A Conversation with Colorist Ronda Francis

The adult coloring craze skyrocketed a little over two years ago. Is this when you got involved in coloring or have you colored all your life?
I began coloring in February 2016, without knowledge of the coloring craze.  I was simply looking for a way to pass the evenings, as my husband goes to bed early in order to wake at 2:30 AM to prepare for work.  It wasn’t until I joined a coloring group that I understood the magnitude of the trend.
Markers, pencils, and pens, there is an ocean of coloring mediums available to colorists today, what are your favorite mediums to use in your coloring work and why?
Like most colorists, I love coloring media.  I primarily use pencils, but frequently turn to pastels for open backgrounds.  I also enjoy using watercolors (traditional or pencils), and recently purchased Neocolor II which is classified as water soluble pastels. I find pencils provide the best control and blending ability.  Pastels cover larger areas quickly and blend well.  They also can be used over pencil, so I may color a background in pencil and finish it with pastels.  Watercolors are just so much fun.  I have several watercolor coloring books and sometimes print digital files on watercolor paper.  I have a few gel pens which I use for details, particularly white.  I keep a couple of black Sharpies for detail work. I reserve markers for specific applications, such as pointillism. I use colorless blending markers on certain papers.


What are some of your all-time favorite colors that you tend to use the most in your coloring work?

 I’m all over the color chart in my coloring.  Lately I have favored pale blue and lavender used together.  I tend to choose bright colors which result in a crisp, clean look.
Modern technology is allowing colorist of today more choices. We can either download digital coloring pages and digital books and begin coloring immediately or we can wait for USPS to bring us our next great coloring adventure in a physical book. Which do you like best, physical book or digital? 
I like both printed books and digital coloring pages/books. I don’t get anxious about the arrival of new books.  I have an abundance of printed and digital coloring material to keep me busy, and generally have two to five pages in progress at any time.  The paper I use for digital images depends on my desired outcome.  I use Canson sketch paper (65 lb), backside, for most of the digital downloads.  I also like Canson mix media paper (98 lb), which can take a little wet medium.  I use Canson watercolor paper (140 lb) for watercolors, watercolor pencils, and Neocolor II.
Who are some of the most memorable artists you have met whose coloring designs you have been drawn to the most.
This is such a difficult question since I like many artists for different reasons.  I love Ruth Sanderson’s grayscale art.  She’s an incredible artist and the detail in her work makes it so easy to do a good job.  Dea Lenihan’s creative style and fabulous imagination result in art that is fun, happy and a joy to color.  Mark Coyle’s unique style draws me in and lets my creative juices flow, without feeling constrained by customary colors.  The sweet innocence of Lesley Smitheringale’s art brings me peace and I get lost in my coloring, forgetting time altogether.  I feel like every page Heather Valentin draws was made just for me.  I know instantly what I need to do with each illustration, which is unusual for me.  There are so many more artists
that deserve to be  lauded for their incredible talents, but I will stop here.


What is the next coloring book or coloring medium you plan to purchase in the near future?

I don’t have another coloring book in mind, but new ones come out everyday, so that might change suddenly.  I would like to order some toned paper, either gray or tan.
The coloring communities on Facebook have allowed colorist from all over the world to come together and share their coloring work, techniques, and general information on coloring mediums, and best of all make new friends. How have the coloring communities impacted your life? What effect have they had on your own personal coloring work?
I have met so many wonderful people in coloring groups.  I chat regularly with many of them.  Some are very good about sharing information on newly published coloring books, or new media or tools they’ve purchased; making recommendations or warning me against something.  I’ve been overwhelmed by their generosity at times, offering to help with my coloring book or sending me some book or other item.  They share their lives with me and I feel I’ve know them personally, even though I’ve not met any of them. I often wish I could convene a coloring retreat and bring all my coloring friends together.

If you could visit any setting in the world to color, where would you go and what coloring supplies would you take with you?

There are so many places I would like to go.  Scotland would be a lovely place to color. I would take Prismacolor Premier and Caran d’Ache Pablo pencils, a box of pastels, several coloring books, a pencil sharpener and white gel pen, find myself a quiet place in the country and spend a month coloring to my heart’s content.

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