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One Mandala, four ways: no experience needed

by Anja
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One Mandala, four ways to color

You’ve been feeling curious about coloring and heard how many benefits it can have for your health, you also know that you don’t need big skills or a special technique to start. But… what do you use? Are coloring pencils enough? What about markers?

You already spent some time at the art supply store looking at all those beautiful bright pens and looked at those fancy pencils and wonder if they are worth the money. There are just SO MANY of them!

What should you DO?

Be sure of this: You don’t need the expensive stuff to color pages. If you’re just starting, a cheaper box of pencils will do the work just fine. Remember, you’re doing this because you want to step away from stress for a moment and get some peace in your head.

If you’re like me and can’t part with things so easily, maybe you still have some color pencils from your kids. Or crayons. Or maybe, you went into the office supply store, couldn’t resist the vivid colors of Sharpies and purchased a box not knowing what their fate might be. You know which ones. Yes. Those in the back of your drawer on the left. Or maybe you have a bullet journal for which you bought a box of fine markers and still haven’t used them.

Yes, you can use those too.

The materials

In the last post, I wrote about different combinations you can apply to coloring. Now I will show you examples of different materials you can use.

Watercolors and the Aquash Water brush

You probably already know of this marvel named the Aquash Water brush by Pentel. Oh, I wish I had one of these when I was a kid!

These beauties come in three nylon brush sizes: Fine, medium and large. Each have their own water deposit. This means that you don’t have to a glass with water nearby. In fact, you can take your Aquash brush anywhere because it won’t spill. Forget about cleaning your brush after you’re done coloring! It’s practically self-cleaning. It won’t mix colors unless you want it to.

watercolor

The great thing about the Aquash is that you regulate how much water you’ll use by squeezing the deposit, which lets you control how dark or light the colors will get on paper.

For this example I used my not-fancy-at-all watercolors from school and a medium brush. I mixed red and blue to get nice shades of purple, then added some yellow and green. And voilá!

Watercolor pencils

Nowadays there are many brands of watercolor pencils. My favorites are the Albrecht Dürer watercolor pencils from Faber Castell. These pencils won’t break if you use a pencil sharpener. Some artist prefer to sharpen their pencils with a box cutter but I don’t think it’s necessary when all you want is to do some simple coloring.

watercolorpencils

While working with the pencil you’ll have to control how dark or light each color gets. Adding water (again with the Aquash) will let you change this to an extent so you have to plan how you want your work to look before this step.

watercolorpencil_aquash

My color box only has one purple pencil, a dark Blue Violet 157. How do I get a lighter color? Instead of filling it all up, I traced some softer lines not too close together. For the lighter wine red, I mixed Blue Violet 157 with Dark Carmine 126. To create a degradation on the leaves, I applied more of Apple Green 170 at the bottom and less at the top. You can apply the same method with regular coloring pencils just leave the water out.

Simple, isn’t it?

Sharpies

Who doesn’t love Sharpies?

Strong chemical smell aside, I love how even and bright the applied color look after they are completely dry. Coloring with Sharpies is quick, simple and perfect if you don’t have a technique. On this example, some spots remind me a bit of the effect you get with watercolors.

sharpies

Triplus Fineliner

If you have a bullet journal you probably own a box of these or the Stabilo version. I’m not very patient when it comes to coloring with Fineliners because it takes me forever to fill a page.

Yes. I’m aware of the irony here. ?

But hey! You probably are far more patient than I am and Triplus come in a set of very nice colors. If you have the 36 pen box you even get to enjoy an 80’s flashback with 6 neon colors.

If you’re not patient, you still can have fun and experiment with texture. For this example I used lines to fill everything up and the result looks interesting.

triplus

As you can see, you can use fancy tools but they’re not required. Use what feels comfortable to you and just have fun.

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