3 Tips to Improve Your Coloring Experience

Updated: 4 days ago

It's summer in the Northwest. The sun is shining and that means I've being called to be outside. So I need to get an article done quickly today. What can I do quick? Well, how about just getting down to a few tips that can improve your coloring experience today?

1. Before you color an image with colored pencils: Sharpen all the pencils to be used in the image

Most of us will take the supply list for a project and pull out all the colored pencils called for on the list. With the image in front of us, it’s time to color. Well, I don’t color before I sharpen every pencil I just pulled for the project. This ensures that as I start to color I won’t grab a dull pencil and end up doing something to my paper that I didn’t want (like pressing too hard to get the pigment to cover the paper). Knowing that when I pick up each pencil for the first time it is sharp is a reminder to me that I always want to start with a light pressure so I don’t damage the paper, lay down a harsh stroke or break the tip right off the bat.


2. While you color an image: Have an extra image on your desk


That’s right print or rubber stamp two copies of the image you are about to color.


Treat one as a warmup or practice image. If there are areas of the image that you aren’t sure how to color, do a trial run on your warmup image. Also, use the warmup image to swatch your colors. Once you are ready, move over and start coloring the actual image. If you hit a part of the image you aren’t sure what to do with, go back to your warmup image and experiment there. Once you figure out what you are going to do, head back to your actual image and color. Go back and forth as needed until your image is finished.

3. After you color a Copic intensive image: Maintain your markers


You’ll thank me for this one someday. We all know when we’ve used a lot of Copic marker on a project, but we rarely take time to refill them when we finish that big project. We are so excited to be done that we simply gather up the markers and put them back from where they came. Instead, take a few minutes to wipe clean the outside of the markers if you got it a little messy while coloring, clean the inside of the cap--especially if it has collected as much color as the nib. Lastly, grab your scale and weigh the markers before putting them away. Chances are some could use a refill. Top them up now and when you go to grab it next time it will be ready to go.

These tips might not change your coloring outcomes but trust me they will improve the overall coloring experience when you aren’t stopping over and over to do these simple tasks.

Until next week . . . Color on!

What's happening in the Corner . . .


Do you "think" about your coloring in your image in layers? I know I didn't until I learned to start with a base layer of color from which to start my coloring.


We explore different purposes for creating a base layer this month, from establishing the light and dark value areas of your image; creating a color map to know where to place your colors; or create a quick base of color on which to add contrast and/or details with colored pencils.


If you are reading this after we moved on to the next technique, you will be able to find the Practice Technique Pack for Coloring for Depth & Dimension here.

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