Tips and Ideas for Your Coloring Book

Whether you are coloring in a pre-printed book or coloring your own doodles, there are some things you can do to make your pages look glorious. As I’ve already mentioned, I love using markers to color. Below are some tips for working with markers, and some ideas for how to make your pages look great.

 

TIPS FOR COLORING WITH MARKERS

1) Make a test sheet. I like to test my art supplies on the paper I’m using. Markers can be particularly deceptive: the color on the outside doesn’t always match the color of the ink. You can make an organized chart in rainbow order, or something more informal. Just make sure you label your tests so you can refer to it as you go.

testPage_web
My test page for two different sets of markers.

2) Watch out for bleed through. Marker ink often bleeds through thinner papers. To keep the color from coming through onto the next page in your book, stick a sheet of scrap paper behind the page you are coloring.

3) Use the same color in several places on your page. This is my trick for getting a harmonious page, especially with doodles. It’s easy to get caught up in changing color schemes from frame to frame, but for the whole page to really sing, make sure a few of the colors show up in more than one frame to tie the page together.

FirebirdPage_web
I used blue-green and gold in most of the designs to help tie this page together.

4) Pay attention to contrast. How dark or light your colors are relative to one another can affect how your design looks. A fast way to learn what does and doesn’t work is to make a sample page with the same design in a grid, then color each box differently to see what happens.

patterntest_web
The value and color between the flowers and their centers has to contrast a lot or you don’t see the flowers at all.

 

IDEAS FOR COLORING YOUR DOODLES

1) Use color theory to choose your coloring scheme. We all learned about the color wheel when we were in school (if you need a refresher, go here). It’s a great resource for choosing colors for your doodles. Some common schemes are:
a) monochromatic: using shades, tints, and tones of a single color

monochromatic_web
Monochromatic color scheme (with just a touch of yellow)

b) analogous: using two or more colors that are adjacent on the color wheel

AnalogousExs_web
Two examples of analogous schemes: the first is yellow/yellow-orange/orange/orange-red/red; the second is yellow/yellow-green/green/blue-green.

c) complementary: using colors opposite one another on the color wheel

complementaryExs_web
Two examples of complementary color schemes. The first is red-orange and blue-green. The second is the more traditional red and green.

d) triads: using three colors that are equal distance from one another on the color wheel (at the corners of an equilateral triangle)

triad2_web
The color wheel triad in this doodle is red-violet/yellow-orange/blue-green.

e) combine schemes: I like to add the complementary color to an analogous scheme to make the colors pop even more.

splitcomp_web
The yellow-to-red analogous colors are even brighter thanks to the blue-green I added (which complements the yellow-orange at the center of the analogous run).

2) Blend colors for a different look. You can blend your marker colors within a design to get a more sophisticated look. This works best with analogous colors because they visually blend into one another, especially if you have a larger marker set with lots of shades, tints, and tones in it. It also helps to work quickly, while the ink is wet, so the colors bleed into one another a bit.

BlendingDemoLabld_web

3) Experiment with one design by coloring it different ways. One of my favorite doodles is the one I call X-box. I include it some version of it on most of my doodle pages. It’s simple to draw but offers lots of options for coloring.

XboxColors_web
X-box colored six different ways.

Do you have any tips or ideas for coloring with markers that I missed?

Author: Kit Dunsmore

Kit is a writer and an artist who adores living in Colorado. Whether she's hiking in the mountains or walking the prairies, she's always watching the wildlife in order to learn more about the natural world.

4 thoughts on “Tips and Ideas for Your Coloring Book”

  1. Hi Kit,
    You always had a flair for drawing that I wished I had a bit of in my DNA. But we paired up nicely when creating our stress relieving and satirical drawings during our lab days. I still have all of those drawings – they are still awesome!!!

    Thank you for providing a bit of info on the color wheel and how to use colors effectively. I realized early on that I was not an art person, but I certainly can appreciate the creativity and work that goes into various art forms. I love your art style!!! How are your yarn spinning techniques coming along? Did you ever finish any of your unfinished quilts???

    You totally ROCK!!!!
    Juju

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all your kind words about my drawing. What I draw and what I intend to draw often don’t match up, but I am getting closer to my ideal the more I practice.

      Spinning is on hold right now, but I’ve been doing some quilting. I have a tendency to spend most of my quilting time constructing, so once I get a quilt top finished, I pick up a different project instead of sandwiching and quilting it! Hoping I’ll be ready to finish more projects this winter.

      Like

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