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". 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Doodles and Mandalas, Oh My!

So, there is a fantastic new app out there called "Amaziograph". If you don't have it for your iPad I highly recommend it. Totally addicting. Basically it is a patterning app that takes what you draw in one section and puts it in all the other sections. It copies what you are drawing as you are drawing it. I love it so much I got super excited while playing with it. 

This brought the interest of my children. Oh my, you think I had fun, apparently my kids had a blast too and I don't want to share! Haha. 

I must point out that I am currently operating on an iPad 2, 7 years old and currently getting slower and slower with the latest IOS updates. If you have an iPad Pro, get this app! It is way too much fun!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dreams Realized

Have you ever started something and dreamed and wondered if you would ever complete it? Yeah, me too. The problem with us crafters is we tend to be excited by the new and different. It seems we are fascinated by whichever is the latest intrigue. For me it has been a morphing from Zentangle to Hand Lettering to creating my own adult coloring book.

I will not bore you with the crazy details of my life over the last 6 months, suffice it say that without those crazy circumstances I may never have gotten to where I am today. And what is so special about today you ask? Well, ahem.... Drum roll please....


Yes my friends, it really happened. It's called, For Such a Time as This and it's available on Amazon.

I can't believe it's a real thing! I feel like I am walking on air. But I know this would not have happened if not for the very interesting circumstances that led us to where we are today.

Friends, I want to encourage you to remember that sometimes it may seem like there are some pretty dire and terrible things that are just dragging you down, but don't be discouraged. There is beauty in the ashes, joy in the pain, hope in the emptiness. God shows us this through His intelligent design in nature. There are pine cones that will only fruit and seed with the extreme heat of a forest fire. There are things that can only happen when something that seems devastating happens first. Hang in there and trust that God knows what He is doing. I am so glad He is in charge. I don't know how people live life without knowing that He is controlling it all.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Trash Can Refresh Diy

So, it's been a while. But if you know me you know I am sporadic at best. The latest intrigue to share is my garbage can. 

(Please excuse the unfinished kitchen closet and mess)

I have had so many compliments on it and you know what? It cost me $3 and some time. Basically I disassembled  my garbage can, took the spraypaint made to bond to plastic, and sprayed away! Once I was satisfied with the coating I was done. I only used one can for this 13 gallon garbage can. You may want to buy two just be safe, especially if you want the coat on the inside of the can. 

Now, I didn't get the inside where the bag is because who sees that anyway? And I didn't get the very bottom, again, because who sees it? But the result is gorgeous. The color I got is called Lagoon. I love the way this adds a pop of color to my kitchen and it made the old stained white nasty looking garbage can go away! 

Seriously, everyone keeps asking me where I got this one. I smile and tell them spraypaint, and their eyes light up with possibilities of their own! Go! Do it yourself! I can't wait to see your result! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Filofax Tips and Tricks

Hello. It's been a while I know. Well, let me start by sharing my latest intrigue. 

Drum roll please.... 


Yes, these handy tools are quite awesome and I didn't give them much thought til I started getting into modern calligraphy. The website I order from has not only awesome pens, but wonderful customer service. They answered questions, helped me choose pens, and they always add that extra personal touch to the things they do. You will always get a personal note with your order and a lollipop. Yes, the lollipop is totally worth it! 

So, when perusing the site one day I noticed they now carry Filofax brand products. Having never really used these, I didn't give them much thought. Gouletpens does some awesome reviews of products and it was super helpful for me to decide which one to try. I got the small pocket Filofax in turquoise and several fountain pens. Let me share with you some of the things I am doing with it. 

First things first, I had to add my zentangle in the front. A great reminder that this planner thing does not need to be overwhelming. Filofax pages are removable too so I was able to switch them around to my liking and I can always move my to do list to the front. Gotta have the washi tape. So pretty. 

Next came a calendar. This one was a free printable that I manipulated on my scanner several times over to get it the size and shape I wanted. Etsy has lots of printables though so I am looking forward to checking them out more. 

Washi tape tabs. The Filofax comes with some plastic tab dividers but I didn't much care for the colors and I wanted to take them out for the space they took up. 

My midor passport book. This little book came in a notebook sampler from Goulet. The inspiration struck me today that I could simply put a rubber band down the center and add it into the back of my Filofax! If you don't like a rubber band, try some pretty twine. Sparkle twine is always pretty. 

And lastly, I keep a stock of random washi tape pieces in the back for use on the go. They re-stick easily when ready to use and it saves me the trouble of going through my three boxes of washi tape because who can pick just one!? 

I am looking forward to exploring this more. I am not a super organized person and I know I need to be more organized. Hopefully this will help me out. I am not feeling overwhelmed with this one because I can customize it and I can tear out pieces I don't want to use anymore. I can keep it fresh and fun constantly. I have tried many other planners in the past and eventually they all fail me. I walk away from them half done and look at them later feeling guilty I didn't use all the pieces in the book. 

Do you have any planner tips and tricks that work well for you? Please tell me about them in the comments below! I would love to hear them! 

Thanks for checking this out today and have a great day. 

Update: I just made Filofax pocket printable pages and loaded them on the Etsy shop! They are Jane Austen themed! Check them out! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Latest Intrigues

If you haven't figured it out by now I have many and varied crafty interests. It is literally whatever happens to catch my attention at the moment. The latest has been modern calligraphy or whimsical brush lettering. Call it what you will, it is something I have never had a lot of confidence in. The difficulty for left-handers in calligraphy is something that is pretty common. It is also something that most people seem to think there is a simple solution to. I, however, have never found one, not at least for traditional calligraphy. 

Introducing that marvel known as Modern Calligraphy. It seems that while this is becoming more and more popular, there are still lefties that struggle with it. 

Not so this lefty. Perhaps it is the way I hold my pen. Perhaps it is the confidence that grows with practice. Call it what you will, I am learning that things I thought were out of my realm of possibility are no longer off limits. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lilah Bean Comics

In a post on, Ms Bartholomew shared an inspiration about Lilah Beans and Comics. Once my kids saw the idea they of course jumped right in. I even was lucky enough to have comic strips on hand. I had printed them out from This particular set was by Tracee Orman. You can find the link for that page I ended up with a total of 10 different templates to choose from. I let my kids choose their templates and made copies. They really liked the ones with the word bubbles. 

This is the kids at the school table. Kaden has stolen my chair but then it is not school time so he is allowed. 

Recognize the tangle book? haha

Included here for your enjoyment is first Cali's comics with translation:

Meow Meow


But it would be fun to go to the movies.
Bang (into a wall)

Come! Come! (big snake to little snake)

Come on cat! (Bean to Cat)

And Kaden's comics with translation:

What should I do today?

Woah! What's this?

Hi! How are you?
Me? I'm fine if I can get this wall to crack!

I am totally counting these as school! The joys of homeschool. I am just thrilled that Kaden wrote as much as he did. He really hates to do his writing work and balks at writing stories. Little does he know that this is actually a story in and of itself! Yay! Win!

And finally my own comic.

I hope these made you smile. I know it was fun for me to play with. Download some templates and play for youself! 

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...