Welcome to May


It’s May! It really feels like it’s happy dance time. Time for flower gardens and cook-outs. We celebrate mothers this month. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.  May this be the year you truly get that day off!

We have an issue full of May flowers for you. Our feature artist is Kat Ford. Kat has drawn five exclusive images for us. We also have images from Amelia Richard, Gillian Adams, Heidi Berthiaume, Kelly Rhoades, Lola Edith Mayer, Virginia Small, and Yartsyart.

Color On! Magazine would not be possible without our amazing team. We are so very grateful to you Alex Whisman, Jessica Johnson, Kim Bussey, Kristin Fitt, Larry Pierce, Melissa Pierce, and Travis Baribeau! Your dedication is what makes us truly great.

A Chat with Kat Ford

THIS MONTH’S FEATURE artist is Kat Ford. Kat has drawn five exclusive images for the May issue.

What made you decide to become a coloring book artist?

I’ve always loved black and white line art. As a child, the illustrations in Shel Silverstein poems and Roald Dahl books were my favorite.  For years I had people tell me I should turn my drawings into a coloring book.  When the adult coloring book craze hit, self-publishing capabilities made it possible for me to finally create a coloring book of my own.

How do you create your art? Do you create your drawings by computer or do you prefer old school pencil and paper?

I create all my art by hand with pen and ink. Once they are finished I scan them into the computer to clean them up and create the layouts for my books.

What is your inspiration for the different types of art that you create for your coloring books?

I love the detail of folk art.  I defiantly pull from folk art pottery and blankets when decorating my pieces.  In general I am inspired by nature, my life and hobbies.  Most of my coloring books have natural themes.

Do you ever color your own work? And if so, what’s your favorite medium? Do you like pencils, markers or are you dipping into random reserves around the house for anything that can apply color in an interesting fashion?

When I created my first book I quickly discovered that I needed to color my own drawings in order to share them on social media.  It became a very important practice.  I found what I did and did not like about coloring my own work and started adjusting my layouts accordingly. Now, I try to color all of my work as a way of inspection.  I’ve colored in pastels, watercolor, crayon, and color pencil.  Color pencil continues to be my favorite medium.

How do you define success and how do you measure it?

For a very long time I defined success based on a monetary value.  In my career I have been blessed, I’ve been a part of things that my younger self would have thought ‘I made it!’  What I have come to understand is that success is defined by fulfillment, and fulfillment does not come from money or celebrity.  Fulfillment comes from doing the thing that you were put on this earth to do.  Very rarely does that purpose require money or celebrity, and very often that purpose has a much longer lasting effect.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite coloring book artist?

I think Kerby Rosanes is extremely clever and talented.

What color or colors do you most love to work with?

I’m a fan of cool and jewel color tones.

Outside of creating coloring books, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you love?

I love to create.  I’m an author and children’s book illustrator.  I have released several children’s books and am currently working on a novel.  I’m also a costume, prop, and set designer.  I love working with clients to create their artistic vision.  When I’m not creating, I love to read and travel.

What are your plans for the next year? Do you have any new coloring book releases planned? 

My husband and I recently sold the majority of our possessions and bought a travel trailer that we are remodeling into a travel home/studio.  We will spend the next year traveling around the country and camping at national parks.  I plan on releasing between 1-2 coloring books next year and am hopeful that I will finish my novel and a third children’s book.

What are the titles of the last three books you have read or movies you’ve watched?

I am currently reading The Book Of Jasher. I recently finished Atlas Shrugged, which I’ve read several times. As far as movies/TV show marathons go: “The Man In The High Castle,” “Across The Universe,” “The 100.”

If you could be any super hero, which one would you be? Why?

I’m don’t think I’m wise enough to pick my definite super power yet, but I can say for certain the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and Batman are my favorite.



How To Get The Most Out Of Your Markers

By Alex Whisman

We all have our favorite coloring media.  There are pencil people, marker people and gel pen people.  Some of us favor one media but use all of them.  While I prefer pencils most the time, I like coloring with marker pens.

Markers are good for when I don’t feel well or just want to do some less-complicated and quicker coloring.  They are great for people who can’t hold pencils well, press hard, or color for long periods.  Coloring with markers are a good way to get bright colors without having to layer them.  You can get markers with tips that are thick for coloring broad swaths of background or tips that are thin so you can get into intricate parts of a picture.  You can now get fancy pens that will vary the amount of color they put down so you can do shaded and light areas or that will blend colors.  There are expensive markers and there are cheap ones.  What you use depends on your budget and preferences.

Coloring Inside The Lines

Many of us color with our markers like we have since we were kids: by putting down a solid set of lines to completely cover our picture.  This is a great way to color, and there isn’t anything wrong with it, but what if you want a different look?  You can use the following techniques to give your pictures more depth and variety.  A word of caution: take note of the paper you are coloring on.  Some books have thinner paper that isn’t as well-suited for markers.  Using the below techniques may cause bleed through to the back and another page on thinner paper.  If you have a book with double sided images and thin paper it is better to not use these techniques.  If you have a book with single-sided images it is best to put at least a few pieces of blank paper under the page to prevent color from bleeding to an underlying picture.

Just because we have always colored everything inside the lines when we were little doesn’t mean we have to always do it that way.  You can color just the edges of a design.  This is a way of showing highlights or to use white as part of your color palette, without using a white pen.   It is a nice way to give a picture a softer, more toned-down look.  In this picture I used this technique to make the frosting look lighter, to use white as a color in the flower on the cup and to create the ‘shine’ that would normally be on the grey cupcake wrapper.

Coloring With Dots And Dashes

Pointillism is a technique that you may have seen before.  This is coloring by making dots.  The closer your dots are together, the more shaded an area looks and the further your dots are apart, the more light it looks.  You can use more than 1 color of dots to create different effects like the variations in a leaf, in waves in water or wind currents.  In the following picture I used pointillism to do the inside of the butterflies’ wings.  By putting some of the dots close together I got the effect of veins in the wings.  This technique does take a while to do so you may want to consider using it as highlights in a picture instead of doing a whole picture this way!

A technique similar to pointillism is to use your marker tip to color broken lines.  This works better with medium to fine tip markers.  Instead of whole, long and unbroken lines that completely color in a section, you color in short, broken lines by lifting the pen slightly off the paper.  The closer your lines are together, the more shaded an area looks.  You can make all the lines in one direction or do crosshatching (where your stroke marks go in 2 or more different directions).   I used this technique to create black fur for the dog in this picture.

You can also do a variation of this technique to put one color down and after it has dried (give it at least 30 minutes or longer to be safe) go over the top of it with a lighter or darker color.  This is a nice way to do veins in leaves or details in feathers for birds or scales on fish and dragons.  You will want to be sure to let the ink dry completely to prevent your paper surface from breaking down and the colors bleeding.  I used this technique to create the top of the cupcake by using a base of yellow with brown dots to create the texture a cupcake would have.

Adding Shading And Details

To do shading with markers you can go over an area with the same color after the first layer has dried.  You want to let the first layer dry completely so the paper isn’t torn, and want to be sure if you are coloring in a book that it is one-sided and you have two to three pieces of paper under the picture to prevent bleed-through.  In the following picture I used a light brown for most of the dog, but wanted two of the legs to be shaded.  After the first lighter brown layer had dried I went back over it with the same color, after leaving  plenty of time to dry.

You can use other media with your markers to enhance them.  Adding color pencils over where you have used markers will give you shading and detail work, adding gel pens over the markers will give you highlights and contrasts.  I have found a white gel pen is great for not only adding highlights on metallic items and glass, but also to help me separate when I am coloring 2 different areas the same color.  In the cupcake picture I use white gel pen to make an eyebrow on the dog and to outline the eye.  If I hadn’t outlined the eye in white gel it would not have been easy to see.  I used my white gel to highlight the other dog’s nose and in his eye.

I also used color pencil over the tea pot to give it some shading in the below picture.

You can replicate the blending you get with some of the high-quality specialised markers by holding two markers straight up and down, with the tips touching for a short time, usually a few seconds.  If you are feeling experimental you can look up tip to tip blending techniques on Youtube.  The color from the top tip is transferred to the bottom tip.  You color with the blended color (in the bottom pen) until it runs back to the original ink color.  I have not used this technique but have seen some beautiful pictures where people have used it.  I recommend you watch some tutorials and play with it if you want to give it a try.

 These are many ways to get more out of your marker pens & to create artistic pictures.   Try to use any of these techniques, or even all of them, in your next picture.  Experiment to see what works best for you.  Happy Coloring!

Picture drawn by Mary Kay, from the August 2016 Color On mag

Layering Pencil Over Marker

By Mary Winters-Meyer

Markers are a wonderful tool. They allow you to apply color to paper quickly, which makes them great for adding your basic colors. They also fill the paper, so you don’t have white showing through the color. But even with all their uses, markers often can benefit from the help of their cousins, colored pencils.

Why Layer Pencil Over Marker?

  1. Because you’re using colored pencils, which won’t leak through paper, the paper you use isn’t incredibly important. Thinner paper isn’t as much of a problem as it would be with heavy marker use.
  2. Pencils allow you to shade with lighter colors on top of darker colors. Try that with markers and the light color probably won’t even show!
  3. Pencils allow you to get crisp, fine details. No matter how fine of a tip, it can be difficult to get really sharp detail with a marker. So pencil is great for things like adding fur to animals, or eyelashes and other details to a person’s face, or even adding features like brick or stone details to an otherwise plain section of wall.
  4. Color gives the image texture you don’t get with marker. Since the pencil adds wax layers on top of the paper, you get a rougher, more matte finish to the image.
  5. With pencil, you can add multiple layers to get the look you want, and it gives real depth to your image.

In addition to your markers and pencils, I highly suggest a colorless blender. Prismacolor makes a colorless blending pencil, or you can pick up a more generic blending stick at your art store.

How to Layer Your Pencil – Lights and Darks

Let’s do a very simple layering technique to start. For this, pick a direction on your image for where the light is shining. Pick a color that is lighter than the marker color, and color that side of the image.

Next pick a color that is darker than the marker, and color the opposite side of the image.

In the image below, I’ve added both light and dark to the green “leaves” and the blue “petals.” I’ve also added lavender highlights to the center purple circle.

Now you may look at this image and think that the additions really don’t look all that great. But here is where the magic happens.  After adding the color, you’ll use your colorless blender and go over all the areas where you’ve added pencil.

The blender is going to soften the color a bit by adding uncolored wax to the image. It will also pull some of the color into the marker color, giving you a softer blend from one color to the next, as you can see in the image below.

How to Layer Your Pencil – Color Changes

Another great use for pencils over marker is to change a color you don’t like. You’ll notice (in the image at the right) that the smallest purple circles on the top right are now a softer lavender color. The original marker color ended up brighter and more pink than I had intended. So I used a bit of 10% gray and light lavender pencil to actually change the color.

For even more depth, consider using white to add a highlight to the image to indicate where the light shines brightest. Because you are layering over another color, there will still be a hint of that color under the white, again adding depth to the image. (See video at the end of the article for an example.)

How to Layer – Gradient Blending

In the next sample, I used two colors of Sharpies to do a gradient background, but the colors ended up having a rather abrupt transition. I decided to use colored pencil to bridge the gap and create a smoother blend.

I also thought the pink was a little too bland, so I added a bit of my favorite dark pink, (Prismacolor Mulberry, PC995,) to create a gradient. Here are the before and after shots of adding the colored pencil. Again, using the colorless blender really helps the final results, as shown in the third image.

Two more benefits to layering with pencil. First, if you decide you have too much pencil, you can erase some. I would recommend erasing before you use the blender. You can erase the color after the blending, but it takes a bit more work.

Second, remember that once you’ve used the colorless blender, you don’t have to stop. If you don’t have the look you want, you can add a second layer, and a third, etc. The limit on the layers is partially dependent on how heavy you lay down the color, but also how rough or smooth your paper is. Rougher paper will generally allow for more layers.

Do you want to see how multiple colored pencil layers can turn a flat, rather strange looking apple, (colored with marker,) into something that you want to pick up and eat? Check out this YouTube video by Merrill Kazanjian, who has much more experience than I do! LOL https://drawing.wonderhowto.com/how-to/illustrate-with-markers-and-colored-pencils-274797/



Zoo-dles by Patricia Burke


By Jessica Johnson 

The idea of animals with doodles inside a traced outline is nothing new in the world of adult coloring books. Everywhere you look, you can find books full of the “usual” cats, dogs, horses, and bears, filled with Zen-doodle style artwork for you to color. Artist Patricia Burke took this basic idea and ran far and wide with it into a whole new realm of doodled animals.

In her book, Zoo-dles, Patricia gives us more uncommon animals, such as the axolotl that is on the front cover, or the camel which she lovingly named “Kamal.” She even has completely made-up animals, such as “Ferd the Bird” (see photo) and “Mothara,” a beautifully doodled moth-like figure. In fact, each and every character in Zoo-dles has a name! Some of these include “Olivia” the ostrich, “Shoobie” the shoe-billed stork, and “Sprocket” the ‘mechanical’ owl.

Each page in Zoo-dles gives you a refreshing look at various animals, both real and imagined, a far cry from the typical doodled animal coloring books found on every bookstore shelf. Patricia’s style of doodling is very unique and much different than the typical Zen-doodles seen elsewhere. Nearly all of her drawings are asymmetrical, and her lines and circles are not computerized perfection; they are all carefully hand-drawn.

This coloring book, while it’s marketed as an adult coloring book, is completely family-friendly! Children and adults of all ages can enjoy these fun animals and make-believe characters. Patricia Burke’s unique type of doodling gives lots of creative opportunity to the colorist to make each image truly their own. The pages of the glue-bound book are printed single-sided on 60 lb. paper, and it’s recommended that you place a blotter sheet between pages if using wet mediums to color (ie. markers, watercolors).

In Zoo-dles, Patricia Burke gives a sneak peek of her upcoming books, Hearts, and Floral Fun. Hearts has already been released and is full of unique images in the theme of heart shapes. Zoo-dles is Patricia’s second published adult coloring book, following her wildly popular book Shoe-dles (a great book for shoe lovers across the globe)!

Zoo-dles is available on Amazon, as well as Patricia Burke’s Gumroad store (for digital copies). You can visit her website to view all available books for purchase: www.ColorADoodle.com

For more reviews, videos, and tutorials, visit my blog at www.JJColorzArt.com


May Feature Colorists

By Stephanie Anders

It’s May and we’re having a hay day over at Coloring Books for Adults. Goodbye cold weather and hello fun in the sun!

It’s with the greatest pleasure that we announce our May Feature Colorists.

Jill Fanning – Jill colored an image from Colour My Sketchbook/Characters: Grayscale Colouring Book. If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here http://amzn.to/2pInHll.

Katrina Williamson – Katrina colored an image from Colour My Sketchbook Wild by Bennett Klein. You can purchase this book here: http://amzn.to/2ornjnp.

Michele Hodge – Michelle also colored an image from Colour My Sketchbook Wild.