Coloring Book Creativity

Tips for creative ways to color adult coloring book pages

1. Make it a zentangle

By using ink, you can color in the page using different pen strokes like hatching and cross hatching and tiny patterns to create an intricate coloring wonderland. Before you know it, the page will completely change character, becoming almost like a collaborative work between you and the coloring book page illustrator.

2. Use paint

Using paint instead of pencils or crayons can make coloring a totally new experience. In the above photo, watercolor is used to apply a delicate, translucent tone to the coloring book page, giving it a soft effect and a different character than a page colored in with crayon or colored pencil. Watercolor isn’t your only option; you could use gouache or acrylic, too (oil paint is not suggested). For best results, remove the coloring book page from the book before painting so the paint doesn’t warp the pages below or seep through. Using removable tape, affix it to a rigid work surface to prevent buckling of the page as you paint.

3. Create lush layers

Working in layers, you can create a lush, soft effect in colored pencil that can create truly stunning coloring book pages. In this post on the Craftsy blog, the artist offers a tutorial for how to build layers slowly, with one color at a time, allowing for better control over value and consistency of color. A little bit different than working with several colors at the same time on your piece, the results are luminous and stunning.

4. Try indenting

Indenting is an awesome technique that can add texture and character to your coloring book pages. First, start by either removing the page you’re working with, or by inserting a rigid backing, so that you won’t inadvertently add texture to the pages below the one you’re coloring. Place a sheet of tracing paper over the image, and then use a pencil or pen to indent the image. You won’t be actually drawing on the image, but rather indenting the paper so that your colored pencil or coloring medium will leave ghostly white outlines in the spots you indented. This could be as simple as adding details to flower imagery or adding zentangle-like patterns within your coloring book page. It makes for a magical effect as you color.

5. Make a rubbing

Here’s a fun way to add a collage-like feel to your coloring book page: try make a rubbing! All you have to do is put some sort of textured object under the coloring book page (above, it’s a series of coins). Then gently shade the space with the side of the pencil or colored pencil point to fill in an area. It can give interesting bits of texture to an area in your coloring book page, and when used on an entire page, it can create a cool effect.