Getting started with Adult Colouring

Starting with adult colouring can be a little daunting. There may be many queries that you have such as picking the right books and materials and there are so many to choose from, some of which can be very expensive. It is a good idea though, to start with a low budget. By purchasing a few cheaper items, or even using items that you have already got, you will be able to try it out and think about whether you want to continue with it as a hobby. 

Free Downloads
It can be worth starting by looking for some free downloads to colour. These are often produced by adult colouring book authors so that you can get a taste of their work and they hope it will encourage you to buy their books. It is how I started out.

You will need a printer or you may be able to ask friends or family or your local copy shop to make you some prints to have a go at. You can use normal copy paper, although if you have card stock that fits in your printer, this can be better as copy paper is quite thin to colour on. I tend to use Bristol board which is very smooth and thick, but it will not be suitable for every printer, so you will need to check as you do not want it to get stuck when you are printing it. There are lots of places to find free downloads and the place I always recommend is Johanna Basford’s Happy Place as it has lots of free downloads and a few tutorial videos as well. As I only colour Johanna Basford books, then she is the only person I recommend but there are lots more places you can find free downloads too. 

Art Materials
It is worth thinking about what medium you want to use. If you are using print outs, then you can use anything, as long as the paper you are using will work with it, but it does not really matter if you make a mistake as it is just one sheet of paper. However, if you are colouring in a book, you need to be more careful. Although some people do paint in colouring books, you need to be very careful with how much water you use as the pages will buckle if they get too wet. If you use markers or felt pens then you need to be careful that they will not bleed through. Alcohol markers always will but some water-based markers work, as long as you are not too heavy-handed or put down too many layers. Many people do prefer using pencils though and they are often what colouring books are designed for.

When you first start out with pencils, you may find that the colours are not as bright as you want them to be, so you may be tempted to grab pens. However, some brands of pencils are more pigmented than others and by building up gentle layers you can normally get a darker colour. You will also find that some people are heavier handed than others and there are beautiful artworks produced by those with a very gentle touch as well as those that produce very dark coloured pictures. 

Choosing the right brands can be tricky but it can be worth trying lots of different ones out before committing to buying a large set. Many of the top brands will sell single pencils so you will be able to buy a few and see what you think. You can buy these in different places such as your local art shop, larger art stores and online from small and large companies. I tend to buy my open stock pencils from and also from Jacksons Art. I have also been known to shop at Cult Pens and Amazon

The pencils that I recommend to beginner are Staedtler Ergosoft Pencils. They are a great budget pencil and they can blend together and be used for shading but they are not that expensive. They have a triangular shape so they will not roll off the desk or table but they can be sharpened in a normal sharpener. I tend to use the Staedtler sharpener because it is a good price and collects the sharpenings. I also use two erasers when colouring. Although rubbing out hard layers of deep colours is very difficult, it can rip the paper and will leave a stain, if you are colouring gently then you may be able to erase some of the marks you have made. I use a Staedtler plastic eraser for larger areas and a Tombow Mono eraser for little areas.  I also like to make highlights with white pen from time to time and my current favourites are the Sakura gellyrolls. These should be enough to get you started and once you have got going, you can then decide whether you want to add to your collection.