Coloring 101: Get Started Coloring!

Coloring 101: Get Started Coloring!

How to Choose the Best Coloring Design for Beginners

Coloring is such an easy hobby to start. All you need are some coloring pencils or pens and a coloring page or two, right? Well, yes… however, while that sounds incredibly simple, choosing your first coloring design, considering the rich plethora of styles available, can be surprisingly daunting. If you choose a coloring page which isn’t right for you, there’s a danger you’ll become disappointed or demotivated and decide not to pursue the wonderful hobby of coloring. Beginners to coloring needn’t fear, though, as this article will help you choose the perfect coloring project for beginners.

The Key to Great Coloring Pages or Books for Beginners

As with any new hobby, the first couple of projects are key. During this time you’ll be deciding whether this hobby is for you. Just because coloring is straight forward to start doesn’t mean you should jump straight in without a little thought first. As with any hobby, good beginner projects are:

  • Easily achievable – don’t pick a first project which is going to take too long or is too difficult to complete
  • Enjoyable – you are going to be investing time in your coloring, so choose subjects and themes which you love and which will keep you engaged
  • Cost effective – while it’s tempting to go out and buy everything and anything to do with coloring, unless you have very deep pockets, start with just a few key supplies

How to Choose a Suitable Coloring Page for Beginners

While there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to coloring, picking a suitable coloring page to begin with will ensure that you get off to a good start and lay down great coloring foundations. Here are some tips to help you get started:

It’s All In The Detail

This mandala may be too detailed for some beginners. Design by Kate Pullen

Take a look at coloring books and coloring pages in print or online, and you will see that some coloring pages have intricate detailing. These extremely detailed coloring pages are wonderful if you are looking for an engrossing project which you can complete over a number of sittings. If you enjoy detail work then these sheets could be for you.

However, if you are just getting started and haven’t put coloring pencil to paper since grade school, starting with a book full of highly detailed coloring designs might be too ambitious. Perhaps look for designs with a mixture of detail and big spaces. If detailed coloring designs intrigue you, try a single detailed coloring page first and see how you enjoy it.

Coloring Media

When you choose a coloring book you also need to take into consideration the coloring tools you intend to use. If you have thick marker pens, a very detailed pattern may be difficult to color, likewise a pattern with large open spaces may be very time consuming to color using gel or fine pointed pens. If you are investing in a coloring book, you should also consider the type of paper and whether the book is printed on single sides or both sides of the paper. If you are coloring with marker pens you want to ensure that the colors do not bleed through to the design on the other side of the paper.

There’s a Time and Place

This very simple design is easy to color quickly. Design by Kate Pullen

Another factor to consider when you are looking at coloring books and pages to buy is the time you can invest in your coloring hobby, and where you intend to do it. While a book of large coloring pages may look mouth wateringly tempting, if you cannot commit large amounts of time to coloring, a coloring project which is going to take many hours to complete could end up being demoralizing. In this case perhaps smaller sized pages are the best choice.

It’s All About Color

Design by Kate Pullen

Coloring is all about color – however choosing the right color or color combinations for a project is often difficult for beginners. If you find picking a color combination intimidating, look for a coloring project where colors are suggested or obvious. For example, you could start with an outdoor scene where you know the ‘normal’ colors. When you are choosing colors to complete a pattern, try out small blocks of color on a sheet of scrap paper and see what works together before you start on your page.

Colorful Examples

Some coloring books and coloring pages have completed examples for you to see. These are a great way to give you inspiration for coloring. However (and this is a big ‘however’), it is very important to remember that these colored examples are likely to have been colored by a professional or experienced colorist. When you are starting out and coloring a coloring page or book and are following an example, don’t be disheartened if your coloring does not look like the finished example!

Know Your Style

Design by Kate Pullen

Coloring designs are available in almost every style. You will find whimsical, fantasy, realistic, adult (as in Not Safe For Work), comic, abstract, plus many other styles. If you are not sure what style appeals to you, keep a look out for books with mixed designs or try some single coloring pages to start. If you have never colored before you will also need to consider the fact that many realistic coloring pages will require shading and other techniques to create a realistic effect. If you like realistic style coloring pages but are nervous about shading, try creating a flat cartoon style first.

Coloring for Therapy

One of the benefits of coloring is the therapeutic effects it can bring. There is something very meditative about putting color onto a page and bringing a design to life. Some designs, such as round mandala designs, are particularly good for meditative coloring. The process of repetitive coloring around a central point is very relaxing. One important point to remember is that coloring is a very personal hobby. What one person finds relaxing and meditative, another may find boring and dull. So don’t worry if you try a coloring style which lots of other people rave about for its therapeutic benefits, and it doesn’t work for you.

Tips for beginner colorists:

  • Let your personality shine through in your coloring – you don’t need to conform. If you want to color a world with pink skies and blue rabbits feel free!
  • Browse online and look at completed coloring designs to draw inspiration for new projects (Pinterest is a great resource for this, as are the many coloring groups on Facebook.)
  • When you are looking to invest in a coloring book, read reviews and see what others have to say. Also, use the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon to check out some of the designs and see if they appeal to you.
  • Many designers share free samples as a way to introduce you to their work. Take advantage of this opportunity to try a variety of different coloring page styles.

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