the image in some way some books promote this activity by offering suggestions of how you can add to a page, draw a few doodles, if you aren’t comfortable drawing try using rubber stamps. You could even use scrap booking items to stick in.

Three Colours

Choose three colours that either compliment or clash with each other and use them for the entire picture.

Go Outside The Lines

The one thing we are conditioned to try and do as children is stay in the lines while colouring, stop thinking like that and find a way to expand the colouring beyond the lines. Light applications of colour can give a halo effect to the image.

Do It Again

Pick something you did early on in your colouring adventures and attempt it again some months later. You will see the difference in your colouring style and how you have improved over time.

Make A Silhouette

Some pictures will lend themselves to this and some really won’t work so choose your image carefully but colour the entire image in flat black to turn it into a silhouette.

Colouring with Inktense – Flat Colour

The pencils that I primarily use are Derwent Inktense, these pencils can be used dry just like regular colouring pencils you can also use water and a brush after putting the colour down to bring out the really vibrant ink tones. The colour is also fixed with water, making them permanent and can then be worked over further or even used on a variety of surfaces.

Onto Colouring

Pencils work best if you don’t apply too much pressure and build up layers of colour.

The four colours I used on this piece were;

I also use a blender pencil or a water brush.

Starting with field green I apply a light layer to both blades of grass following the direction of the line art. I then applied a second layer to the blade of grass that is further in the background, this gives the impression that there is light and dark areas to the piece but keeping all the areas of colour as flat colour.

Next using leaf green I follow the line of the stem and the leaf, while the stem is mostly straight the leaf has a definite curve to it, following the natural shape of an area will give even flat colour a defined shape.

For the centre of the flower a simple yellow, as this is naturally quite a light colour I used three layers of colour to intensify it, colouring in a circle to follow the shape.

The main petals of the flower are all done in thistle, because of how I am used to colouring with promarkers I still work in logical sections, firstly the petals at the front. For these I used just one layer of colour and kept the strokes of the pencil linear to follow the crease line in the centre of the flower.

Onto the petals at the back and I used the same principle as I did with the grass blades, two layers of colour here make the rearmost petals darker and appear in shadow while still having an even colour within the area.

While you could say at this point the colouring was complete because of my light application of colour the tooth of the paper has left a texture to the colouring making the tone appear lighter that it should be or look incomplete.

Rather than add extra layers, which could end up more time consuming, or use more pressure to begin with I finish all my pencil work either with a blender pencil or water. This smooths out the colour and provides an even finish.

Finishing with a Blender Pencil

The blender pencil is incredibly easy to use. Colour each area of the picture with the blender pencil as you did with the coloured pencil, between each colour make sure to wipe off any pigment that remains on the blender pencil on a black sheet of paper or it will transfer into the next colour. If areas remain where there are gaps in the colour lightly go over with the blender pencil again but colouring in a circular motion. It can leave you with a wax bloom but it will just blow off. I always blow this away as if you sweep it off with your hand it can add pressure to it which will cause smudges.

Finishing with Water

You don’t need a lot of water, just a damp brush is enough to work areas in colouring books, with your brush lightly go over the area you have coloured, the pigment will go ink like and give an even coverage. As you work across an area the pigment will gather in your brush and leave a slightly darker area where you finish so when I work with water I make sure I finish the brush strokes at the base of an area, or in a place where shadow might happen.

Both methods give a different appearance to the finish. More layers of base colour leave a more vibrant colour after finishing.

using derwent inktense coloured pencils

final stages of colouring with derwent inktense pencils

The methods of colouring can be applied to any coloured pencil, though not all work with water and it is normal that with other water colour pencils the final colour is not as vibrant as with the inktense.

Happy Colouring

Creative Colour

A colouring magazine from puzzler.com. I didn’t get this one when it first came out but I did snap it up before the release of issue 2 at the end of May. Now we are at the end of June and issue 3 is in the shops.

I left this one untouched for quite a while but one evening as the boys were watching the Avengers I sat myself in the corner under the floor lamp and decided it was time to make a start.

This is another single side print magazine with 24 images to colour and staple bound. Paper quality seems good and the artwork is a mix of single images, full page patterns and contained images, ranging from fine detail to larger areas making it good for any level of colourist. The cover price is 2.99 and is published monthly.

Onto Colouring

I’m back with my Stabilo pen 68’s and the paper is all right, the colour goes on reasonably smoothly although it does show through on the other side it is single sided so that isn’t a problem.

The first one I completed was the bird, it was my favourite image in the whole magazine. I used a combination of flat colour and a bit of shading. As well as the pen 68’s I also used some of my point 88’s to work on the more detailed areas. It was a really enjoyable image to colour though.

I also had a go on the inside cover with the stabilo pens, the little flower was a great, quick to colour piece. After colouring that though which is a smoother card rather than the paper I was wishing the whole book was printed on that.

I also had a go at a page with my inktense pencils, I did this one using a blender pencil to smooth the colour rather than using water. This came out beautifully I certainly got better coverage with the pencils than the pens.

With Promarkers the coverage can be slightly patchy as the ink dries quickly on the paper, though as I got more used to how the ink was behaving on the paper reducing the size of the circles I coloured in allowed me to get a more even colour.

In Conclusion

A reasonable magazine, the range contained in it does make it suitable for anyone though I haven’t bought issue 2 or the recently released issue 3. With such a large selection of magazines available now and considering my collection already I did find a lot of the images to be rather similar and I personally preferred the selection in the later issues of relax with art.

If you are a new colourist though take a look at this magazine along side the others because you might find the artwork more to your tastes and without having earlier magazines there won’t be similarities like I experienced. You can also use any media to colour but make sure you add a sheet of card under the page you are colouring if you intend to use pens and keep your strokes shorter than normal to reduce patchy coverage.

 

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Relaxing Patterns and Mandala Designs

relaxing patterns and mandala designs by lilt kidsI was sent this book from Lilt Kids to review. All I had seen was the cover and I eagerly awaited the delivery coming over from America.

Lilt kids are an independent publisher, something that I thought was good to see, no major cooperation. All their colouring books are quite cheap (£2 to £4)

Here’s a quote from their website

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY..

and supporting a small, independent business like Lilt Kids Coloring Books. All our coloring books are made right here in the USA by talented artists and printed on the highest quality paper with beautiful, bright covers. Should you ever have any kind of problem with an order or just a question for us, we have great customer service: just email

Sounds very exciting doesn’t it…

the internal cover of relaxing patterns and mandala designsThen the book arrived

Truthfully I was disappointed. Firstly The cover of this book appealed to me the most out of the small selection I was shown to choose from, after looking at their site with the book in my hand I see three other books at least with the same cover, just different titles. The one thing I had to go on to choose a book and it wasn’t unique, nor was it anywhere in the book. The Amazon page also said that there were 40 pages in the book, there were only 22 design pages, 24 if you count the small images in the title page and the back page. Yes it’s over 40 pages if you count the blank back side of every design but I think that’s stretching things a little.

showing the quality of the line work within the bookThe Artwork

Something else that didn’t meet my expectation. It is just my opinion but I don’t expect thick lines in an adult colouring book, the thinnest lines are at least 1mm thick. Now this could be seen as a benefit for those using art therapy who have motor function problems so I’m not going to rule things out just because the line thickness isn’t to my liking.

Looking at the images again on most of them the lines aren’t smooth, and there are areas, on the mandalas especially, where you can tell images have been joined together to create the design.

So, I’m disappointed again.

The Paper

It’s about 100gsm and very lightly textured. Nothing like any of the other colouring books I own . It’s somewhere in between the paper from Zen Colouring and Relax with Art so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to colour on.

The book is printed single sided though so at least any media goes.

stabilo colour testOnto Colouring

I tried three different media in this book. Firstly Stabilo Pen 68, my all rounder pens because there aren’t many books out there there these can’t be used in. I chose to do the first page and went with a pallet of yellows, oranges and reds. They worked rather well.

The first image took me less than an hour to colour. I didn’t really get the satisfaction from the colouring that I would on pages I spend hours or even days on, but it was nice to do something a bit quicker.

promarkers colour testOnto the second and I went with my promarkers and a purple/blue combination, while it was possible to colour with them on the paper (sheet of card under the page required) it did seem to really suck the ink in. This is where I was perhaps thankful the lines in the artwork were quite thick as the colour really did spread (even with the thick lines though the first bit of colour I added did go over.) The other thing I noticed was that the colours became rather muted, the usual vibrancy of the colours was dulled and that was a little disheartening as the final image didn’t end up as I had planned it.

example of using inktense in the bookI spent about an hour and a half on that one.

Finally I got my inktense pencils out and went with reds and greens as you can see I didn’t finish this one, the coloured pencil didn’t really go well on the page and while the water wash looked good to begin with, once it dried though it looked awful and I had a rather wrinkly page.

I didn’t want to finish it, and this is the only time I have ever left an image unfinished.

A Second Opinion

I decided to get a second opinion on the book, I showed it to my 8 year old son. He did think it looked “pretty cool.” So now the book is his, though he hasn’t actually done any colouring yet.

In Conclusion

Pretty disappointing if you are a more advanced colourist, though I will give credit that these might be a good, inexpensive, introduction to colouring for anyone that wants to embark on art therapy but is either daunted by the detail of some books or needs the thicker lines to compensate for motor function problems. They are probably better for children wanting different types of designs.

A children’s book billed for adults.

If the book does interest you though I would say you would be better off using water based pens over any other media as they do give the best colour results.

Did I just get very unlucky with my choice of book, has anyone else tried books from this publisher?

A Trip to the Pencil Museum

pencilsI’ve been a bit quiet as we took a trip up to the lake district last week for the half term holidays. But I won’t bore you with all the other details of our holiday but on Thursday afternoon we popped up to Keswick to visit the pencil museum.

A Pencil Museum?

Yes, a pencil museum. Keswick has a long history of making pencils, in fact the Cumberland Pencil Company were home to the very first pencils after a discovery of an abundant graphite mine. Now known as the brand Derwent.

The museum isn’t huge but it does make for an interesting family afternoon. A family ticket costs £12.50 (or if you buy a family yearly pass for £17.50 you also get 10% off in the shop) As we were visiting during half term there was a quiz for the kids to complete and children’s workshops running through out the day.) There was a parking charge too as the car park is run by the council but the museum do discount your entry by £1.50 on presentation of the stub from the ticket.

Walking in the museum goes of to the left and the shop to the right, as I was waiting in the queue I saw the wall of books, a whole wall of books and it was huge. I spied Enchanted Forest and Animal Kingdom as well as some titles I had not seen before.

First the museum though. My lad had his quiz sheet and I told him he had to find all the information himself, I wasn’t going to help. After some initial complaints of not being able to find things, he did rather well and managed to complete the whole quiz.

elephant pencil sculptureEach of the sections had large displays with very easy to read information, though I have to admit I wasn’t that taken by much of the process of making pencils. The secret map pencil was rather interesting and I also found these beautiful pencil sculptures.  I spent a while looking at these, though the elephant was my favourite. There was also a Batman one that I had to point out to my husband.

The kids did discover the little colouring table. While my youngest sat in her buggy with the clipboard and a bit of paper and just scribbled my lad sat there very happily, he was only dragged away when they announced a workshop which he happily galloped off to while I browsed the shop.

vintage pencil tinsWhile they were colouring though I wandered the displays again, The worlds largest pencil (over 7ft and yes it is a proper pencil.)  There were also lots of cases filled with pencil collections, including some of the newer commemorative collections and lots of vintage and antique collections too. I loved these ones as they had beautiful lakeland scenes on the tins.

Onto the shop, which is around the same size as the museum section, filled with every type of Derwent pencil and lots of useful accessories. My husband even managed to get me a beautiful wooden pencil box that holds 72 pencils. It was an empty one but now I have the joy of filling it, he also bought me a sketch book and a little intro kit that has a CD of techniques a smaller sketch book and a set of 6 Inktense pencils. My husband was a bit sneaky as he didn’t tell me he was buying them for me, he just appeared with them.

I did buy myself Enchanted forest and a couple of little bits and pieces. My son came out with a set of 12 Aquatone sticks, a water brush and some water colour paper. I was quite impressed with what he learnt from a free workshop and he was equally thrilled with the results. For completing the quiz he also got two coloured pencils, one form the coloursoft range and another from the watercolour range.

The afternoon was certainly enough for us, if we had been there any longer I think it would have just cost us more as I discovered more and more things in the shop.

 

The Tangle Toolkit

If you have been keeping up with me on instagram you will have noticed I have been doing a tangle a day.

I wanted to share with you my personal toolkit, Zentangle ® do a lovely official kit but I already had everything I needed.

Pens

wpid-wp-1426183474208.jpegUni pin

I’ve had these a while as I also use these when drawing templates for paper cuts. When tangling I use the 0.3 for outlining the frame and the 0.1 to draw the tangles.

One thing I did notice though was that while these were great for the slower drawing when lining a drawing they weren’t as good for tangles where I draw a little faster.

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Pilot

A new addition while I was picking up some new sketchbooks I bought a black pilot drawing pen (0.2) and two sepia pens (0.2 and 0.5) I have found the pilot pens better for tangling as they seem to flow better for the way I draw.

The sepia pens were for a secondary colour when drawing step outs and to also try some full sepia tangles.

wpid-wp-1426183622492.jpeg Pitt Artist

The brush pen is great for filling large areas, the black pigment isn’t as dense as in the drawing pens and there is less bleed through on lighter weight papers so I prefer it for quick fills to my promarkers.

I had originally bought it for typography but really didn’t get on with it for that.

 

Paper

wpid-wp-1426184113638.jpeg I prefer to have a book, the official tiles are gorgeous and one day I might use them but I would like to be producing a higher level of work first. I first started with a free writer book as I always have a few of them about but the paper in those isn’t up to holding the ink. Both my step out book and my tangle book are 160gsm Daler Rowney graduate sketchbooks. My step outs go in an A5 soft cover stapled book and the tangles are in an A6 hard cover book.

wpid-wp-1426183984495.jpegThere is no bleed through on the paper so while I don’t use both sides of the paper in my tangle book I am able to use both sides in the step out book.

I like the hard bound book as it is easy to throw in my bag and take anywhere.

Pencil

While the idea behind zentangle is that you draw with a pen you still add your strings with a pencil. I am a mechanical pencil lover and use a rotring Tikky 0.5 with a HB lead. I do have a set of sketching pencils for shading though I haven’t tried any of that yet.

Other Things

My pencil case has a few other things in it too, I have a white gel pen that can be used for drawing on parts that have been filled with black. I also have all my other drawing equipment that might make it into tangles one day like the promarkers and my coloured pencils. But all you really need is something to draw on and something to draw with. I have seen beautiful tangle art in all sorts of mediums.

First Experience: Drawing

Ok it’s not my first time drawing, I scribble things down all the time but I have never really drawn beyond quick sketches of ideas which have always been for my eyes only.
Since I had been trying things out and being able to draw something that makes sense to more than just me would be very helpful for bead designs, it would be great for papercutting because I could hand draw templates rather than composing them digitally and I could just sit and draw something for fun.

chibi posesAs I mentioned in my post about promarkers I had fallen in love with Yampuff’s style. If I could draw my own chibi’s that would be great, chibi’s also seemed a gentle entry point for figure drawing as the proportions weren’t as crucial as in more traditional drawing.
Perhaps I was being a little adventurous, I managed basic poses but once it came to adding details I became unstuck, the eyes always looked weird, the hair was strange and despite studying fashion at collage I couldn’t get the clothes right either.

It’s time to shelve that idea for a while.

But I still want to draw

zentangleI needed to simplify things, so I started looking at doodles and zentangle.
It was certainly easier and the construction of tangle patterns was clearly documented and very easy to follow. It was also quick and unlike everything else required very few “things” to be scattered around. Armed with my lovely tikky pencil (rotring 0.7mm mechanical pencil) and a lovely little sketchbook I began my doodling.

(image – doodles)Little mistakes are less noticeable, or much easier to turn into part of the pattern. But the idea is that you don’t erase anything (unless it’s pencil marks after inking)

I didn’t actually think I would have as much fun with the doodles as I did but they were fantastic, and a great confidence boost after the mishap of the chibi’s. Plus after seeing some really amazing work with doodles I noticed how great they would be as paper cuts, maybe even take the patterns and try and add them onto beads.