If you haven’t noticed already: coloring is in. People are taking the time to sit down, take a pencil or crayon or whatever their favorite medium is and just color. There are tons of different coloring books available from nature to steam punk, from doodles to enchanted forests. There’s a book for everyone!
Bad day? Grab your pencils!
As I’ve written in a previous post, coloring helps calm you down after a stressful day and, if you haven’t been successful with meditation, it’s a pretty easy way to get you to focus. Unlike meditation, you can color with your friends or family around or completely on your own, while you recharge. After a while you’ll drift into sweet calmness and concentrate in creating a beautiful piece of art.
But… I’m NOT an artist
You’re not an artist? Who bleepin’ cares! You don’t need to be artistically inclined to start coloring. You may not even know how exactly the color wheel works and that’s okay. I’m pretty sure you know what your favorite colors are. You love blue and purple but hate pink. Or maybe you have a thing for grays or reds in all their hues. That’s all you need, my friend. Oh, and some pencils or pens, of course.
One Mandala, five combinations
I can see you squirming in your chair. What if I mess up? What if the color combinations look as terrifying as a zombie? Follow this basic rule: Don’t overthink it. Besides, even zombies follow a color palette or they’d just look weird.
Just because I appreciate you and we’re friends, I have prepared 5 different ways to color the same Mandala from my new coloring book.
Now, as much as I wish I had 120 colors at my disposal, I don’t. I work with what I have: 22 Sharpies and 6 PITT artist brush pens.
With these tools in mind, I already know that my palette is a bit limited: I don’t have all the purples, lavenders or reds that I would like. Maybe your palette is the same way. What do you then?
My secret weapons
Even though I know how to work with a color wheel, I’m sometimes too busy (and lazy) to create a nice and harmonious color combination. For those occasions I use Color Schemer on my desktop. Sadly it is no longer supported, but Paletton works pretty much the same way.
Working with the color wheel, you can choose hues and shades and discover which colors look good together in a monochromatic, adjacent, triad, tetrad or free style way.
I like using no more than four colors at a time. I find that anything over four looks strange.
Another way to discover new palettes is Design Seeds. Every day new combinations are released, most of them based on what nature has to offer. And you know nature is never wrong. On the website you can browse by color or by collection. The possibilities are endless!
For the examples shown in this post, I used some of the palettes from Design Seeds that are available on my Pinterest board.
Not only do I love Jimi and His Purple Majesty, but I’m a big fan of purple in all its hues. For this Mandala, I used lavender and the two purples included in my Sharpie box. To add an accent to the hues of purple, I use a bit of a darker yellow.
I’m not a green lover, except when I think of those beautiful Irish landscapes bursting with all the shades of green. So, in honor of the moss covered earth, I used my green Sharpies and a shade of gray, you know, for the rocky coasts.
Silver and gold… and it’s growing cold… whoops, sorry about that, I was just remembering an old The Mission song. ☺️ I have never been lucky enough to see the changing seasons. Here, everything remains mostly green or the trees are completely naked, which is why I enjoy looking at autumn pictures online. Nature is indeed the best artist there is, right. For this example I used all the reds that came in my Sharpie box and that beautiful dark or burnt yellow.
The exception: A darker rainbow
I like rainbows, just not too many of them in print, ‘cos I think they were overdone in the eighties and I’m still a bit tired of them. My solution? Tone it down. Luckily, my Sharpie box has a darker hue of all six colors and the result is beautiful. This is the only time I do like to combine more than four colors, because they work good together.
The alternative: A brighter rainbow
Let’s face it, not everyone is into toned down colors. For those of you who love a brighter variation, I used the PITT artist pen brush by Faber Castell. These pens don’t bleed through paper like Sharpies do, for me a big plus. And they don’t smell. Filling a page with these is done very quickly.
If you want to learn more about the psychology, meaning and symbolism of colors, you can take a look at this article by Jen Reviews (this is an external link).
Don’t be scared to experiment with colors on your pages. Do what feels right for you. If you purchase my coloring book, I’d love to see what color combinations you come up with. You can tag your photos on Instagram with #catandraven.