By Stephanie Anders
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?
Art has always been a part of my life since I was a young girl. My paternal grandmother taught me painting and other crafts. She was widowed early in life and had 3 children to raise, one whom was born with Cerebral Palsy, who was taken care of at home for over 50 years. Grandma had a doll hospital, did oil paintings and other crafts for many years to sell, to earn money to care for her family and pay her bills. I enjoyed my early years sitting with her, making beautiful memories and creating art. When I became an adult, life got busy with jobs and parenting, and with little free time, my creating art just slipped away. The most I did was kid crafts with my daycare children. Then in 2015, I had to close my business and quit full time work due to some health issues, which forced me to go on disability. There was only so much reading and crocheting I could do before I was going stir crazy. I have always worked since I was quite young, so not working much anymore was and still is, hard to get used to.
It was then I happened upon the Facebook coloring groups and became hooked. I started coloring and then painting again. After about maybe a year, my skills came back to me, and I wanted more. I formed my own Facebook coloring group, called “Adult Coloring Competition Group “ and more recently “Deb’s Coloring, Art and Review” page. My page is where I share some of my own colorings and paintings, my coloring book reviews, and other things related to the art and coloring world. I also became a part of several artist coloring teams to help promote their work. Being part of the adult coloring trend has been great. I really don’t see this dying anytime soon. People really enjoy it. It brings families together with a shared interest and even many husbands and boyfriends are taking part in it with their ladies. Many people have started coloring as a method of relaxation and stress relief due to chronic pain issues. It really takes our mind off our pain for awhile, taking our imaginations to another place of peace and tranquility.
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?
When I first started out, I used less expensive brands like Craz-Art, Crayola, and Marco Raffine colored pencils, as well as US Art Supply watercolor pencils. My go to at the beginning was my watercolor pencils, because they are so versatile in how they can be used. I prefer using them first as a pencil, and then going back over them with a water brush to blend the pigment into the paint and do my shading. I really liked what I could do with them. Sometimes I would use them without water for fine details.
I also wanted to try Prismacolor Premier Soft Core pencils. I heard so much about them. They were much easier on the hands and richly pigmented. I bought a couple small sets. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked them. You really have to learn how to use them. Once I learned how, they quickly became my favorites. They layer and blend so easily. There are different methods of blending, but I prefer blending with odorless mineral spirits (OMS) and a paper stump. It smooths the pigment, filling in the tooth of the paper and getting rid of pencil strokes. It also allows me to use less pigment and less layers, saving on my pencils. Once blended, the color becomes more vibrant. I now have the 150 count full set, thanks to my boyfriend, as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. I am elated.
I also tend to approach my colorings like fine art. Lightening the lines that I can, so they fade into the colors, eliminating the bold appearance of a “coloring page” look. I often do several layers, which can take up to a week to do, depending on the detail. I have literally put in many hours, doing several layers of hundreds of individual hairs when coloring fur. This takes time. I use my Prismacolors most and often combine them with watercolor or acrylic paints. Gel pens and markers I use sparingly. I have better control with the pencils and paints. I even use soft pastels and eye shadow occasionally. They work great for skin tone and backgrounds, for a nice, smooth, soft appearance. There are so many options of different products to use for coloring, aside from the typical medium colorists generally think of.
What are some of your all-time favorite colors that you tend to use the most in your coloring work?
Although there are a few in my set that I haven’t used, corals, yellows, sage greens, Indigo, purples, Chocolate, black and Tuscan Red get the most use, mainly the Indigo. That beautiful blue works wonderful for so many things, especially an evening sky. It is really a good thing I have a second one in my smaller set, as it is getting quite small. I also use the flesh tone colors often, because I love coloring portrait style illustrations.
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?
Sometimes digital is necessary when shipping costs are too great from other countries. However, I prefer the physical books, even with my reading books. I just love the smell and feel of them in my hands. I also prefer them because I have had my share of computer issues and the last thing I want to do is purchase all these digital books and then risk losing them if my computer crashes. I also do not like having to use flash drives to save them on, as I could see myself easily misplacing them.
Even though I love the physical books, you won’t find me coloring in many of them. I have close to 100 coloring books, maybe more. Since the majority of them are self-published, the paper is generally a medium weight. It does not work well enough with some of the different coloring medium I use. I always copy to a heavier 110# weight card stock, so that the paper can hold up to the repeated layers and wet mediums that I use.
Who are some of the most memorable artists you have met whose coloring designs you have been drawn to the most.
There are so many fabulous artists, it is truly hard to just choose one or two. I am constantly finding new artists that I love. The list is incredibly long. However, since I prefer coloring realistic floral, portrait style, animals and fantasy, I would have to say these are some of my favorite: Christine Karron, Teri Sherman, Jason Hamilton, Mariola Budek, Jane Maday, Inge Dagmar Manders and Jenny Luan. Christine and Mariola are my new favorites for portrait style. So I am anxious to get some of their books.
What is the next coloring book or coloring medium you plan to purchase in the near future?
I really want to get some Faber-Castell Polychromos, and Caran d’ache Luminance pencils. I see the work that some of my favorite colorists can produce with them and want to see what I can achieve. I also would like a higher quality watercolor pencil that has more color varieties, so I would also like the Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolors.
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 learned so much from them as far as advancing my skills, but more importantly have developed wonderful friendships. We have all bonded over the love of the art. I have met so many great people. They are so kind and helpful to one another. We talk often and share with each other our ups and downs in life, not just coloring related topics. They are like a second family. The only difference is we can’t really visit each other from across the states and the world.
If you could visit any setting in the world to color, where would you go and what coloring supplies would you take with you?
I would love to just be able to get together with all these amazing colorists and artists I have become friends with. Just to finally meet in person, sit down and produce amazing work together would be memorable and heartwarming. It would mean so much to me. It would be so relaxing to meet in a location overlooking some beautiful scenery in a warmer climate. For coloring supplies, I would at least need to take my Prismacolors, OMS and some white acrylic paint.