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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Top FIVE Coloring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

From COLORING DREAMS Coloring Book
We are still riding the adult coloring wave, and it does not look like it will crash anytime soon.

From cute fairies to exotic fantasies and explicit curse books, we can't get enough of our favorite new past time.

But are there certain things to avoid in the relaxing coloring world?

*DISCLAIMER* Coloring is just plain old fun. If you are doing it, having a ball, and do not want to change a thing--keep on coloring! Read on, what I write might surprise you.

Do you:

1.  Use the same pressure on every area when using colored pencils?
 Some color with a light touch and some are heavy handed. If you want an artistic look to your pictures, vary the pressure you use. Pressing very hard gives a very bright, opaque finish to the area you are coloring. If you press very hard you will burnish the area which means there will be a shine or gloss to the area you are coloring, and any tooth on the paper will be flattened. This technique is great for some areas, not for others. Don't be afraid to experiment. Pressing lightly gives the area a more translucent feel, and layering with color and even texture is possible.

2.  Color in every single space on every single picture?
Occasionally you will be stuck to figure what color to use. This might mean that you don't need any color at all, and the space should be left white. Some pictures look gorgeous with every area filled in with bright and vibrant colors--but some do not. Sometimes the negative space around the subject of the picture helps the focus to remain on the subject. Other times the negative space may be an interesting design itself. 

3.  Only color what you already like?
When we are kids, we are fearless and we learn what we like from trying practically everything, at least once. As we get older, we fall into patterns and feel we already know what we like, and do not like. I spoke to some colorists recently, and many said they didn't think they would like to draw people, or houses, or any number of things, and when they tried, they loved it! So give it a whirl. Throw yourself at some new coloring themes and see where you stick.

4.  Have the feeling that more is better?
How would it feel to have an endless supply of colored pencils or markers? Or enough gel pens to cover an entire wall? Sounds divine. Sure having a choice is nice, but having a smaller amount can be wonderful, too. When I illustrated a children's book many years ago, the only thing I used to color it was a set of 24 Conte charcoal pencils. It got published, and spent one lovely weekend featured at The Eric Carle Museum of Storybook Art. Practice blending colors. Using a blending stick or turpenoid helps too. You may surprise yourself. Also, having less pencils is a great study in color theory. You are forced to make new shades out of necessity, and the skill translates when you have even more pencils. Oh, the colors you will create! (Now that being said--I think almost everyone agrees the seemingly endless choices we have in coloring books styles is GOOD.) You can try this too: choose three or four colors and finish the entire picture using only the colors chosen. You may be in for a treat if you have not done this before. (BTW--my coloring book COLORING DREAMS is based on the children's book I illustrated.)

5.  Try to make every image perfect?
Yes, there is beauty in photo realism--to have that wonderful ability to recreate what already exists. But there is another kind of awe in creating something that has never existed before. Use your imagination--no one is stopping you. If you color, you are an artist, and you can use your creativity in any way you like. Unlike a job or a duty, coloring is YOUR thing, and you can create any world you like. If it makes YOU happy, DO IT. No one gets hurt here, and in my humble opinion, putting a smile on your own face helps you spread the joy. Even if you are not the best colorist on the earth,(there is only one and no one knows who that is) do what thrills you. Everything has cracks--that is how the sun gets in. (Leonard Cohen)

Even though I named this article The Top Five Coloring Mistakes, in reality, I truly do not think we can make mistakes when we color. We may learn what we like to color, or what pencils are our favorites, and even new techniques, but one of the truly beautiful things about coloring is that there aren't really any terrible mistakes, just things we might learn. 

Now go grab your pencils, I have wasted enough of your coloring time.

xo

You can buy COLORING DREAMS HERE.


Click HERE for my website and see my additional coloring books.

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18 comments:

  1. These are great tips. Thank you for sharing them. I have seen so many beautiful talented coloring projects, it is amazing what is out there. I just really wish this has been titled "5 helpful coloring tips" instead. I always hate it when you have something fun and then there comes along a suggestion you are doing something "wrong". Yes, I saw this "*DISCLAIMER* Coloring is just plain old fun. If you are doing it, having a ball, and do not want to change a thing--maybe this article isn't for you. But, if you want a few tips, read on!" Another reason it should have just been titled "Coloring TIPS" not "mistakes." Just my opinion! Otherwise it's a very helpful article.

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    1. You know what--I agree! It does feel like a bit of bait and switch now that you say it. I will truly consider changing the title. I named it that as an attention grabber--and I'll have to see if it worked. Thank you for your nice tip!

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  2. Thank you Dea I loved this article. When I stated adult coloring all I knew how to do was stay in the lines. I've learned so much and I'm still learning and it's from all the colorist, videos, tutorials and tips and tricks. The best part of the adult coloring world is all the friends I've made. They are my coloring family now. I appreciate you taken the time to give me more insight into the world of coloring. I have enjoyed reading the top five coloring mistakes article. Expecially the part where you say that there are no mistakes in coloring.
    Thank you, Jennifer

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    1. Yes it was a bit of bait and switch Jennifer, but I figured it would get people to read! And I agree--there are wonderful people in the coloring community. Glad we connected! :)

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  3. Dea this is wonderful advice. Sadly I wish I had seen it earlier before I bought 300 colored pencils, 300 gel pens, 300 markers, 5 highlighters, and 96 crayons. Still though I did buy the blender stick too for blending and am working on learning both my own style and my own creativity. I really appreciate the information on the pressure of the pencils for coloring and the not color everything. Your choice of pic to go with this blog was a wonderful example of both these. Though I do like that these are tips and not mistakes I would suggest leaving the title as it is. There are too many out there with the title Coloring Tips and I fear it will get lost in the internet. Thank you for the time spent in writing this and sharing your love, guidance, and joy of coloring with us. It is much appreciated.

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    1. Do not be sad at ALL that you have all those lovely art items! You are free to use as few or as many as you like! And about the title, I did go back and re-read, before you read it I changed a line or two, and decided to keep the title for the exact reason you stated, I think it will get lost. Plus--many people have already clicked so the title is attracting attention--which is exactly what I want! Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a great comment. :D

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    2. You are most welcome Dea. Thanks again and I can't wait to see what else you have to say in the future. I'm subscribing to this blog.

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    3. How great D Huntress! Thank you so much. I appreciate you following so much. xo

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  4. I seem to recall when I did the odd work with pencil crayons that I tended to use the same amount of pressure on the page.

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    1. It gets hypnotic--sometimes I have to remind myself there are other things in the world. ;)

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  5. Thank you for sharing your insight! I've only been coloring less than a year & articles like these are great for us "newbies"! Before I retired I set up models for real estate communities! I find that different style coloring books & taking time to pick main colors before I start has fulfilled my need to create. Couldn't afford to keep redecorating my home! Lol

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    1. Ha! Yes--the redecorating thing gets expensive FAST! And there are so many types of coloring books out there it seems to me almost anyone can find something that suites them. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you sign up. :)

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  6. Loved this article!!!! I must say I was grabbed by the title thinking I would find out what I was doing wrong. That is more my issue than that of the title.. My daughters are constantly reminding me that one can NOT color wrong. I began coloring as an adult about 3 months ago and have attacked it with gusto. I want to know it all and expect perfection from myself. I am finding the fun and therapy of it all is far more beneficial. Thank you for taking your time to write the article, I for one found it very helpful and interesting.

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    1. Thank you so much Angel! I am glad you liked it and didn't mind the attention-grabbing title too much. I think people get so much out of coloring that they should not worry what they are doing wrong. I hope you are having a ball right night coloring something beautiful. xo

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  7. I thought I would find out what I was doing wrong, instead I read a delightful article of encouragement and fun tips! Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting Karla! I hope you are still coloring and having a wonderful time at it! xo

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  8. What a nice article. Very truthful thoughts. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much Amy--I appreciate you coming by and commenting--it means so much to me. xo

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