Hello August

August has tiptoed right in, reminding us that summer is almost over. It’s almost time for school which means early alarms, mad dashes to catch the bus, nightly homework. Why summer? Why did you let August in?

We have an awesome issue to help relieve some of that school-time stress. This month you’ll find a new feature in our magazine: colorist interviews. We are looking to introduce you to some of the active colorists in our community.  We had an awesome conversation with colorist Ronda Francis, so be sure to check that out. We also have images from artists: Alena Lazareva, E. Daniel Reeves, Rodney Sellars, Sena Carroz, Stremena Tuzsuzova, and Sue Curry.

Thank you to our awesome Color On! Magazine team,  Alex Whisman, Kim Bussey, Larry Pierce, Melissa Pierce, Tina Pankuch, and Travis Baribeau.



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.

Using Inktense for Light Skin Tone



By Tina Pankuch

Creating the perfect skin tone can be frustrating! You have to pick the right colors, worry about blending, be careful not to get a wax build up…. It’s all very time consuming! Although there are several YouTube videos on how to accomplish this, (and some very talented artists) if you’re like me, sometimes you just want to sit down and color…. now. Inktense can be a quick and fun way to achieve your goal. You will still need a basecoat of pencil to be able to work the Inktense, but trust me… you won’t need hours to do this process!

Materials Needed: 

Card Stock Paper 110lb/92bright (recommended)

Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC927 Light Peach

Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC1027 Peacock Blue or Verithin #740 ½ Peacock Blue

Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC937 Tuscan Red

Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC938 White

Prismacolor Premier Pencil #PC939 Peach

Derwent Inktense #0700 Fuchsia


Scrap piece of paper for blotting and working Inktense 

Step One

 Color all of the skin area of the picture you’re working on with your Light Peach pencil. Keep it a light, even layer.


Step Two

Using your Peacock Blue pencil, start creating shadowing around hairline, nose, ears, neck, arms, etc. Don’t go too crazy at first. You can go a little darker around hairline, neck, or anywhere shadowing would be heavy, but use a light touch in places like around eyes, nose, or mouth. 


Step Three

Now using the Tuscan Red pencil, go over all of the Peacock Blue you just colored in. This process does not have to be perfect, and if you’re following along with my pictures right now you’re probably thinking OMG…. this looks HORRIBLE! Unless you have an extremely heavy hand with that pencil, it will be okay. 


Step Four

 Grab up your White pencil and go over everything you just did again. This time you’re going to work on blending in that Peacock Blue and Tuscan Red so it’s nice and even. As before, this does not have to be a time consuming process. I basically just go in small circles and blend the blue, red and light peach together. You can pull some of the color into the light peach areas you did not shadow, but you don’t want to take away what you’re trying to achieve by doing too much. If you’re following along with my pictures, you see she looks almost ghostly. Maybe that’s another tutorial for Halloween? 

Step Five

 This is the last prep stage before you can use the Inktense. Using the Peach pencil, go in and add back some color to the areas around where you’ve created the shadowing. Your goal is to use the peach to transition the light peach into the darker areas. Make sure not to color in any areas where you want it to look like light is hitting the skin. If you’re following along with my pictures, you can see she looks a little more human. These five steps sound like a lot, but with practice it goes very quick. It takes me 20 minutes tops to complete this process.

Step Six

 Color in the rest of your picture how you like before going any further with the skin tone. Do not color eyes, mouth, tattoos, or do any line work with pens yet. Pens may smear with the water you’ll be using, and if you make any small mistakes they can be covered over after your work dries. Another reason I always finish the rest of my picture before finishing the skin tone is because your skin tone may look darker with no other color on the page, and then you find out after that the color seems faded against all the surrounding work. It’s easier to gauge how dark you want to take the skin tone once the rest of the picture is complete. 

Step Seven

 Now the fun begins! Take your scrap piece of paper and scribble a nice big section of it with your Fuchsia Inktense pencil. Keeping your water brush as dry as possible (just wet enough to pick up some color) use the Inktense to start painting on the color over the shadowed areas you previously created. If you’re following along with my pictures you can see it starts out looking like a big blob of pink (Step #7), but the trick is to work it outwards, going lighter as you move away from the shadowing (Step #8). Because you’ve taken the time to lay down a nice coat of pencil beforehand, you have a nice waxy area to move the color around. You can dab more color with the water brush where you want the shadowing to be darker, and blot out the water brush to soften and pull color out where you want it lighter. It takes a little bit of practice to get the hang of it, but the more you work with it, the easier it becomes. Make sure to work in small areas until you feel comfortable with it. You can work the Inktense around the pencil base, but if you let it completely dry, it becomes impossible to correct.

Steps Eight and Nine

 If you have access to the pictures, picture #8 and #9 show examples of what you’re going for. It also shows how using your Peacock Blue and Tuscan Red give more depth to your shadowing than just using the Fuchsia Inktense alone. There are so many possibilities with this process. Try going darker with your Peacock blue for more of an effect. Try a different color blue, or experiment with entirely different colors for unique effects in your skin tones! One of the greatest things about using this process is how well it shows up in photos, and if you’re lucky enough to have access to a scanner you’ll notice how the skin tone color really pops! (I’ve included both a camera photo and scanned version for example) If you try this tutorial and come up with something different and fun, let me know! I would love to see it!


Reviews by a Dude



By Larry Pierce 

Today I will be reviewing a little something different.  I know that both of my fans expect me to write about throwing back some beers, shaving with broken glass and then coloring some manly stuff. Well, for this one time only I decided that I would write about something on the lighter side of coloring.  The book I have chosen for all you kiddos to see/read is Candy Coated Kaos 2.0:  The Cavity Strikes Back by J.A. Early Riser and T.J. Crayons.  I know what you’re all thinking, “candy” and “cavities”?  Is this book about dentistry?  No, no it is not,  this is another installment in the Absur’D series of books from our squirrel chasing, duck taming, moose-y brethren north of the border.

Alright now let’s get this party started.  The first thing that you (as the reader, not me because I have FOCUS problems) will notice is the fantastic cover.  The artist and head squirrel chaser has provided us with a white cover with pops of color all over.  Unlike most artists, she hasn’t colored everything in (this is probably because she got distracted but something shiny), which personally I like because it allows my mind to finish what she started.  Inside the book, the artist has given us a LOAD of pictures to color and color and color. There are unicorns, trolls, cats, mice, gummy worms, baby unicorns and so many more. It’s a full fledged cuteness overload. I’m going to have to go hammer up some drywall and drink some beers to even out the cuteness to manliness ratio.

This book has 50+ images of some of the weirdest and wackiest characters in the Absur’D series.  Also, like all the other books in the series, the artist has given us pictures from some of her other works and if you see something you like she has provided links for you to follow and get a copy of any books that might tickle your creative fancy. The paper is standard weight, which means that if you are going to use markers or other mediums that might bleed through you’re definitely going to need a backer to keep from coloring straight through to the back pages, maybe I press too hard on the markers.

As a fan of the artist and a guy that sometimes needs to take a break from skulls, cars, venomous ducks..etc.  I cannot recommend this book enough and unlike most of the books I review, this is one for all ages, whether you’re 8 or 88 this book will provide you with hours of coloring fun.  So run out there and grab your copy today! Tell her Larry sent you, won’t make a difference but tell her anyway

August Feature Colorists

By Stephanie Anders

Our feature colorists for August are Deirdre Gamill-Hock, Nancy Haarbrink-van Der Werf, and Alex Whisman.

Colored by Deirdre Gamill-Hock‎‎. Image drawn by feature artist Alena Lazareva.

Colored by Nancy Haarbrink-van Der Werf‎‎. Image drawn by contributing artist Rodney Sellars.

Colored by Alex Whisman‎. Image drawn by contributing artist Sue Curry.