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.
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:
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.
- 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.
- Another layer of the medium color was applied.
- 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.
- Final touches of the light color were added over the initial light color’s application.
- These sections appear to be on the same plane; I didn’t make dramatic color hue changes.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- I first applied the lighter orange colored pencil to each section. I repeated the application as necessary to gain the desired coverage.
- The darker orange colored pencil was then added to the corner points in both the inner-most and outer-most edges of each section.
- 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.
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.
Here is a general coloring summary of HINTS -
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- If using marker "lines" or cross-hatching to accentuate your design area(s), consider varying the width and height of the lines.
- 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!
- Relax, enjoy and experiment!
Enjoy the world and see all of the colors around you!