Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What coloring tools should I use in a coloring book?

So Chelsea, what coloring tools should I use? 

I'm glad you asked that random blog reader. The answer is, whatever ones work for you best. 

Chelsea, that's kind of a cop out answer. I mean, I don't even know what tools do what really. How do I know what suits me best if I've never tried half of these? 

Ah, well, let me elaborate further. Through much trial and error I have tried many different tools. In this blog post I'll share with you the different tools I've used, my pros and cons on them, and what I would recommend them for. 

Let's get started: 

First up, Crayola products: 

In general I have found Crayola to be super reliable. They have a great line of products that are affordable and generally easy to start with. From their metallic pencils to their tri-tone True to Life pencils,  to their watercolor palettes and even watercolor pencils, who among us hasn't started here? CRAYOLA

The great thing about Crayola is the affordable price for the product. You get to try your hand at a medium and see what you think before investing in the higher end products. 

For example: I started with the watercolor palette from Crayola to start learning some basics. It's not just for kids. The way these colors hold a solid pigment are really great. I was able to work on blending the palette and laying the color before investing in the next step up on these. I recommend using the Koi travel watercolor set once you get comfortable with watercolors. For the serious artist, take it a step further with the hand made watercolors from Greenleaf and Blueberry. 

Most people turn up their noses at Crayola when they think of getting quality tools, but I think in general Crayola has striven to get a quality product at a decent price that lets anyone be an artist. If you are looking to make an investment in tools but don't want to spend a lot of money, then I would say look into Crayola first.

Walnut Hollow Oil Pencils:
These are a great product if you can find them. Walnut Hollow pencils aren't easy to find to my knowledge. (despite this Amazon link you can find them on Ebay as well) The blending capability of these lovely pencils is top notch and the way they sharpen up to a nice point can't be beat for getting details. I personally have the set I do because my mother in law was cleaning out her closet and found them. I love them so much. Highly recommended. Oil Pencils

Prismacolor Soft Core Colored Pencils:
Prismacolor is a highly recognized brand with lots of clout behind it. I have had some people tell me they don't like the soft core because they wear down so fast. They also are more delicate to sharpen because of the soft core. All that is true, but there is a reason the soft core is one I gravitate towards. It lays down lovely color and if you use the blending tools it is a joy to blend colors with. There is a variety of blending tools available for your use with these. If you look on Amazon there is a kit that comes with the blender pencil, eraser, blender marker (yes, this does work with the pencils) and a few other tools. It runs just under $9 (at the time of writing this) and is well worth the investment. Look on YouTube for some videos on blending tips with these and you will see what I mean. A little more pricey to invest in to start, but again, well worth it. Prismacolor Soft Core

Fine Point Marker Pens:
There are three varieties I like for this category:


All of these markers are hollow tip pens. This means they have a continuous flow but they also have a delicate tip. If you press too hard you will break these. They come in a variety of colors and even though some of them look alike they are all actually quite different. I have all the colors from all the different brands and I love them. The fine line is great for details and the variety of colors is great if you like options. Any one of these brands would be a great set to have. The advantages of one over the other aren't vastly different. They are all water based and hollow tipped. The only really difference is the type of grip you get. The triplus is a triangular grip barrel. The others are rounded. Yes there are other brands out there, but from what I have seen on the Amazon reviews I would stick with these three brands personally. 

Gelly Roll Gel Pens: 

By far the most expensive gel pens on the market but with good reason. They really are the best. I love the variety of color and texture you get with the different sets here. From sparkles to metallics to glaze to shadow. They have a lot of versatility and the colors are just gorgeous. 

Let's break down the sets here:

Each set has a name and the style and color of what it does is listed here as well as some neat tricks you can do with them. 

First, Glaze 
The Glaze sets are a little wetter than the others to work with but they give you a lovely glazed look when done. Think stained glass. The other neat feature of these is if you work with water colors at all, you can use the glaze pens as a resist. Once dry, you can paint right over them. 

Think Sparkles. This is a set with lots of sparkle and glitter all through. 

Think metallic looking colors. They are shiny like metal and give a nice sheen. 

Think pastel soda shop or Easter colors. These are fun to color with on black paper as well as on white. They don't let a lot of color shine through the back. 

Regular gel pens with standard colors. 

Think of these as brighter neon colors but they also glow on black paper. They stand out really well with brighter colors. They also have the same quality as the glaze in the sense that they take a bit longer to dry. 

These are a blast to use if you are making long words or coloring on paper that isn't super absorbent. The color will draw solid and as it dries it leaves a shadow color of the gold or silver. This is beautiful in long flowing words. 

In all of these sets, they tend to run around $10+ on Amazon per set, or you can get a complete artists set of all of them for around $80. It just depends on how much you want to spend right off the bat. 

I should mention too that one of the neat features I have found of the gel pens is that they are water based which gives them the unique feature of being able to be used as a watercolor. You can do this in several ways: you can draw with them first and while they are still damp take a water brush or paintbrush with a little water and go over them to blend and drag the color. The other thing you can do is draw blobs of color on a plastic tray or lid. You may then use these like any watercolor, dipping and painting with the gel pen colors. 

Here is a link to the complete set which will be big investment overall but a great set to have as a whole.

Let's take a quick minute to point out as well that if you prefer Amazon, that's awesome and that is mostly what I have linked here. However, check out for some really neat tools and tricks. They have most of these products and are a lot of info on what to use and how to use it! 

And that's it guys. These are my main recommendations for coloring in a coloring book. The paper in most coloring books can't handed a heavier media and as long as you are careful with a waterbrush, using the water lightly and letting it dry between layers, using watercolor pencils shouldn't be a problem either. (I have linked the Crayola watercolor pencils here for convenience. If you want to look into other ones, the Inktense, while expensive, are pretty cool. They are permanent so once you wet them they don't move when dry, unlike regular watercolors.)

Again you can find my coloring book on Amazon and many of the products mentioned as well. My coloring book is called, "For Such a Time as This". 

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What coloring tools should I use in a coloring book?

YOU : So Chelsea, what coloring tools should I use?  ME :  I'm glad you asked that random blog reader. The answer is, whatever o...