It should be simple, right? Just pick up a book and start coloring but with the hundreds of new beautiful coloring books for adults and the massive selection of supplies it can be overwhelming. Here are my suggestions for where to start.
Adult Coloring Book Supplies for Beginners
The first thing to do is look in your own crafting supplies. Do you scrapbook? Then you probably already have nice markers and maybe some gel pens. Do you make cards or stamp? You might have colored pencils and pastel chalks you can use for backgrounds…. Don’t buy crayons.. crayons are horrible to color with! No really… I didn’t enjoy coloring as a kid and now I know why! you can’t stay in the lines because the crayons are so wide at the end and they don’t sharpen easily and you can never get nice deep colors because the wax builds up so quickly. Have those for the kids or grandkids but don’t even try them in your pretty new books.
Budget Friendly Adult Coloring Book Supplies
Crayola Colored Pencils (the long ones) – These are a fantastic option and for the price, you can’t beat it. You can invest in better pencils later and let the kids or your friends use these, but some colorists find they like the results they get from these as much as they do the expensive artist brands.
- Walmart – Crayola Colored Pencils 100 pack $14
- Amazon – Crayola Colored Pencils 50 Pack $12
- Walmart – Crayola Colored Pencils 36 Pack $7
- Amazon – Crayola Colored Pencils 36 Pack $7
One step up from Crayola but still a wonderful value would be the Marco Raffine pencils. These are not available in the US but are on Ebay for around $25 including postage. I personally bought mine from this seller on Ebay and they arrived in perfect condition from a small village in China.
Marco Raffine 72 colors $25 – Click to Buy
Marco Raffine 72 Colored Pencils
You can buy these pencils on Amazon too but the Ebay way is a little cheaper usually.
Secret Weapon of Colorists.. ssshhhhh
Blending Pencils! Blending pencils are a colorless pencil that helps you blend your colors together and get rid of all those white parts you see on your page. They really are miraculous the first time you try them. Different ones work better with different pencils and different books, you really do have to experiment. Luckily they aren’t very expensive.
- Prismacolor Blending Pencil
- Derwent Blending Pencil
- Caran Blending Pencil (works well in Lost Ocean)
Many people love to use baby oil for blending. You apply a VERY small amount with a paper blending stump and blend it. Put a piece of paper underneath and leave the book open for the oil to evaporate. I would play with this on a book where the pages are removable just to see what you think. There are expensive blending mediums and mineral oils but they are toxic and we know and probably have some baby oil sitting in the house. Give it a try when you are feeling adventurous.
Budget friendly backgrounds – you can color them in the colored pencils but it is tedious and time-consuming or you can use soft pastels. A really inexpensive cheat for that is to use blush and eye shadow that you have laid in your cosmetic bag. I know you ladies have some and you guys can ask your wives or partners to dig some out for you. I love free!
One of the best tips I have gotten from experienced colorists to improve your colored pencil work is to make sure you have a good sharpener. For a small investment, this is so important. The sharper your pencil the more grooves in the paper will be filled in and less of the white background showing through.
The Kum Pencil Sharpeners are the best bang for your buck. You can watch the pencil sharpen so you aren’t over sharpening and wasting any of your precious pigment and you won’t break it. The blades on these German made sharpeners are high quality plus this little guy fits easily into your coloring bag.
Click to add this to your Shopping Cart on Amazon – Kum 2-hole pencil sharpener. This one includes 3 sharpeners which are handy so you can have a sharpener in several locations.
If you are brand new to color/colour theory and shading, blending and highlighting with colored pencils then the books I recommend are by Jane Monk called “Tangled Treasures” or “Tangled Gardening“. They both have 52 illustrations that range from beginner to intermediate colorer (colorist) but the first 10 pages is filled with art instructions on shading and blending with several different mediums, color wheels and explanations and it’s really excellent for a beginning coloring book enthusiast (coloring book addict in training*) I’ve done a quick peek at those pages for you here.
Which coloring books are best for beginners?
The easy answer is .. the one’s you like to color in. but how do you figure that out? Dover Publications / Creative Haven coloring books are going to be the best bargain when you start out and are perfect for the beginning colorist. There are books from mandalas to vampires to choose from. You will quickly learn which of them are your favorites because you will be anxious to pick that book up again and again. For the most zen experience for some, they like easy lines and repetitive pictures that you don’t have to worry about blending and color selection. I personally prefer the detailed books from Johanna Basford, Hanna Karlzon and Daria Song. Guys can check out my recommendations here on “Coloring Books for Men”
If you are starting with any of Johanna Basford’s Coloring Books you are going to want some fine liners or gel pens for the tiny spots on her beautiful illustrations. I absolutely adore Gelly Roll Gel Pens. I have been using those since the scrapbooking days and they never disappoint. My favorites are the Glitters and Metallics. For some reason you can’t get all the glitter pens in one package.. you either have to get two packages or a pack of 16 with some duplicates.
Gelly Roll Glitter Pens aka Stardust Meteor
Gelly Roll Glitter Pens – Stardust Galaxy
Gelly Roll Metallic Pens – all 10 colors
If you also scrapbook or stamp (or you are surprising someone crafty with a gift they will adore) you might just want to go ahead and get this giant box of Sakura Gelly Rolls with every cool gel pen they make. The best thing about it is the case they come in… a divided plastic case that you can’t seem to find anywhere to buy on its own.
74 Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens – This Set Contains:
- Metallic – 14 different colored gel pens. They have a beautiful matte metallic sheen to them. Look lovely on black paper.
- Classic – 17 gel pens, 11 are medium point, 6 are fine point (duplicate colors). These are just normal gel ink colors, hence classic.
- Moonlight -20 gel pens, 10 are medium,10 are fine. Only 10 colors, so duplicates but you get the two line sizes. These are amazing neon and pastel colors that are super creamy and pop like wild on black paper. They also glow under black light. So cool! These are my favorite of all the Gelly Rolls.
- Stardust – 13 different colored glitter gel pens. Hands down the BEST glitter gel pens ever made. If you have a soft spot for glitter gel pens, you must add these to your collection. You can buy them separately from this set, which is great for just starting your future Gelly Roll addiction. These also look awesome on black paper.
- Silver & Gold Shadow – 10 gel pens, 5 silver shadow, 5 gold shadow. These are the pens from my childhood and are pure magic. When you write with them, your lettering transforms with the color of the pen (shadow) around the silver or gold. Just a note – after writing/drawing with this pen, you need to wait a few minutes for the magic to happen. Source: Amazon Review by DIY for Fun
Storage for your new hobby is fun to shop for as well, you might already have 1 (or 50) 31 bags in your closet and any of those with lots of pockets are perfect. I found this stackable interlocking storage.
That top blue part is removable too which is what I did and then I used that little bin to store my erasers and sharpers and other ephemera. Check out “How to Organize your Coloring Supplies” here.
New Guide to Coloring for Crafts, Adult Coloring Books, and Other Coloristas!: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for All Skill Levels!
How To Color Adult Coloring Books – Adult Coloring 101: Learn Easy Tips Today. How To Color For Adults, How To Color With Colored Pencils, Step By Step
I STRONGLY recommend downloading the Hobby Lobby & Michaels App to your smartphone. That way you always have the coupons with you. Being the clumsy person I am.. I ALWAY forget the coupons at home or in the other car or the other purse.. you get me, Right?
AMAZON PRIME – If you aren’t a member you should look into it.