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World Creativity and Innovation Day

It’s World Creativity and Innovation Day so today’s post is a round-up of previous posts that I feel incorporated some outside-of-the-box thinking!

Ever need to transfer live stitches to waste yarn but can’t find your tapestry needle? No problem! Here’s an easy way to “knit” the live stitches over so you can keep working on your project.

If you find standard provisional cast-ons too difficult, here’s a super easy way to get your knitting started. No extra tools required!

Here’s a neat trick for making thin vines/ropes for use in decorating your cakes or cupcakes. They’re flexible, stretchable, and edible!

Here’s a hands-free way to hold your coloring books open!

Not getting the look you want with colored pencils in your adult coloring books? Here’s a great way to add more tooth to the paper.

Are your fondant balls/pearls coming out all different sizes? Here’s a super easy hack to get identical ones, every time!

Here’s a simple way to give a plain toy new life and make it work with your LEGO pieces.

Finally, for when you want to provide homemade, individual snacks, here’s a free & easy way to transport mini cupcakes by repurposing something you’ve probably already got on hand.


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Avoiding Chores with Coloring!

Did you know that today, April 7, is National No Housework Day? As a crafter, I’m ALWAYS looking for reasons to get more time in with my hobbies, so avoiding housework to spend that time doing things I love sounds like a FANTASTIC idea.

I can’t pretend this is the only day I’ve ever put off housework in favor of a project or seven though… Most recently I took advantage of a lazy weekend afternoon to do some coloring and try out a new background technique in a coloring book page. If you’d like to celebrate the holiday today by doing the same, read on for more info!

After going through my coloring book stash to see what fit my mood, I went with the super rad Like, Totally 80’s coloring book and picked a new page instead of working on one of the pages I’ve already prepped.

I wanted the quick satisfaction of using markers and this page had just the right mix of small details and elements. This book is single-sided which is great as you don’t have to worry about ruining an image on the back of the page.

To make things even more mindless, I gave myself a limited color palette. I found an 80s-inspired palette of these 6 colors:

…which I then matched in my Crayola SuperTips.

It was mindless, for sure, but I forgot that coloring is rarely quick! So I had no choice but to spend even more evenings avoiding housework.

Once all the small sections were complete all that remained was the background. It was too much to fill in with the markers so I reached for my Prismas instead.

First I filled in the entire background with a light gray (not shown). Then, using 3 colors that matched 3 of the marker colors, I went over the background again, doing large, irregular sections of color.

Next I went over the whole thing with a layer of black. My goal was to have the different shades give the black some dimension while subtly tying in the bright 80s tones.

The final step was to go over the entire background one last time, this time with my Derwent Burnisher. You can see the massive difference this makes in the image above – the background below the blue squiggle has been burnished, while the area above has not. There was no additional color applied; I merely flattened the layers of color using the burnishing pencil.

I really like how it turned out! It’s a silly, chaotic coloring book page but it was fun and I really enjoy the subtle depth the black background has by having the other colors underneath.

Looking back now I prefer the original background but at the time I’d felt it wasn’t bright enough to really SCREAM “80s”. I decided to outline everything (and also add random dots around the edge of the page for some reason…?) with a white Posca paint marker. These markers are great with colored pencils as they go over it beautifully without skipping, and once dry you can tint the paint with your markers or pencils.

To beat back the white glare I did just that. Using the same 6 SuperTips I went over the white paint to give every item an outline “glow”.

In the end I’m not mad at the final page (above), but I do prefer it pre-paint. That said, it was a lovely excuse to get out of housework for a bit and do something (relatively) mindless.

I hope you get to use today as an excuse to put down the vacuum or laundry and do something fun that makes you happy!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Second Attempts at Background Washes in Coloring Books

A few weeks ago I shared some very old attempts of trying background washes in adult coloring books. Since that point I’ve been watching more Dede videos and reevaluating my supplies and my goals with these coloring pages. To that end, I went through some of my coloring books and chose new pages to try, this time with deliberate intent. Instead of using the washes to help me muster the urge to work on a particular page, now I was choosing pages I wanted to work on, and colors that would help me be happier with the eventual results.

Oh – and I learned from my mistakes – I was for sure going to be using acrylic paint this time.

The best paint to use for this is cheap acrylic paint. It’s matte, opaque but also thins well.

Acrylic paint is a plastic, which means it dries solid and won’t re-wet. This means you can use the same palette over and over, by either pulling off the dried paint or simply working right on top of your (thoroughly) dried paint.

I’ve been using old yogurt and margarine lids but recently started keeping takeout lids for the same purpose. If you have a paint caddy like mine, you can also use the lid as a palette.

I started with my Colours of Comfort coloring book, from my local Dollarama. My kids bought it for me as my Christmas present/stocking stuffer by sneaking it into my cart then making me turn around so they could hand it to the cashier. They then held the bag in the car and carried it into the house so they could get it into my stocking without seeing what they’d picked. (They paid me back later lol)

First up was this mandala-esque page. I picture it completed with golds and jewel tones, so gave the whole page a deep yellow wash.

Next I chose this tea party scene. I was taken with the idea of trying to make the cups look like porcelain, and gave the cups a gray wash so I could layer white pencil on top.

I forgot to take a before pic of this next one. I’m not usually one for landscape drawings, but this one caught my eye.

I like the idea of using my textures tutorial book and practicing some natural textures like the stones.

I’ve had this next coloring book for years, and barely touched it. The Mason-Dixon Knitting’s A Coloring Book for Knitters came out back in 2016 and is filled with fun, crafty images to color. While it’s a cute idea, it suffers from the same paper quality issue as most novelty coloring books, so as my media of preference changed, it limited what I was able to use.

It’s not bad…but it’s not strong enough for alcohol markers and not enough tooth for a good job with colored pencils.

I was really drawn to this winder & swift page. I painted the background with silver paint, hoping to get a vintage “mirrored” wallpaper look in the end, and plan to copy my own swift and winder’s color schemes.

From there I grabbed two of my favorite books to flip through.

This Like, Totally 80’s coloring book gave me a chance to break out my neon paints.

I picked two pages that I thought would be fun to complete.

From there it I moved to Color the 90’s. It’s a really fun blast from the past by the same author as “Sit the F*ck Down and Color”.

This Easy Bake Oven page caught my eye!

I found a good reference image for the oven and think it’ll be a really cute page to color.

Finally, I turned to this Garden Fairy Alphabet coloring book that I’ve had for a really long time.

Just like landscapes, flowers and plants are not usually my go-to either. Using paint makes me eager to work on these images now, though, and I chose the letters that represent the children in our family.

J and H are for my boys, and L, J and C are for my siblings’ children. Inspired by them all I chose colors that represent the respective children’s hair colors. C has dirty blonde hair and loves blue, so I added the sky (which I later regretted, and did not add in any of the others).

I couldn’t NOT go for a Link-looking character for Henri’s H, since my son is obsessed with The Legend of Zelda.

Jakob’s Jonquil Fairy will be blond just like him…

…and just like my niece L’s blonde curls.

None of these are complete, and none have yet gone past the painting stage, but even at this point I’m so much happier with them than I was with the last batch.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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First Attempts at Background Washes in Coloring Books (FAIL)

I follow a number of incredible artists on YouTube and their work has inspired me often over the years. One such time was when I discovered the wonderful art done by Dede Wellingham. I’ve binged many of her livestreams and she’s as sweet and funny as she is talented (which is a lot).

The first video of hers that really got me revved up was “Color Washes in Imagimorphia AdultColor book by Kerby Rosanes Pt 1 of 3“. Adult coloring books were starting to become a big thing in the creative world (back in 2016) and something I’d come to late since I usually focused on fiber- or food-based arts. It hadn’t occurred to me to mix media in the ways Dede demonstrated and I could NOT WAIT to try it out. And I… well to say I missed the mark would be an understatement.

It started out so promising! I collected an assortment of my coloring books, some acrylic paint, my Neocolor II watercolor crayons and my Inktense water-soluble pencils (neither shown in pic).

Problem # 1 – using the wrong materials

Dede uses a number of media in her books, including pan pastels, paint, pencils, markers…but in particular the video that inspired me was based on using acrylic paint to drop in washes of color onto your pages. This has a two-fold effect: 1) it gets color down on the page and fills in the tiny detailed areas, making it easier and less intimidating (and faster) to color in with other media later, and 2) it creates an incredible base for colored pencil as adult coloring books are usually printed on paper that’s relatively smooth but pencils benefit enormously from a paper with more tooth. The acrylic paint gives the paper the missing tooth.

Neither the Neocolor IIs nor the Inktense are acrylic paint. Both of these can be used to add tooth to a page, but I’d diluted them so much that all I’d really managed to do was warp my paper and leave it remaining smooth once dried.

Neocolor II dry in imagimorphia
Neocolor II wet
Neocolor II dry in imagimorphia
Neocolor II wet
Inktense dry in imagimorphia
Inktense wet
Inktense dry in Doodle Fusion
Inktense wet
Neocolor II wet in Doodle Fusion

Looking back, even though I like some of the colors I’d chosen, I’m not happy with the results. I don’t like how all my random scribbles show because I hadn’t put the color down evenly, and I’m disappointed that I completely messed up on the entire “adding tooth” benefit.

Problem # 2 – using the right materials the wrong way

The remaining pages that I’d painted were all done with acrylic paint. That means they must be good, right? No, actually. Not at all. Some of them (the underwater ones in particular) look better in person than in the images below, but none of them are “good”, because I missed the mark again. I was so focused on getting a spread of color onto the page that I didn’t think I had to try and do it nicely. I’m embarrassed to admit it really didn’t occur to me that that it was more than a matter of simply splashing water into paint and wiping it across the page a few times. In most cases below I did a horrible application, and in the one or two that aren’t too bad, I used too much water and so the resulting color doesn’t have the tooth either. (And in the final case, I’d used much too much water and caused the marker on the reverse to completely bleed through).

Acrylic paint in imagimorphia
Acrylic paint in imagimorphia
Acrylic paint in imagimorphia
Acrylic paint in imagimorphia
Acrylic paint in Doodle Fusion
Acrylic paint in The Time Garden
Acrylic paint in The Time Garden
Acrylic paint in The Time Garden
(the next page that bled through to the one above)

Problem # 3 – choosing the wrong pages

I think this was the worst mistake I made out of all of them – I chose the wrong pages. With one exception, I’ve never really wanted to color ANY of the images above. Rather than pick pages that I looked forward to, instead I thought I could “cheat” my way into getting pages “done”, and done “faster” by slapping color down to make the final coloring quicker and easier. Instead I now have pages I still don’t want to do, just now they have some color on them.

So why am I bringing this up now? Well Dede’s videos have come back into my recommendeds and I’ve begun binging again, and once again am completely hooked. On THIS TIME I’ve learned from my mistakes!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Following Sarah Renae Clark’s “5 Easy Tips to Improve Your Coloring (Instantly!)” Video

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I personally don’t believe in waiting for a special day to start the changes we want to make, and numerous times I’ve made a public declaration of “this year I’ll ____” only to have my interest, enthusiasm or time dwindle until said thing is forgotten completely. My track record the last few years is spotty…I’ve completed a full year of the Create This Book challenge with Henri in 2020, but failed miserably at both my “19 for 19 WIP-to-FO” challenge in 2019 and my daily doodle self-promise in 2021.

So this year I’m not setting a resolution, but rather I’m choosing to make time for the things I want to achieve. In particular this year I want to focus on improving my drawing & coloring skills, so instead of forcing myself to do a set routine daily (which can become a chore) I’m going to simply allow myself to enjoy the process by doing what excites me.

Just before the holidays I’d discovered the YouTuber Sarah Renae Clark, thanks to a collab she did on Jazza’s art channel. I enjoyed their joint challenge so popped over to her channel to take a look and wound up binging a ton of tutorials, one of which prompted today’s post.

For those who don’t know, I do have a background and education/experience in drawing, painting, sculpture and the like as one of my degrees is in Creative Arts. Because I have a “professional” education I often get stuck in practice… feeling like I can’t just color something (for example) without “doing it right” and making sure it’s an accurate representation of my skill. It can be rewarding when the result matches my intent, but it sure puts a lot of pressure on when all I really want to do is chill on the couch with a cup of coffee and an adult coloring book! I’ve shown some pages I’ve colored here on the blog before but even those often feel inadequate for what I know I’m capable of, so improving my techniques in a way that makes them feel more natural has been a long-time desire.

And then I watched Sarah’s “5 Easy Tips to Instantly Improve Your Coloring Pages” video and an idea quickly formulated.

I decided to follow the 5 steps myself, not as an abstract concept but in actual practice. I would select 5 coloring pages, designating one for each of the tips, and hopefully come out of the process feeling like I’d levelled up… even if only a little bit.

I rewatched the video and took notes on each step, and reviewed the extra info in her related blog post, then set about choosing pages that would be ideal for this purpose.

I went with 5 pages in my Daler*Rowney Art Therapy: Utopia book. I have 4 of these little books and they’re quite cute. I’ve worked in this book quite a bit already and while the subject is a bit quirky, I like that the book is small enough to not make each page take forever. (It’s only 5.75″ wide by 8.25″ high). Also, the pages are 1-sided, so I could use media that might bleed through. Bonus- this book series has a built-in page protector (the back cover folds out to go under the page you’re working on) which came in incredibly handy during this process.

The first of the 5 steps Sarah lists is to incorporate shading and blending. I focused in particular on using shading to create depth, and so chose this “slide” page as I thought it would be easy to darken the lower layers and give a sense of perspective.

My plan was to give each page an underpainting with Spectrum Noir alcohol markers and then go back over it with Prismacolor Premiers for the shading and details.

With that in mind I colored the page. I started with bright colors for the slides to help bring them forwards visually and tried to pick darker ones so the background would recede. I also tend to default to using the same colors so I tried to pick ones I rarely reached for (which is why it’s so chaotic!).

In my head the lower levels would be full of shadows from the upper tubes and I was hoping it would get super dark, to where it almost looked like a really long drop. Unfortunately this was a case where I was unable to execute my vision.

This was after my first pass with the colored pencils. I quite like the shadows I added under each figure…but that’s about it. I don’t feel that any of the other shadows really work. I was able to make the teal tubes look round but I don’t get a sense of depth with any of the others, and I don’t find that the slides look concave at all.

Rather than continue to fuss with it in frustration, I took a break and moved on to coloring the under layer of the next image – the orange scene below. I was still intending on finishing all of the pages in pencil, but by the time I’d started coloring what was meant to be an underpaint on the 3rd image I realized the paper was handling the alcohol markers REALLY well, and that I was enjoying using them. I don’t reach for the Spectrum Noir’s too often because they bleed through most books (and most aren’t one-sided) so having an opportunity to put them to work was really enjoyable. There’s also a really big instant gratification difference in seeing large areas of color completed in minutes vs hours.

At this point I decided to come back and give the page one more go with my markers. This is the final result. Am I happy with it? No. Am I happier with it? Yes.

Mostly I’m happy that I tried. None of the 5 tips are particularly hard – in fact they’re called “easy” right in the title. And for the most part none were ones that I didn’t already know. The point of this exercise, to me, was to actually put them into practice. I did many art theory classes, I know light theory and shadow values and the difference between form shadows and cast shadows etc. But since I rarely apply those principles I don’t have the muscle memory to use them in the way I’d like (unlike something like knitting where my hands just know how to do things without much thought). Tip #1 showed me that this is something I need to work on, which is great because it gives me somewhere to focus and one day see improvement. ūüôā

Tip #2 (actually tip 3 in the video & post but I worked out of order) is about incorporating black into your coloring pages. This can be large areas like backgrounds or by using a fineliner and adding details or extras to the page that weren’t there to begin with, like dots or designs in the background.

I admit I cheated a bit with this one! I forgot to take a pic before I started coloring, but except for the oranges, this is what the image looked like before I started coloring. The Matrix-esque dots in the sky were already there, and the city silhouette was just asking to be a solid black, so it didn’t take much work or thought on how to incorporate black into this image. Still, I liked it, and chose it for this particular challenge.

The circles felt like oranges to me so that’s what I went with for coloring. I used the same gray on the robots (androids?) as for the previous pic, and a Sharpie for the city. My markers are old so there was a bit of dry-down causing patches of lighter areas (especially visible in the green and blue areas) but it didn’t bother me enough to do a second layer.

Finally, I added a bit of shading (pulling in Tip #1) in the areas the oranges and branches overlapped, as well as some (failed) shading on the robots. I’m not happy with some of the placement nor how blocky it looks. I added a neon glow off the tablet and around the radioactive oranges, and boosted the black background with some colored pencil. The final touch to include a bit more black was to add fine Micron dots to represent the pitting in orange peels, and some faux screw-heads in the tree’s bumpers.

Overall I’m happier with this one than the previous, though I don’t think it has anything to do with the tip or my follow-through. I really do love the idea of not being afraid to make changes to your books, though, and hope to get comfortable enough to add characters and designs of my own to some of the pages with lesser detail.

Tip #3 (really tip 2 in the video/post) is to add white for highlights. I’ve used this technique a bit but always been afraid to push it too far. So I chose this fish page deliberately so the bubbles in the water would give me plenty of reflective services to which I could add a shine.

Once again I forgot to take a pic before starting to color, oops. The jellyfish were quickly colored in shades of pink and for the fish I copied a color scheme I’d used on another occurrence of the same fish in the book. Trying to keep working the shading tip, I did add a slightly darker green on any of the intersections between layers of seaweed, but I’m not sure it’s visible in the finished image.

I wanted to give the background a gradient from lighter, closer-to-the-surface water up top down to murkier depths below. To achieve this I colored the background with 2 shades of gray; the first, darker one was applied to about 1/2 the page, and the second, lighter one filled in about 2/3 of what remained. I left the top 1/3 of the water area uncolored. I then went over the entire background with blue, coloring in small overlapping circles.

I outlined each bubble with a colorless blender. It didn’t remove the color completely but just enough to give each bubble a slight halo.

Finally I added highlights to the bubbles, jellyfish and fish with a Sigma Uniball UM-153 white gel pen. I don’t think the fish normally would have highlights but in my head they’re robotic just like all the people in the book. I also added some extra little white dots for oxygen bubbles coming up from each fish’s mouth as well as in the tangle of jellyfish legs.

Am I happy with it? Yes. I could have done better on blending the background and I wish my markers weren’t so old that the alcohol evaporated in patches causing the streaky look, but overall I’m quite happy with it, especially the shine on the fish. I could still use some practice though, and I think getting better at where to put the highlights will come hand-in-hand with getting better at where/how to place shadows.

Tip #4 (but actually #5 in the video/post) is to use a color palette when deciding what colors to pick. This is actually something I’ve struggled with sometimes, as I gravitate to the same colors that I like, and when I stray I can land in some weird territory (see: the slide pic above). You can find basic versions of color palettes available but Sarah offers her own and on a whim I decided to spring for it. I do so many different types of crafts, cakes, coloring, etc that having help for what colors look good together will only be an asset.

Once again I forgot to take a “before” pic until after I’d already started.

What a fantastic resource!

Her palettes are really well organized into clickable PDFs that you can search by keywords, themes or specific colors you want to use. I’d chosen this beach-looking scene as a test page, so I searched by “beach” keyword and decided to use palette #9 since it gave me options for the sand and water along with pops of color I could use for the umbrella and beach chair.

Something really fantastic about the Color Catalog is that she not only gives you the hex, RGB and CMYK color codes for each color in the palette, but there are also companion charts available that will tell you exactly which color she’s mapped to each from many of the most popular brands of pencils and markers. I was able to use the Spectrum Noir companion chart to find the exact SN color numbers and pull my markers without having to manually compare swatches to the samples. It’s really great!

This page probably took me the least amount of time to work on, but felt like the longest when coloring in each individual cell in the umbrella. Overall I’m pretty happy with this page. I didn’t add any white highlights and I’m not sure my laptop glow is in the right shape, but I am happy with the umbrella’s shadow on the ground and cutting across the stand (though looking back now I probably should have had the circle continue on the other side of the chair as well). Still further proof that my shading needs work. This seems to be a running theme!

Finally, step 5 (the 4th step in the video/post) is to add textures to your page. I chose to use this telescope page for a very specific reason: it would give me a chance to practice with this texture book I bought SPECIFICALLY to help me color more realistically.

The book is fantastic, showing you how to replicate each texture in short, step-by-step blocks. The only problem was it didn’t include brass, which is the look I’d wanted for my telescope. D’oh! (It has hammered brass, but that’s not quite the same thing). I could have used the references for silver or pewter and simply changed the colors, but instead I decided to find a reference image.

I could not find any telescope images in an upwards angle like the coloring page so I made one myself! I found a sample image of the exact antique brass look I wanted to go for, and saved it to my phone.

I then used my phone’s built-in photo editing tools to flip it and skew the angle until it was as close as possible to what I needed. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely close and was a really big help as a reference.

I was really nervous about this one because I had such a specific idea in mind and I’ll admit I was worried I wouldn’t be able to execute it. I almost gave up and was going to pick a page to try out one of the other texture ideas (eye shadow) instead but I’m really, REALLY glad I didn’t. I LOVE how it turned out!

In fact, I was so happy with it that I decided to pull all 5 tips together into this one final image.

I went back to the Color Catalog to find a color palette that would work with the copper/bronze/brass colors I already had, and this one with the bright pop of pink really charmed me.

I really tried to make sure I used all 5 tips in this one. Texture? Check. Adding white? Yup- I added highlights throughout including some shine in the brightest areas of the telescope. Adding black? Oh yes – I added extra lines in diminishing circles in the planet to try and give it a sense of depth, with the lines being more concentrated closer to the viewer and moving further apart the further away they got. Color palette? Sure thing – I used only the colors listed. And finally for shadows I got creative and added the shadow from the telescope, although I wasn’t paying proper attention to the actual shape of the telescope and didn’t do the best job.

This was the finished result…and I just did not like it. I actually put it aside for a few days to think, because I was so happy with some parts but couldn’t help thinking it looked so incomplete. I debated adding some darker grays to the sky so they’d still be in the same family as the palette, but wasn’t sure I wanted that look. I was stumped. I’d followed the rules, and yet I wasn’t happy with the result. So what did that mean?

It meant that sometimes, it’s ok to break the rules. There are no coloring police! Plus Sarah’s tips are just that – tips and suggestions on how to improve your coloring results, that you are free to incorporate (or not) but they’re not hard and fast rules. She’s not saying “this is the ONLY way”, she’s saying “if you’re stuck, why not try this? It couldn’t hurt, and it might help!” And they did.

And not being limited meant I could come back to it later and add completely new colors into the background, to give it a sort of galaxy look that I didn’t even know I wanted until I’d achieved it and it was just perfect.

I went over the original gray with two shades of purple, blending them together where (I imagined) the planet’s light met the night sky. I also blended the main purple into the pink halo off the edge of the planet. I then traced over every start and (bubble? pearl?) with the white gel pen to remove their black outlines, and deepened the telescope’s shadow and refined it as best I could.

I am SO happy with the finished result! I’m really proud of this one, and really, really glad I embarked on this challenge.

I’m really glad I took the time to go back and rework something I wasn’t happy with. This makes me feel excited and hopeful about doing more coloring and testing and learning. And having gone through this exercise I can now pinpoint which areas need more refinement, and seek help for those things specifically (like improving my shading!!).

I think this was a great project to start off my year. If it’s something you might like to try for yourself, here are the links again to Sarah’s video and blog post. She’s got a TON of other videos and posts, and whether you’re a beginner, average or expert colorist, if you’re interested in adult coloring I definitely recommend checking her out.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Glow Effects with Gel Pens

Today’s post is a little tip on how to use gel pens to get a special effect in your coloring book pages. In honor of Walt Disney’s birthday this week* I’ve used a page from my Art of Coloring: Disney Villains coloring book.

This is the original page. It’s slightly warped because on the back is a page I colored fully with my Inktense pencils and it was saturated over and over. While I do keep this book clipped shut (as shown in this post with my hanger tip) I’m still impressed at the thickness of the paper in this book. It’s definitely better than most of my coloring books!

As with many of the coloring books based on movies and tv shows, the scenes in this book are often pulled directly from a still from the original source material. In this case you can see the above image is nearly an exact copy of the second image from the movie, below. It looks like the book artist added a background detail and the mist with the llama above in order to make it more interesting as a coloring page.

While I did use the still as a reference for the characters, I took creative liberties with the color of the potion as I wanted to see if I could achieve a glowing affect and thought the contrast with a yellow glow would stand out more than pink.

This is a super easy effect to achieve, and takes materials you’ve probably already got on-hand! All you really need is a gel pen in your desired bright color! I’ve also used a water brush for convenience, but you can swap in a regular paint brush and small cup of water and get the exact results.

You have to work fast so I wasn’t able to pause and take a step by step. Outline the area you want to have the glow, and then immediately while the gel pen ink is still wet, use a water brush or water-dampened paintbrush to blend out the gel ink.

The glow areas in this image are too large to do all at once as the gel would dry before I could get to it. So I worked in small sections, tracing just inside the lines of the swirl and blending the wet ink inwards. For the glasses and potion bottle I only traced on one side so there wouldn’t be too much ink. I then scribbled some of the ink on a piece of scrap cardstock (the shiny kind like used in consumer packaging) and diluted it with water to make a paint for the glow around the bottle.

That’s it! That gives a really cool glow effect that you can achieve super-simply, in almost any coloring project. To see the glow really pop, let’s finish coloring the page!

Switching to my beloved Inktense, I outlined the misty sections with a few shades of green. I didn’t record my colors but there was definitely #1400 (Apple Green) and I believe some #1520 (Hooker’s Green). If you look in the mist closest to the llama, you can also see some #0100 (Sherbet Lemon) to amplify the glow and pull the yellows into the mist.

With Inktense the rule is always “a little goes a long way” so I only needed the barest of color application to get the light wash you see in the image on the right. To blend out you can use a water brush or regular paintbrush with some water and moisten the drawn lines just like those old coloring pages in kids’ activity books.

Next I did the same for the background behind the mist, first filling it in with a super-light application of #2020 (Indian Ink) and then deepened up the borders with #2200 (Ink Black).

The main background first had a layer of the same Indian Ink followed by #750 (Dark Purple) since purple is the complementary color to green (opposite on the color wheel).

The last step was to finish the characters with a bit of #1800 (Baked Earth) and #1740 (Saddle Brown) for Kronk and #760 (Deep Violet) for Yzma, and #1210 (Dark Aquamarine) for the teal bits.

I love how this page came out! I’m continually impressed at the paper quality of this book. Having now done a fully water-saturated coloring on both sides of this same page, I’m amazed that there is no bleed-through or tearing. I love the bright glow of the gel pen against the ink, and especially the reflected glow in the goggle lenses.

I hope this tip helps you use your gel pens in new ways!

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*December 5th


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Quick Crafty Tip: Using Pants Hangers

I don’t have a ‘Crafty Compilation’ for either of the last two weeks as I’ve spent them working primarily on some sample knitting that I’m not sure if I can talk about yet.  So, instead, here’s a quick tip for those of you who enjoy coloring: pants hangers are your friend.

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Yup.  Actual hangers that you use to hang up your pants.  (Or your kids’ pants, in my case).
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I’ve been using binder clips with my Art of Coloring: Disney Villains book ever since I got it.  I’ve been using a lot of water media in it and I’ve taken to clipping the book shut whenever I’m not using it to minimize most of the page warping.  Because this book has thick cardboard covers it stays open pretty flat on its own, though I tend to pop the clip onto my working page mostly so I don’t misplace it until I need it again.  With other books I’ve taken to working on a clipboard for both the hard surface as well as the ability to clip the book open to my current page.  For the most part, that worked perfectly.

tip color with clips 04Then one day I was laying on my belly in bed coloring the page above (the Eagle image in Kerby Rosanes’ imagimorphia).  It was held down by my clipboard on the far right of the right page but I kept getting frustrated at the left-side page flipping shut every time I reached over for my coloring supplies (Stabilo 88 and Staedtler Triplus fineliners, as well as Caran D’Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons for the purple wisps).  I’d been laying on my belly and constantly raising up onto my elbows to brace the page between color changes was starting to hurt more than the coloring itself soothed.

Henri had had a similar problem holding open his Pokemon books so he could sketch from them, and I’d lent him my cookbook stand.  It was a great solution but now that I needed it I didn’t have the heart to steal it back for myself.  That’s when I remembered the image going around Facebook a while ago in a list of kitchen tips: using a pants hanger to hold your recipe up and out of the way, by hanging it from an upper cabinet doorknob.  I had no need to hang my coloring book, but it would be perfect for what I needed too!

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And it was!  The two clips hold the pages down on either side, but the stiff bar that connects them keeps them open flat, where the book could otherwise still slip shut.  (The above wip image is also from imagimorphia, and the background wash was done with the Neocolor IIs).  After you’ve finished coloring the page, the hanger can then be used to clip the book shut as it dries to minimize any warping from the wet pages.

If you wanted you could also store your books from the hangers, sideways along a bar similar to needlepoint sets.  (Ooooh now I’m picturing a dry cleaner-style conveyor holding all my coloring and craft books… that would be awesome!!)

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And for an easy reminder to pin:

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That’s all for now.  Hopefully this tip could be handy for some of you!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: the Grandfather and Grandson double-page wip

…aka the Fred Savage/Peter Falk double-page spread.

Sometimes I like mindless projects like stockinette stitch knitting or coloring where the resulting image can look like anything I can imagine. ¬†Other times the challenge of replicating something existing is what thrills me, like Henri’s Pitfall: The Lost Expedition cake that had to look like a scene from the game, or my (full posts still outstanding) Skylanders Sprocket cosplay that had to look like the character from the game. ¬†After a more casual take on the first few pages in the Princess Bride coloring book I was really eager to tackle something detailed and specific, so I was really happy to turn the page and see one of the the Grandfather/Grandson scenes from the movie’s framing device.

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For reference, here’s a still from that scene in the movie:

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Just like with the Kaa/Mowglii page in the Art of Coloring: Disney Villains book, the Sherlock coloring book, the Doctor Who one, and others, I think some of the more photo-realistic pages start with photoshopped stills that are then cleaned up and refined by the artist. ¬†In this case the only real differences between the book and the movie are a different jumble of toys and books on the headboard and the altering of Fred’s jersey, both changes likely due to¬†the trademarks involved like the Bears, the Cheetos, and the He-Man figures, etc.

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I don’t have progress pics from before this point because I was so into the coloring that I forgot. ¬†I’d started with the lamp… for no real reason other than I’d wanted to. ¬†After that I started thinking about how the Inktense pencils behaved: while they’re supposed to be permanent, if not fully activated they’d bleed into the surrounding areas. ¬†So, for example, if I laid down a lot of pigment making his hair dark brown, and missed some stray bits near the outline, that dark color would bleed over into the white headboard/shelves if I got too close with my wet brush (which is why I’m leaving that, among other areas, for last).

I spent waaaaay too long on the bedspread.  Even after choosing the colors I spent more time than necessary figuring out if there was a repeatable pattern I could copy.

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(Go figure I didn’t find THIS pic until I was done that part. ¬†Sigh.)

Once the stripes were done I tossed in a bit of shading, then did the pillows.  Next up was the skin (within which the shadows look a little exaggerated at the moment, but I plan to smooth it out with some colored pencil at the end).

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I broke my own ‘dark colors’ rule in doing the jersey next (it’s the exception that proves it, right?) and then the shadows along the wall/shelves/head board.

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And this is the point I’m at now. ¬†I’ve started tossing some color into the books and comics and toys other odds and ends strewn about.

Oh- I wanted¬†to say something excellent about this book: while it’s not made to hold heavy applications of water, and will definitely never stand up to alcohol markers, I’ve put this page so far through a lot. ¬†After working some areas, like the jersey, it was with a lot of trepidation that I turned back to the page before to check for bleed-through. ¬†The page on the other side of this one is the ownership page, so with only the smaller scollwork/flowers in the center of the page, there is a LOT of blank area for ghosting and bleeding to show through.

There’s none. ¬†Nada. ¬†Zilch. ¬†In fact, I took the pics in my previous post after already coloring this far, so you can see for yourself that there aren’t even traces of ghosting to disrupt the background. ¬†ūüôā


You can find more coloring-related posts sorted by material or book at the Coloring tab in the header above, or click here for more posts about The Princess Bride Coloring Book.

Other pages from this book so far:

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: ownership page wip

I know, I know- three posts in a row! ¬†I told you- I’m addicted to this book, and if I don’t start posting stuff from where I’m¬†at I’ll keep winding up too far ahead. ¬†Unlike tutorials or cakes where once they’re done, they’re¬†done and I can post the finished thing anytime, ideally with coloring projects I could be somewhat up to date so I can post pics here or on my Instagram as I work on them. ¬†Since this book is my current obsession, I’m making sure to get these posts out before I move ahead too far.

So. ¬†This is the ownership¬†page in progress. ¬†(If anyone isn’t following along this is the The Princess Bride Coloring Book, colored with Derwent Inktense pencils). ¬†For the most part it’s a repeat of the title page, since it has the same buttercups and carved wood. ¬†I did learn from my mistakes on the last page, however, and went lighter for my initial passes at the wood color. ¬†I haven’t done any colored pencil shading on this one yet, and so far it reminds me of the strips of Birch kids would get in trouble for tearing off the trees at my old camp.

princessbride-wip-007Before giving the book pages a slight antique stain I’d lightly sketched out my name, trying as best I could to match the font on the opposing page. ¬†In pencil it looked great… only I’d been hasty in wanting to finish that part and I’d used the first ink pen I’d had handy not even thinking that the nib was thicker than the printed ink. ¬†I traced the “J” and instantly regretted it, wishing I’d used one of my smaller sizes Micron pen instead. However, now that I’d started it was too late to do anything about it. Hmph.

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I’d even tried to erase the ink over the J, wondering if it would fade it enough to not stand out with as much contrast as it was having. ¬†Again I was being hasty and nearly smeared the black ink. ¬†Sigh. ¬†In the end I managed to salvage the pic, I think. ¬†Since I couldn’t undo the thicker outline on the right, I chose to use the same pen to outline the existing words on the left, so both pages matched.

The Inktense on this page is complete, and all I want to do now is darken the depths of the shadows of the wood and the flower centers with some colored pencil, and then this page will be done.


You can find more coloring-related posts sorted by material or book at the Coloring tab in the header above, or click here for more posts about The Princess Bride Coloring Book.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: publication info page wip

Since the last page in The Princess Bride Coloring Book I’d been working on had just used so much brown, when I turned the page I was craving to work with color.

(As an aside, you can clearly see the lack of bleed-through on this page, even after all the layers of color I’d put down).

Still working with the Inktense, I started at the sun in the center and worked downwards.  I used a few shades of yellow for the sun then started with the oranges, using the darkest color from each section as the palest in the next.  So if the first section used colors A and B as ABABAB then the next section was BCBCBC, then CDCDCD, and so on.  I planned the gradation deliberately timed so the blues would hit by the waves, then the teals/greens in the water.

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The lines are so narrow that I can’t really look up to watch tv or something while I activate it, so I’ve been working on it here and there while catching up on past episodes of the podcast Lore. ¬†I’m in no rush, though, as I love watching the muted pigment (the left side) spring to life once wetted (the right side, up to midway).princessbride-wip-005

 
This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.