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Adult Coloring Books

  • Shading and Blending Techniques Using Colored Pencils and Markers

    There are many shading techniques, tips and tricks when it comes to coloring -- and the list grows depending on the medium used to color! If you are a beginner, or want to get reintroduced to coloring as an adult, here are some at-a-glance bullet points and quick-read highlights of things to note as you start your coloring.

    I chose a page from the immensely popular Kaleidoscope Wonders by Leisure Arts. This book has a variety of designs ranging from projects with more open spaces and layers of overlapping objects, to more intricate designs whose patterns repeat themselves in a tightly formatted sequence.

    Shading techniques demonstrated using a page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Shading techniques demonstrated using a page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    In a nutshell, here are some general rules of thumb:

      • Use finely sharpened pencils
      • Color lightly, repeat to achieve desired hue
      • When using more than one color for shading, choose a more simplified design area
      • If using both pencils and markers, use markers to accentuate your area(s)
      • Secure paper

    You can watch the shading video showing the following steps I took to create the two colored areas using different shading techniques:

    Here's a close-up of the teal shading I did on my page from 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone:

    A close-up of the blended sections using three hues of colored pencils; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A close-up of the blended sections using three hues of colored pencils; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    The teal circular shape has moderate shading. There is not a dramatic change in the colors used, but gentle shading is required for the effect. Out of five possible colors, three pencils were used to create this subtle shading.

        1. The medium hue was applied first. For each section, I started from the central circle (that remains uncolored) and colored outward. Next, the light shade was applied from the outer edge of each section moving towards the middle and vanishing.
        2. Another layer of the medium color was applied.
        3. I added more dimension to each section by using the dark color in each at the base closest to the central circle. More dark was used in those sections that appear to be under an overlapping shape.
        4. Final touches of the light color were added over the initial light color’s application.
        5. These sections appear to be on the same plane; I didn’t make dramatic color hue changes.
        6. Since this shape’s central circle (which is not yet colored) reminded me of a globe with its longitudinal and latitudinal lines, my coloring in this area will have more drastic changes from light to dark. In order to exemplify the circle’s spherical shape, the central sections will be colored in light hues with darker hues moving towards the edges, thus promoting a three-dimensional effect.
        7.  Adding an imaginary light source is another way to achieve dimension but may take more practice when coloring an entire page of objects! I’ll save that challenge for later…

    Here's a close-up of the second shape that I colored using marker over my pencil coloring. From the same page found in 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    A close-up of the blended sections that were colored by first applying two hues of orange colored pencils. Then, more intense shading was made by using a marker; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A close-up of the blended sections that were colored by first applying two hues of orange colored pencils. Then, more intense shading was made by using a marker; from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    You can watch the blending video showing the following steps I took to create the orange circular shape. 

    When coloring the mango-orange circular shape, I wanted to accentuate the idea of motion in each section. I used two shades of orange colored pencils and one marker color. I added the marker lines in each section over the colored pencils to create this spinning effect.

        1. I first applied the lighter orange colored pencil to each section. I repeated the application as necessary to gain the desired coverage.
        2. The darker orange colored pencil was then added to the corner points in both the inner-most and outer-most edges of each section.
        3. To further accentuate the spiral spin of this shape, I used marker over the colored pencil in the corner points. I tried to vary both the thickness and height of each marker line to make the movement of this shape convincing!

    If you are looking for the exact design that I was coloring, here is a photo of the whole page with coloring in progress.

    Both images as they appear next to each other on the whole page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Both images as they appear next to each other on the whole page from Leisure Arts' 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    There are wonderful guidelines to coloring, shading and using a color wheel found on the inside front and back covers of the coloring book series, Color Art for Everyone.

    More ideas for shading and blending using different techniques and media. More ideas for shading and blending using different techniques and media.
    A handy color wheel with both a written description, as well as, a visual guide showing the various combinations of colors. A handy color wheel with both a written description, as well as, a visual guide showing the various combinations of colors.

    Here is a general coloring summary of HINTS -

        1. Apply multiple layers of color.  Whether the colored pencil layers are in the same hue or you choose to introduce a second or third color, several lighter applications of pencil appear richer and smoother than one heavily applied layer of color.
        2. Changing your hand motions when coloring ensures that the pencils’ colors do not cling onto the paper fibers in the same direction; this may cause white spots or streaky waves of color.
        3. So my hand movements range from circular clockwise and counter-clockwise motions, as well as, straight or arched back-and-forth sweeps. Be gentle; you don’t want heavy streaks to appear!
        4. If using marker "lines" or cross-hatching to accentuate your design area(s), consider varying the width and height of the lines.
        5. Step back. Even your finely detailed areas should be viewed from a distance. You may need a POP of color to add that final dimension to your project!
        6. Relax, enjoy and experiment!

    Enjoy the world and see all of the colors around you!

    Martha

  • Five Things to Look for in a Coloring Book

    Five_Things

    Have you seen all the new Coloring books on the market and wondered which was best? Well,  we wondered the same thing and when building our coloring books we discovered these important traits in getting the best coloring book on the market.

    1. Fantastic Designs

    Look for a book that has quality designs throughout the coloring book.  Make sure every design is comparable to the cover page.  You'll want to color each and every design in all the Leisure Arts Coloring Books. Our Color Art for Everyone  and Art of Coloring series of books feature 24 designs in each book, while our newest Fun for Everyone to Color! series features 18 designs.

    6807_FC Intricate elephants grace the cover of The Art  of Coloring Animals.
    Art_of_Coloring_Animanls_Turtle_Masking Turtle from Art of Coloring Animals.
    Art_of_Coloring_Animals_Fish Fish from Art of Coloring Animals.

    2. Made in USA

    Look for a book that is Made in the USA.  As soon as you touch our books, you'll notice the quality difference.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 3.58.48 PM Art of Coloring Flowers Coloring Book.

    3. Premium Paper

    Look for a book with thick pages that greatly reduce bleed-through.  The thicker pages gives you the freedom to use markers and gel pens on your pages.

    Art_of_Coloring_Flowers Flowers from Art of Coloring Flowers Coloring Book.

    4. One-Sided Designs

    Look for a book with the designs printed only on one side of the page.  This is important for a couple of different reasons.  First, it gives you even more freedom to use whichever coloring instruments your prefer and not have to sweat bleed through.  More importantly, we know you're going to want to keep your creations forever!

    Back of my coloring page after use of watercolor pencils and colored pencils with petroleum jelly. Back of a coloring page after use of watercolor pencils and colored pencils with petroleum jelly.

    5. Perforated Pages

    Perforated pages allow for easy removal from your book.  Easily tear out your page to display your work of art!

    Build your color intensity by applying more than one "layer" of color. Can you see the differences? Perforated pages as shown in Art of Coloring Mandalas.

    Most of all, enjoy yourself!  There are no rules when coloring.  Enjoy the freedom of this most simple from of art therapy.

    Enjoy and Happy Coloring!

    Veronica

  • Coloring Books Make Easter Egg Artwork

    During early spring, the elliptical egg shape represents Easter better than none other. I have baskets, decorative eggs and ceramic bunnies, but a simple egg shape in springtime colors was lacking in my home decor. This void gave me further inspiration to find new ways in which to showcase my love for coloring!

    I knew I wanted to use an egg shape and pages from my coloring books. Now the decision was to find the right project. I was inspired by this Pinterest project Paper Strip Easter Egg Art  but wanted to use my own interpretation of the project to make it in my own style. I loved how this project kept evolving during my preparatory steps; here's what I did.

    I gathered my supplies. I used lightly painted coloring book pages instead of scrapbook paper for the paper strips. To assist in applying a thinner coat of acrylic paint to the pages, I first dipped my sponge brush into water, then blotted the excess water from the sponge. Blotting prevented the paper from getting too wet. To prevent the pages' corners from curling while drying, I held them in place with wooden clothespins. I repeated the painting procedure for the back side of each page, too.

    Preparing and gathering supplies. Coloring book pages painted using various acrylic colors. Cellophane tape and spray adhesive (not pictured) were both used later in the project. Preparing and gathering supplies. Coloring book pages painted using various acrylic colors. Cellophane tape and spray adhesive (not pictured) were both used later in the project.

    Here is how the coloring book pages looked once the paint dried.

    Pages from 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Pages from 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    There is some variation in depth of color due to the application of the acrylic paint. You will cut varying widths for your strips from each page so a little striation of color will not take away from your final project.

    Close-up of painted pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Close-up of painted pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    I prepared my paper strips by cutting them between 0.75"w - 1.5"w. Next, I arranged them in a color pattern that I liked on top of a piece of 12"w x 9"h construction paper.

    Various paper strip widths cut from painted coloring book pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Various paper strip widths cut from painted coloring book pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    Next, you will have to decide on the size and shape of your ellipse or egg-shape. During my painting, I decided to cut my sample egg-shape from a piece of paper in landscape mode, instead of portrait mode. I used my precision single-edged blade to cut my final egg-shape from my practice piece of paper when it was turned to measure 11"w x 8.5"h.

    Egg shape cut from blank paper; choose a size for your project. Egg shape cut from blank paper; choose a size for your project.

    After viewing my strip pattern through the egg-shaped cut-out, I firmly decided to use another coloring book page as the top 'layer' or mat over the cut strips. Just to make sure, I made a sample of the coloring book page.

    Testing a coloring book page as the top mat from which to cut my egg shape; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Testing a coloring book page as the top mat from which to cut my egg shape; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    I definitely liked the potential of this design! Once I made the final arrangement of the cut strips, I taped the ends of each strip to the construction paper. I started coloring a few of the flowers on the coloring book page that would become the top mat. The flowers were colored using colored pencils and markers; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    Thinking about the life and use of my future-finished project, I considered laminating the completed art pages together. Lamination would allow me to use my project page as a placemat or other table decor that would not get harmed by the elements or by frequent handling. But just in case I wanted to hang my project, I looked for a smaller egg-shape allowing extra space around the edges of the coloring book page as margins for a mat and/or frame.

    After the final egg-shape was cut from the finished coloring book page, I applied spray adhesive to the back of the coloring book page and mounted it over the painted paper strips onto the construction paper base. I trimmed the excess construction paper away from my coloring book page. Now I'm nervous -- it's time to laminate! There's no going back after this step. I have to understand that if I make a mistake, to accept the project as is; I can't undo lamination.

    Yes; I decided to use a coloring book page as my top mat over my painted strips of paper. I held the painted paper strips in place with tape on a piece of construction paper as my bottom layer. Yes; I decided to use a coloring book page as my top mat over my painted strips of paper. I held the painted paper strips in place with tape on a piece of construction paper as my bottom layer.

    YEAH; the lamination worked well; the page looks great! Notice below how I placed my laminated project page on top of a blue linen so that viewing the margins between the coloring book page and the edge of the laminated cover would be visible.

    Use an adhesive spray to mount the coloring book page on top of the paper strips/construction paper bottom layer; then laminate. Use an adhesive spray to mount the coloring book page on top of the paper strips/construction paper bottom layer; then laminate.

    I placed my finished, laminated page in a frame with a mat. See the close-up of the finished product.

    Close-up of laminated Easter Egg Paper Strip Project. Close-up of laminated Easter Egg Paper Strip Project.

    Save your leftover painted pages for another project.

    Leftover painted pages will be upcycled for another use. Leftover painted pages will be upcycled for another use.

    Shred the excess pages. Now use the paper shred around a potted plant as filler, or...

    Here are the leftover painted pages - their new use is as shredded paper as filler for baskets or potted plants. Here are the leftover painted pages - their new use can be as shredded paper filler for potted plants.

    ...as Easter basket grass!

    Finale - Easter egg coloring book paper strip project. In the foreground: unused painted pages shredded for use as Easter basket grass! Finale - Easter egg coloring book paper strip project. In the foreground: unused painted pages shredded for use as Easter basket grass!

    Enjoy making something new this season; wishing you hoppy days!

    Martha

  • Coloring Paper Strips Make Shamrocks

    It is pushing spring with birds nesting, buds forming on trees and daylight lasting longer. Now that the calendar says March, it surely is time for remembering the fields of green soon to flourish all around us. It also means it is time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

    Colorful shamrock examples using coloring book pages (from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone), and scrapbook paper (on left), or construction paper (on right). Colorful shamrock examples using coloring book pages (from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone), and scrapbook paper (on left), or construction paper (on right).

    The cloverleaf is a simple design that symbolizes St. Patrick's Day better than any other. So deciding on using the shamrock as my symbol of choice was the first step. Next, I wanted an easy design with materials readily available. I turned to Pinterest to get ideas and relied heavily on this post from Sugar Bee Crafts for guidance.

    I wanted my completed project to be a little different than other shamrocks around me so I turned to my stash of coloring books. I chose two pages from Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone (Leisure Arts' item 6704) and only colored selected portions of each page. My first page had a few shamrocks along with other leaves and blooms;  the second page I chose depicted dragonflies, another example of expected blooming, warmer weather.

    Using a gel pen and colored pencils, I added some color to a page with shamrocks in its design; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Using a gel pen and colored pencils, I added some color to a page with shamrocks in its design; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    Another page that reminded me of spring was that of dragonflies. I used a highlighter to color this page; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Another page that reminded me of spring was that of dragonflies. I used a highlighter to color this page; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Looking at examples of finished paper shamrocks on various social media sites, I knew that I wanted to use either one or two solid colored paper strips when making each shamrock. I relied on construction paper and scrapbook paper for my choices of solid colors. I always try to make a prototype of a project before its final version. So construction paper and any coloring book page whose coloring was an experiment would be perfect for the draft version!

    The measurements for each paper strip were based on the size of the pages that I chose. The coloring book pages were 8.5"w X 11"h, the construction paper was 9"w X 11"h, and the scrapbook paper was a 12" square.  Now I knew that the longest strip would be from either construction or scrapbook paper. I decided to use three paper strips for each section of my cloverleaf. Each strip would be 1"h with three varying lengths of 8", 9.5" and 12".

    Since I wanted to use coloring book pages, I made the measurements for the two smaller strips fit those dimensions. The largest strip was cut from either construction or scrapbook paper. Since I wanted to use coloring book pages, I made the measurements for the two smaller strips fit those dimensions. The largest strip was cut from either construction or scrapbook paper.

    One strip from each length were gently folded over with the ends held flush and stapled together. The two shorter lengths were my coloring book pages and I turned the design side towards the stapled end which will be the center of the shamrock. I did this on purpose so more of the design would be visible.

    I decided to make a three-leaf shamrock; each of the three leaves were made in two sections of three strips. Staple two three-leaf sections together to make one shamrock leaf. See the image before all pieces are glued for better placement of each section.

    Each clover leaf has been stapled and the stems prepared. Each clover leaf has been stapled and the stems prepared.

    I decided to use my extra strips to make my stem. For extra stability, I used two strips for the stem. The shorter stem strip (inside) was glued to the middle cloverleaf, each end of the longer stem strip (outside) was glued to the underside of each respective outer cloverleaf. See the additional images and close-up to get a better idea of placement.  As you will see in the photos, now is the time to cut four circles, two each in two different sizes; these circles will be the center of the shamrock. Use your judgment as to the size of circles; these will cover the glue that will hold the shamrock leaves and stems together.

    Preparing to use a glue gun to hold all the pieces together. I cut four circles that will be placed in the center of the shamrock assisting in hiding the glue. Preparing to use a glue gun to hold all the pieces together. I cut four circles that will be placed in the center of the shamrock assisting in hiding the glue.
    The gluing has begun with a little placed on the stems onto the sides of the clover leaves. The gluing has begun with a little placed on the stems onto the sides of the clover leaves.

    I have included two close-up shots so the placement of the center circles and hot glue can be seen more clearly.

    A better contrast view showing the center before the hot glue is dispensed. A better contrast view showing the center before the hot glue is dispensed.
    This mound of hot glue helps to hold the ends of each cloverleaf, as well as, each leaf to the stems. This mound of hot glue helps to hold the ends of each cloverleaf, as well as, each leaf to the stems.
    Thank goodness the centered circles conceal the glue (two different circle sizes stacked and glued together). Thank goodness the centered circles conceal the glue (two different circle sizes stacked and glued together).
    Both sides have their center circles placed and glued. Both sides have their center circles placed and glued.

    Now that the construction paper prototype shamrock is constructed, I practice hanging it on a door. I suspended the shamrock by only one of the larger loops. It seems to sag a little, but not too badly.

    One option is to hang on a door. One option is to hang on a door.

    Moving forward, my next step is to make my second shamrock using scrapbook paper instead of construction paper for each of the longest strips. Scrapbook paper is sturdier, so I'm wondering what the differences will be in the design of the final product.

    Second shamrock being constructed. The longest strips are cut from scrapbook paper. One drawback to my choice: it wasn't colored on both sides. Second shamrock being constructed. The longest strips are cut from scrapbook paper. One drawback to my choice: it wasn't colored on both sides.

    GREAT BONUS: I took my coloring book pages from being two-dimensional pages and made them into three-dimensional projects. Now that's taking creativity to the next level -- and it was fun, not hard!

    Use 2-4 coloring book pages for your project. I made my shamrocks from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Use 2-4 coloring book pages for your project. I made my shamrocks from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN CHOOSING YOUR PAPER: The scrapbook paper was sturdier than the construction paper so it keeps its shape a little better when hanging by a single hook. The construction paper is colored on both sides; the scrapbook paper that I chose was not.  You can see the differences in color visibility when hanging on a wall.

    Two completed shamrocks used coloring book pages and either scrapbook paper (top left image) or construction paper (bottom right); 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Two completed shamrocks used coloring book pages and either scrapbook paper (top left image) or construction paper (bottom right); 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    A straight-on front photo of the shamrocks hanging on a wall doesn't show all the colors well-enough. I think I want a shamrock shower and will try suspending them from the ceiling, but I'll need more shamrocks and some assistance with the hanging of each! A straight-on front photo of the shamrocks hanging on a wall doesn't show all the colors well-enough. I think I want a shamrock shower and will try suspending them from the ceiling, but I'll need more shamrocks and some assistance with the hanging of each!

    Both shamrocks are now done -- yeah; what an easy seasonal item to make! I have not tried suspending my shamrocks by string from the ceiling, or making a paper chain link from which to suspend them, so I still have some experimentation to do. I am pleased enough with this project that I would do it again -- maybe I'll make varying sizes of shamrocks using different colors of green? I have lots of future choices that will make the next round of shamrocks result in interesting variations.

    Enjoy your spring; erin go bragh!

    Martha

  • Shading & Blending: Decisions -- Decisions...

    Where to start? I've noticed several members of our Color Art for Everyone Facebook Group are unsure what/why/how to use a particular medium, what shades of colors should be used and what type of coloring books are preferable.

    Various media examples from which to choose. Markers, gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, petroleum jelly, water and paint brushes. Various media examples from which to choose. Markers, gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, petroleum jelly, water and paint brushes.

    I can offer suggestions and some practical advice, but being artistic lets you experiment. Everyone can show artistry. Some people's results may be more refined than others, but it is all part of artistic self-expression. It's up to you to be adventurous and have fun! Let loose and try it out; that's the benefit of stress-free coloring.

    Along with your choice of medium, you may want to (re)familiarize yourself with colors. A good example of how colors can work for you is found by viewing a color wheel. Here is a basic example of how to use a color wheel.

    Understanding colors; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series. Understanding colors; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series.

    Don't restrict yourself by using only one medium in your drawing. Coloring is about experimenting, as well as, disconnecting from the logical part of life. Here are some good examples of combining different media.

    Different effects created using various media; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series. Different effects created using various media; from inside cover of books in the Color Art for Everyone Series.

    Should you consider what you desire as your end result? Sure; the look may change your mind in what medium to use. Also, are you planning on giving your page as a gift? Does your answer affect your choice of medium? It may; so here's a page showing result comparisons that may assist you in your decision.

    Compare the different results you may get from using various media; from the inside cover of books in the Art of Coloring series. Compare the different results you may get from using various media; from the inside cover of books in the Art of Coloring series.

    You don't need the most or best in your media choices. You can have rich, colored pages emerge if you practice. As a post-baccalaureate student a few years ago, my Photoshop professor reminded the class of layers and applying layers of color as we see in a painting. It was a great example to think of fine arts as applied to digital art for desired results.

    Start with single colors applied multiple times in each design area. Use this idea to create your colored pages. In the example below, I have made my choices of color and have started to apply the first layer. In some areas, you can see more intense colors emerge as I have applied additional layers.

    Build your color intensity by applying more than one "layer" of color. Can you see the differences? Build your color intensity by applying more than one "layer" of color. Can you see the differences?

    In my project below, the page's repeating design reminded me of wallpaper. Continuing with this idea of applying layers of color, I moved on to the next step by introducing several colors to each design area. I wanted to decide on colors that repeated as did the design, but I also wanted to show dimension within each character of the design.

    Add dimension to your project. Use two or more pencil shades to create depth of light and shadow. Add dimension to your project. Use two or more pencil shades to create depth of light and shadow.

    In the next two examples, I have used markers to create a dimensional effect applying several shades of color in each flower; and, experimented with gel pens and watercolor pencils used with (regular) colored pencils in the page showing the many strands of shells.

    Each flower has at least three marker colors for each petal; from Floral Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Each flower has at least three marker colors for each petal; from Floral Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    Trying gel pens, watercolor pencils and (regular) colored pencils; from Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Trying gel pens, watercolor pencils and (regular) colored pencils; from Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Now, I wanted to experiment with new applications creating different blended effects. Using petroleum jelly to assist in blending is new to me but has received a lot of attention recently. First, I decided on a page of waves; a page that could express movement from the book Art of Coloring Coastal.

    A different blending effect created by using petroleum jelly. A different blending effect created by using petroleum jelly.

    I started with a simple, light layer of colored pencils in my waves. I then began applying petroleum jelly. There are different methods to apply the petroleum jelly, so do some research and try them out. After my first layer of colored pencils, I dipped a colored pencil of choice in the petroleum jelly and started coloring. The petroleum jelly is used from the pencil tip very quickly, so reapply often. I then decided to return to the area with petroleum jelly and blend by rubbing with a cotton swab. You can see the progression of my page in the following images.

    Emphasize movement by layering multiple shades of dark colors before using your choice of main colors; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Emphasize movement by layering multiple shades of dark colors before using your choice of main colors; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    This larger wave shows pencils shaded then the beginning use of petroleum jelly. The colors become brighter but perhaps less intense at same time. Decide what effect you want for each particular project; from Art of Coloring Coastal. This larger wave shows pencils shaded then the beginning use of petroleum jelly. The colors become brighter but perhaps less intense at same time. Decide what effect you want for each particular project; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    Whole page showing both the smaller waves with darker shades of colored pencils only, and one large wave with beginning use of petroleum jelly over colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Whole page showing both the smaller waves with darker shades of colored pencils only, and one large wave with beginning use of petroleum jelly over colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    Close-up: larger wave with colored pencil application, then pencil tips dipped in petroleum jelly and finally blended using a cotton swab. Close-up: larger wave with colored pencil application, then pencil tips dipped in petroleum jelly and finally blended using a cotton swab.

    In the two images below I show a close-up, then a summary of steps used to create different looks. First, I show waves using colored pencils as my 'base' layer, with the next layer being watercolor pencils applied on top. Next for your review, I outlined some of the steps by placing notes on my page.

    Depth of space intensifies with larger waves behind the smaller rolling waves. Waves will probably have more color contrasts to suggest their movement. Watercolor pencils have been used with (regular) colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Depth of space intensifies with larger waves behind the smaller rolling waves. The taller waves will probably have more color contrasts to suggest surges in their movement. Watercolor pencils have been used with (regular) colored pencils; from Art of Coloring Coastal.
    Notes show some different steps and effects created; from Art of Coloring Coastal. Notes show some different steps and effects created; from Art of Coloring Coastal.

    Another reason why I love our coloring books is their paper. Look how well this page has held up with all of my experimentation using multiple layers of colored pencils, petroleum jelly, and watercolor pencils.

    Back of my coloring page after use of watercolor pencils and colored pencils with petroleum jelly. Back of my coloring page after use of watercolor pencils and colored pencils with petroleum jelly.

    Some tips I have learned: Don't dip too deeply into the petroleum jelly because you'll only get a clump on your entire pencil point -- and it will get too messy on your paper. Re-dipping and applying often is best. Wipe your pencil clean, gently blot the paper with a clean paper towel, and leave your page open to set.

    This post holds a lot of information - and it's incomplete; there's always more! Use your judgment after you try things out. I offer these ideas as suggestions - learn by doing and sharing your experiences with us; join our Color Art for Everyone Facebook Group for the easiest way to share.  If you're looking for new coloring books, visit Leisure Arts today.

    Another thought on the construction of coloring books. Before the resurgence in their popularity, whenever I found a grown-up coloring book, I thought those with spines were better -- until I tried to open up to the page I wanted to color. The spine needed to be broken in order to lay flat; not great for a book's life. For me, saddle-stitched (stapled) books with perforated pages are key! The perforated pages give me the option to remove my pages when done. Oh, yes; I keep my pages intact in their respective coloring book while I'm coloring. I have no difficulty in coloring the entire page because they open to lay flat on any hard surface. My pages in their books travel safely with me -- great transportable entertainment!

    Have fun --

    Martha

  • A Medley of Colors in a Mandala

    I've been doing some coloring lately, and looking through Art of Coloring Mandalas Adult Coloring Book has been a great way to enjoy the end of the day. I started coloring this page a little while ago:

    003I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to color this at first. I'm fine with things that look like plants or animals, but I wasn't sure what colors would look good on something like this Adult Coloring Book Page.

     

    So I went with all of them!

     

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    I started with the outer areas, and I'm not sure why.  I'm also not sure why I tend to color in a counter-clockwise circular pattern, either, but here we are.  I had time to notice these things about myself while I was working on this big floral-looking mandala.  That's about as meditative as I got.  I feel like I should be a little more meditative whenever I work in an adult coloring book, especially one with mandala patterns, but sometimes just focusing on coloring in the spaces and choosing the next color brings me plenty of tranquility.   I pulled my colored pencils out of the box in color groupings--the greens, the blues, and so on--and moved from dark tones to light ones as I colored my way to the center.

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    I've moved on to this sheet since finishing my rainbow mandala.

    009

    The colors are a little more haphazardly placed, and I thought some of the designs looked like bees so I colored them that way.  I'm using crayons on this page, and it's a more relaxed and silly approach.  Whichever method I use, I know I'm going to have a good time coloring these beautiful mandalas.

  • Heart Basket Using a Coloring Book Page

    Love is all around us - but more so this time of year with Valentine's Day fast approaching! You may share your love, appreciation, kindness and friendship with others by giving them a special handmade paper heart basket. An especially personalized feature would be to use one of your favorite coloring book pages to make a heart basket. Here's how to do it...

    You will make your heart basket from two folded pieces of paper. So your initial step is to choose two pieces of paper. My suggestion is to choose one page from a coloring book and the other from solid colored papers such as construction, writing or printer paper. Papers have different weights, so you may have to decide which works best for you. My coloring book page came from the Art of Coloring Patterns. I then used red construction paper purchased from a craft store chain as my solid color.

    6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns

    Make a decision whether or not you want your coloring book page to remain as a black and white patterned page, or colored with some portion of the page colored. I chose to put a little color randomly on the page.

    Add a pop of color here and there to the page, from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns. Add a pop of color here and there to the page, from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns.

    Next, I chose two solid colors: red and black are perfect complementary colors!

    Experiment with solid colors to be used with coloring book page from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns. Experiment with solid colors to be used with a coloring book page; this page from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns.

    After choosing your papers, fold each page in half lengthwise. Each half of the basket measures 2.25" wide, each with three strips for weaving. Each strip measures 0.75" wide x 2.5" high (not the entire height of the folded piece of paper).  Measure along the folded crease and make very light pencil marks to assist you when cutting.

    All pages have been measured and marked; let the cutting begin! (Hint: see how the coloring book page was temporarily turned inside out for measuring, etc.) All pages have been measured and marked; let the cutting begin! (Hint: Temporarily turn the coloring book page inside out for measuring, etc.)

    Now is a good time to erase any pencil markings. Turn your coloring book page right side out with the printed side visible.

    Cut all the halves and each strip for every basket; erase any pencil marks. Turn the coloring book page so the right side is facing out (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns). Cut all the halves and each strip for every basket; erase any pencil marks. Turn the coloring book page so the right side is facing out (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns).

    Select the two halves you have chosen, and turn the folded edges away from you. Work with each half at an angle as you begin weaving.

    Choose two halves, face the folded edges away from you and start weaving. Choose two halves, face the folded edges away from you and start weaving.

    I learned how to make Norwegian Baskets like this one as a young girl sitting next to my Grandmother. Since we can't sit next to each other, watching this YouTube video will be most helpful since the written instructions can get cumbersome.

    Each folded strip is woven this way: Looking at the example, start by weaving the inner most strips first; you will always work with two strips simultaneously. Because you are weaving, each strip of one color/side will pass through the inside, or around the outside of those strips of the opposite color.

    For instance, weave the first red strip and the first coloring book strip: the slightly 'opened' red strip is on the outside going around the outside of the first coloring book strip; then the first red strip goes through the inside middle coloring book strip; and finally, the first red strip goes around the outside of the third coloring book strip.

    As you are working, slide the woven strips towards the top of the cut strips making more room for the next strip to be woven.

    Start weaving the second red strip in an alternate pattern from the first red strip. For instance, weave the second red strip through the inside of the first coloring book strip; then, around the middle coloring book strip; and, finally, through the third coloring book strip.

    The weaving alternates with each strip; you will see the pattern develop as you progress. The weaving alternates with each strip; you will see the pattern develop as you progress.

    After all of the strips are woven, you will be able to open your basket. If you can't, then an error has been made in the weaving. Try undoing carefully and start over. Now get a sharp pair of scissors.

    When your weaving in complete, turn the heart basket around with the point facing towards you. When your weaving is complete, turn the heart basket around with the point facing towards you.

    Round the square edges by gently holding the two halves together while cutting; this will create the heart shape. From your saved 'extra' pieces of paper, cut a folded strip to use as the basket's handle. Remember, a handle is optional.

    To give a heart-shaped appearance to the basket, round the tops by cutting away square edges. An optional handle is cut from the extra solid paper; secure it with tape or glue. To give a heart-shaped appearance to the basket, round the tops by cutting away the square edges. An optional handle is cut from the extra solid paper; secure it with tape or glue.

    Secure your basket's handle with tape or glue. As a young girl during Christmas, I would make these Norwegian Baskets annually from the opened presents'  wrapping paper. As I got older, these baskets were fun to make for college friends, then I taught Girl Scout troops how to make them and my women's group to make as part of a service project. Now I am sharing both my heritage and love for coloring with you. Relax, enjoy, color and create!

    Happy Valentine's Day --

    Martha

     

     

  • Mandala

    Stuck at home today due to snow storm. I think it will melt by tomorrow so I will not go stir crazy. To help the day move along faster I covered up under my favorite fleece blanket, pulled out my stack of Leisure Arts coloring books, and colors. I chose the new Mandala coloring books that Leisure Arts just released. I used my florescent color pencils, metallic color pencils, and glittery gel pens that I found at Barnes and Noble.

    IMG_8825

    The Mandala is very therapeutic. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (and this is abbreviated), the Mandala is a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol and it is often a symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle. When coloring a Mandala, I like to pick 7 colors and repeat them in order. I find that when I color it relaxes me.

    The hardest part in coloring is picking colors and deciding what materials I want to use to color: color pencils, color pens, crayons, and color gel-pens. I will tell you this, I used a violet shade color pencil to color a part of this Mandala and I had difficulty keeping it sharpened. My lead kept breaking because I had dropped the pencil and it broke the lead into several pieces inside. So try not to drop your colored pencils. One more thing, when coloring a Mandala work inside out so nothing smears. So go bring out your inner child and color. Ask your friends over for a coloring party. Put on your favorite music and get your coloring on. Have fun playing with your box of crayons!

  • New Year, New Project Goals!

    Happy New Year!

    I don't have many resolutions for 2016, but there is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately: I need to have a better handmade gift stash this year.

    I like to make things, and I do make a lot of things throughout the year, but it doesn't take much to make you realize that you're woefully understocked when you have more gift events than you do time and you want to give a gift that's handmade and lovely.  Like....say, when three women in your close friends and family decide to have babies in the same month.  Or when your bank balance reveals that you won't be buying Starbucks gift cards for people at your kid's school and you'd best haul yourself to the yarn stash.  Can I knit three cowls and four mittens in the span of a month?  Why yes, it turns out I can! But should I?

    Uh, the muscle at the top of my forearm is telling me I should not.

    I know I'll get caught shorthanded at some point this year, but I'd like for it to happen less often.  My goals for the 2016 Gift Stash include:

    -some baby stuff.  Any ol' baby stuff.  It's all cute, it's all small, and as long as it's machine washable it's all going to be appreciated.

    -some cowls.  Cowls are great, and even noncrafters appreciate them.  I'm working on buying my yarn in a few more neutral colors so I can have some handknits on hand that aren't....generic, but just more readily welcomed by a larger audience.  I might love some handpainted variegated yarn, but not everyone will.  And I want something that just about everyone will love.  Just two cowls all knitted or crocheted up and rearing to go could shave actual metric tons of stress off of my life.

    -a prayer shawl.  I've never made one, and I hope I don't need to give one away.  But I'd like have one ready so that I can quickly wrap it up and give it to someone rather than look for yarns and a pattern while feeling concerned about a grieving loved one.

    -hats!  You can make them big, small, slouchy, cabled, plain, tight, long, short--it doesn't matter.  I feel like there's no wrong way to go with hats.  I've been in an earflap mood, and I've discovered to my unending delight that people who wear hats to keep warm really don't seem to mind if their hats look goofy.  You can't go wrong with hats!  (Unless you give them to someone who's either unappreciative or just not a hat person.  But that's a different set of problems entirely.)

    So!  Here's what I've got to get me started.  This is a baby blanket that I finished earlier this week:

    012

    It's Square #49 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet.  I've made three blankets with this pattern and I don't know when I'll get tired of the way front post crochet stitches add some texture to these simple squares.  I love this.  I made thirty squares and stitched them together in five rows of six squares.  I crocheted a couple of rows around the edge and now I have a pretty big baby blanket in my arsenal and I don't even know anyone who's pregnant!

    014

    I feel so good right now!

    Next up is the Martha Cowl from Crochet Scarves and Cowls:

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    Forget what I said about more neutral colors.  This is a pattern I've wanted to try for several months that looks really great with a mix of colors and I really liked this yarn.  It's the Folklore colorway from Loops & Threads Impeccable Ombre, and it's really lovely in addition to being trusty ol' acrylic yarn that's ready for some hard living and careless washing habits.

    016

    The pattern is pretty easy to keep up with once you get the hang of it.  It did take me a while to get the hang of it, though, which is fine.  This looks like it was fine, right?  It was fine!

    007

    Since I wasn't crocheting on a deadline, I wasn't too perturbed at having problems following a pattern while being interrupted every 15 seconds by my daughter asking questions or saying "Hey, look!" because 1) like I said, I was in no rush and 2) it is impossible to do much of anything when you're being interrupted every 15 seconds by someone saying "hey look!" and then you actually have to look and come up with fresh and inventive compliments for that someone's Lego-building skills.  That's the biggest reason I want to be more intentional with the TV and crafting time I enjoy so much after my little girl goes to bed (although that sore forearm thing is a close second): I have Lego creations to compliment and games of Candy Land to lose.  I've decided that 2016 is going to be the year I enjoy myself and I'm just not the kind of person who enjoys that rush of adrenaline you get from weaving in your ends ten minutes before you give your project to someone.  What I do enjoy is going about my regular mom life while I think about my fabulous gift stash like I'm a dragon with a cave full of treasure.

     

    I'd better get back to that cowl!

  • There's Always Something More to Color!

    Sometimes when I'm coloring, I get into a rush to hurry up so I can see the finished page.

    But other times, I catch myself wishing the project would last a little longer.

    Flower coloring page

    This was a lovely colored page!  I will miss it!

    flower color page

    But wait!  What are those little circles in the background?

    Orange color flower - Adult Coloring BookI don't know what they are, but I know I'm going to color them and I'm glad this page has a few more details for me to enjoy.

    When you're having such a good time, it's nice when there's always another detail to enjoy.  I'm going to have a lovely time taking a little more time to add a little more color.

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