I had no idea how big the world of adult color was until the summer of 2021, when I decided to give it a try. I go into some details in this post. As a quick recap to the post, I’d been buying coloring books but not coloring in them until an eye incident this summer forced me to get some rest from computer screens.
As is my wont, I jumped in with both feet. I subscribed to several channels and watch them because it’s basically safer for me to watch coloring videos than doll videos. For some reason, I have more restraint from buying all the things in coloring.
I’ve created a playlist of my coloring adventures. I may branch into color alongs and tutorials, but that will have to wait until the family business is taken care of.
After only been a couple months in this hobby, I began to feel a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by the amazing colorists out there. I’m an experienced mixed media artist with the necessary art supplies on hand.
For someone brand new to the hobby with limited art experience, I imagine it would be a bit overwhelming.
The colorists with a lot of subscribers will have color alongs, tutorials, flip throughs of coloring books (great to decide if you’re interested in a book or artist), product reviews. You know, like every other hobby YouTube creator out there.
It can be really confusing when people start talking about this kind of paper or those pencils. Let me tell you, coloring is an art supply and collectors rabbit hole.
It is so relaxing. Coloring takes me back to when I was a kid, carefree, just putting color on a page. Personally, I find it difficult to create new art when I’m stressed. The stress causes me to overthink my work and be overly critical of it.
Coloring doesn’t bring those feelings up for me. I’m not creating the images that I’m coloring. So I find imagery I really like, grab my pencils and go to town.
I wanted to share my suggestions and supplies for those new to the world of coloring.
Where to start
This section includes links to the Amazon website. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
The most obvious answer: Johanna Basford, mother of the coloring revolution. What is great about her books is the shapes are simple, even in full page or 2 page spreads. The images are charming without being too cutesy. Lots of florals and animals. Very few faces appear in her books, which is nice for a beginner. Best of all she provides pages that are small items to color in probably 15 minutes or less. so you don’t feel you have to color the entire page. That is very thoughtful because sometimes you just don’t want to commit to coloring an entire page.
I like that her books are well-priced with sturdy soft covers and nice paper. Every single page of Johanna’s books, including the front and back covers, are colorable. You are her collaborator, which is very cool.
For tips and tricks, I started with Johanna’s YouTube channel. If you are brand new to coloring, I recommend starting here. She keeps it simple: coloring book, pencils, sharpener. It’s all you need.
I recommend for your first coloring outing: buy 1 or 2 coloring books, a set of relatively inexpensive pencils and a manual sharpener. The 4 items below will set you back $42. By the time you get through one of the books, you’ll be a pro colorist. Or, you’ll decide it’s not for you and you can gift the items to a crafty friend or family member.
My two favorite Johanna Basford books are World of Flowers and Worlds of Wonder. Here are 2 pages I’ve colored from each book. I used Staedtlers on the first image and Prismacolor pencils on the second image.
If you’ve read any of the mixed media posts on this site, you know I love my Prismacolor pencils. And I started coloring with them, but they are expensive and I like to use them in art journaling. So I favor the triangular Staedtler Coloring Pencil set. It’s reasonably priced for 48 pencils. The colors can be layered and blended (when you get to that stage). You can press very hard with the Staedtlers.
Staedtler pencils also come to a very sharp point. One of the things I noticed on the YouTube was colorists taking about various electric pencil sharpeners. I intensely dislike the sound of an electric pencil sharpener. I find this Staedtler manual pencil sharpener up to the task. No batteries or electricity needed.
You’ve got the supplies, now what?
Pick a page at random or start at the beginning. Whatever floats your boat.
Once you pick your page,