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My mom asked for a coloring book for Christmas. This is the official indication that everyone on earth is jumping onto the coloring bandwagon. A few weeks ago, a good friend texted to ask “What are the best colored pencils for me to buy?” Yup – coloring is officially a thing. Which is why, I’m gonna give you the low down on everything you need to color and I’ve even got a quick video on the simplest way to color with alcohol markers, which can be a tad bit intimidating.

So here we go, a thorough  walk through the basics of coloring (and if you keep scrolling, I’ve got plenty of links for free downloadable coloring pages).

Guide to Adult Coloring, What You Need | damask love

RECOMMENDED SUPPLY // PrismaColor Colored Pencils 48 Pack

HOW MUCH // $39

Colored pencils are probably the most forgiving when it comes to coloring. They are pretty intuitive. Color lightly for faint shades, press hard for dark shades. Layers colors to create blended effects or keep it simple with one color only. You can sharpen them over and over for a fresh, sharp pencil point and they are affordable! The PrismaColor Pencils are a midrange pricepoint and allow you to have something nice and still pay your electricity bill at the end of the month. I hear that lamps and electricity are pretty helpful when it comes to coloring.

ADD ONS // I love the PrismaColor sharpener because you can sharpen your pencil with either a wide point or a narrow point, depending on what’s most comfortable. You may also want to grab an eraser because…well..mistakes happen, right? While you’re at it, an eraser might not be a bad idea.

ALTERNATIVES // If you want to save a little money, there are several very inexpensive options for colored pencils. The Sargent Art 50 Pack rings in at about $15 and gives you tons of colors. The pencils won’t blend as well as PrismaColor but you can use your extra money for a cocktail and then you won’t care. PrismaColor also has a 24 pack of pencils for only $20-ish bucks which gives you all the greatness of their brand at a lower pricepoint. And last but not least, there’s good ‘ol Crayola. Our childhood favorite. Again, these won’t blend as well as PrismaColor but they come in at $12 which is a great way to start coloring with very little investment.

Guide to Adult Coloring, What You Need | damask love


HOW MUCH // $24 per set

Copics are a gold standard in advanced coloring. The technique isn’t difficult, but they do take some getting used to. I currently use my Copics for almost every coloring project and if you’re looking for quality markers these are a great way to go. I recommend getting your Copics in sets of three to maximize your ability to blend and create dimension in your coloring. I currently own the following Copic colors in my own personal set and I don’t feel the need to buy more.

E31, E35, E37 // E00, E04, E09 // V04, V06, V09 // G00, G02, G07 // YR00, YR04, YR09 // T1, T3, T5 // BG10, BG13, BG5 // E21, E25, E29 // R20, R22, R24, R29 // Y00, Y06, Y08 // 0 (Colorless Blender)

Each copic marker color is labeled by a letter and number. The letter indicates the color family and the number indicates the darkness of the shade. If you opt to purchase your Copic markers individually, you’ll want to select three markers in the same family with numbers that are two or three apart. This way you get a good range from light to dark.  Here’s a quick video on the very simplest way to use Copics:

[ylwm_vimeo height=”400″ width=”600″ ]151487436[/ylwm_vimeo]

RECOMMENDED SUPPLY // Copic Marker Basic Set

HOW MUCH // $175

If you’d rather skip the work of assembling your own Copic set, you can purchase a preassembled set of markers that includes most every color you need. This 36-piece set cover all the basics and comes with a handy dandy storage cube.

ADD ONS // Since this 36 piece set does not group the markers into trios, you may need to purchase a few “one-offs” at your local craft store. Luckily, you can usually use a 40% off coupon to snags these individual markers at a good price.

RECOMMENDED SUPPLY // Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers

HOW MUCH // $119

I am a huge fan of the Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers. They work just like Copics but are a lot less money! My only gripe with these particular pens is that the pen tips are not quite a flexible as Copic Markers which can make blending a bit more difficult. Even with that one complaint, they are still WELL worth the money and for $119 you get every color in the collection which means you can color really beautiful pages that are perfectly blended…without going for broke.

ADD ONS // You’ll always want to store your alcohol markers in the horizontal position so this organizer is a great option…or you can keep them in a shoe box like a certain someone I know (*raises hand*)

…and now that you’re ready to color, how about a ton of incredibly fresh and on trend coloring pages that are FREE! This will be especially helpful for all you girls who just splurged on a full set of Copic markers!

  1. a “ridiculously” cute coloring calendar..I hear the blogger is pretty nice.
  2. All the adorable animals
  3. Follow Your Heart to this intricate and beautiful page
  4. Mandalas are always a great coloring idea.
  5. The giraffes are my favorite!
  6. Use your art supplies to color these art supplies
  7. Cupcakes for the win!
  8. These doodles are doodle-licious!
  9. Simple floral that you can make beautiful
  10. A trio of pages but the coffee pots are the best!
  11. More coffee cups to color
  12. Butterfly coloring page
  13. …and one more butterfly.
  14. another mandala…never too many
  15. These sketched flowers are goodie, goodie.
  16. This coloring page does not bug me at all!
  17. Perhaps my very fave…because there’s a cheeseburger involved.
  18. Flowers get crazy.
  19. Bring the house down with this pretty coloring page
  20. an absolute gem!
  21. I love everything about this coloring page
  22. The completed version of this is amazing!
  23. Inspiration meets coloring
  24. Dream it. Do it. Color it. 
  25. Another inspirational quote
  26. The ampersand has never looked to good
  27. A little family of owls
  28. Abstract and beautiful
  29. Shine on you crazy diamond!
  30. Perfect for a rainy day!
  31. Love these abstract blooms!

Keep on crafting with these other posts

16 thoughts on “How (the Heck) to Color + Free Coloring Pages

  1. Thank you for this post! Not only does your writing amuse me but it is also extremely informative! I purchased adult coloring books last month along with water color pencils. I wasn’t ready to invest in markers just yet. I haven’t tried the pencils – but now I am going to. I printed your color calendar and can’t wait to check out the links you included here. Thank you for always making things seem easy and encouraging me/everyone to come to the party! 🙂

  2. You have the best sense of humor! I really love your effort to help us color-crazed crafters. I have been lately using my Prismacolor Premier pencils to color valentines, mainly because my preferred media are Inktense pencils or watercolors; however, I print out digital stamps for the main part, pictures provided by wonderful artists like Sara Burrier, A Day for Daisies, Power Poppy,etc., and what happens even after heat drying is often bleeding of the lines from the water.

    Also, a hint with the beautiful Prismacolors is to blend with gamsol. Really heightens the colors and makes them more like Copics. Wish I could spring for the latter, but I already have so many options I can’t justify it!

    Thanks for the wonderful article!

  3. Adult coloring books: Not to be confused with adult videos, right? I knew this was everywhere when I tried to buy colored pencils right before Christmas. Sold out!! Oh, and wanted to add that markers + pencils in the same project is pretty cool. Anyway — thanks for sharing all the great info and links. (Nos. 8-11 are all linking to the cupcake printable — at least for me. ???)

  4. I like Derwent colored pencils better than Prismacolors. Derwent has soft and hard lines of pencils and many different sized packages, some that are water-soluable such as Inktense, or watercolor. The full set of 72 colors in either line is pricey, but the same line of pencils is offered in smaller packages of 12, 14, or 36 for those who don’t want to spend as much. There is also, at least in the Inktense line, a 48 pencil pack that comes in a stylish wooden case… and it is priced higher than the tins… so that wooden case isn’t free, but is a nice storage option for those who can afford it.

  5. True! Mid-months of 2015, coloring books for adults got popular and expecting it would boom more this year. Thanks for these selections of coloring materials!

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