Coloring Supply Recommendations for Seniors
Because arthritis and reduced vision often are issues for seniors or anyone with physical or vision disabilities, we recommend using coloring materials that are easy to get color out of without pressing too hard. Many of the senior friends in my coloring group seem to prefer gel pens and markers over colored pencils.
Best Markers for Seniors
My favorite non-bleeding marker to use in coloring books are the Artist Quality Faber Castell Pitt Pens.
There is a gift box set of the BIG Brush Pitt Pen Markers with 15 colors. It says it’s for stampers but these are Pitt Pens at a decent price. These would be really nice for seniors with arthritis because of the bigger size barrel.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
I asked for feedback from everyone and have had a few people let me know they loved using Tombow Dual Brush Pens. Their flexible brush tip for large areas and the fine tip work wonderfully for those with pain, stiffness or weakness in their hands. Each set comes with a colorless blender which works to fade out colors and to blend two of them together. I have some of those and haven’t tried them in my books yet! I do use the Tombow Brush Pens in flesh tones in my mixed media girls quite a bit.
There’s a set of every color which is fabulous. I’ve bought smaller sets along the way and then filled in with purchases of single colors in the fancy art stores. I’m sure I would have saved a ton of money if I’d just have ponied up and bought this set to start with.
Even though the picture shows them upright, please store horizontally to get the best performance and life in your markers. These are water-based so don’t bleed through the paper like Copics or other alcohol markers but I’d still take care and test them on the test pages at the front or back of your book before I trusted any marker completely.
Click to order the full set of Tombow Dual Brush Pens Amazon US, UK or Canada. Unfortunately, Michaels doesn’t sell this big pack.
Tombow offers several options for smaller sets so you can try them out. Many of the colors are quite bright so to test to see what you like I’d recommend a set of the pastel or skin tone markers as well as a brighter one.
The other option for non-bleeding markers is these Staedtler’s recommended by Johanna Basford.
Triplus Staedtler Fine Line Markers – I adore these markers and usually have them in my coloring bag. The 24 pack has a cool stand-up case which is perfect if you like to take your coloring with you.
- Triplus Staedtler Fine Line Pens 36 Colors US
- Triplus Staedler Fine Line Pens 36 Colors UK
- Triplus Staedler Fine Line Pens 36 Colors Canada
This is the smaller Staedtler selection of colors with the portable stand-up case.
If you are coloring on one-sided paper then good old Crayola Supertips are perfect and you can’t beat that price point for 100 gorgeous colors. They DO bleed but if you just put a scratch piece of paper behind your picture, you will be fine.
Gel Pens for Coloring
Gel pens, particularly the glitter and metallic ones are also a favorite because they give such vibrant color with little effort. Gelly Rolls are still my favorite of all that I’ve used, they are just consistently great and last for years! I had some stashed in my scrapbooking supplies from the 90’s and they still write! I even have some colors that aren’t available anymore so win/win for me.
Gelly Roll Gel Pens
Sakura’s Gelly Roll Glitter Pens come in several different types of Gel Pens for Coloring
- Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Meteor Pen Set Metallic silver, marine, copper, pink, green and blue.
Click to Order Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- Sakura Stardust Galaxy Set which includes: rose, sky, lime, purple, golden and red.
Click to Order Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- Metallic Gel Pens -1.0 Metallic: 2 Gold, Silver, Copper, Blue, Purple, Pink, Green, Teal, and Red
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- White Gelly Rolls – These are really fun to use for special effects over your pencils or to highlight or dot however we actually prefer the Signo White Gel Pens for that purpose.
- Clear Glitter Gelly Roll Pens – Perhaps our favorite of them all is the clear glitter because you can apply it over the top of the pencil and some markers to get any color of glitter you want. Very effective for fairy wings or crystals.
Click to order: Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- Classic Gelly Roll Pens
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- 75 piece Gelly Roll Artists Collection of Pens. Of course, the granddaddy and the best value, if you are splurging, is this pack with all of the pen!
You can explore more about using gel pens including tutorials here.
Best Colored Pencils for Seniors
If you want to use colored pencils for shading I do strongly recommend artist quality pencils because getting the pigment out of the stick is just SO much easier. I love my Prismacolors and my Polychromos so really it’s a matter of preference of more waxy or more oily, lightfast ratings and the price point. My very favorite budget pencil that although it isn’t artist quality but gives fabulous results is Marco Raffine. If the budget allows the very best pencil I’ve ever used in a coloring book are the Caran D’Ache Pablo colored pencils. They really are a dream, very smooth even application and if you want to color pictures for your kids or grandkids to enjoy for years to come, these beauties have a very high lightfast rating!
- Caran D’Ache Pablo Colored Pencils Amazon US, UK or Canada
- Faber Castell Polychromos Amazon US UK Canada
- Prismacolor Colored Pencils Amazon US UK Canada
- Marco Raffine Colored Pencils Amazon US UK Canada
Coloring Tools for Senior
To help with sharpening the pencils which can be hard on your hand after an injury or if you have arthritis, an electric sharpener can really make or break this hobby for you.
Derwent Battery-Operated Eraser would be great if you erase a lot and could save your hands. It works really well for erasing pastel backgrounds or if you want to lighten up an area for a highlight. You can order refills here: Derwent Battery Eraser refills
I recently ordered this pretty aqua sharpener that is just for colored pencils. It has three different sharpening settings and has batteries so that you can take it with you if you color with friends or at the coffee shop and don’t have a plug handy as well as being USB compatible to plug into your laptop or other device.
Pencil grips that are easier to grasp are often a godsend to people with gripping weakness or pain.
Many members of our coloring group recommend a few different types.
Friendly Swede has different levels of grip and different sizes.
FRIENDLY DESIGN: Egg-shaped for a comfortable fit in your hands. Made of skin-safe thermoplastic rubber (TRP). Three size options – for anyone in the family! Extra Small: 2”x1.3” Small: 2.5″ x 1.75″ Large: 3.0″ x 2.2″. Less messy than Therapy Putty. Easy to clean from dust and dirt.
PERFECT FOR: Preventing tension, increasing limberness and alleviating joint pain. Great stress relief toys for adults and kids. Perfect occupational distraction for quitting smoking. Grip muscle training for beginner lifters.
EXERCISE GUIDE: Scroll down on the Amazon listing for handgrip exercise ideas! Always consult with your physician before beginning any physical exercise program for rehabilitation purposes.
“Helping Adult Hands The Pencil Grip is widely used by the millions of Americans diagnosed with hand health issues like Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tremors, and a general lack of strength. The Arthritis Foundation recognized The Pencil Grip for ‘helping to improve the quality of life of the millions of Americans with arthritis. “
Lighting aids for Coloring Books
Since vision issues are pretty common as we age (Mine started at 45!) having better lighting while you color will really help with the outcome and your happiness while coloring.
I use my lap desk every day for work, coloring, playing games on my phone, you name it. It also has a retractable LED light for working on tiny details.
Click to Order Amazon US, UK or Canada
If you have an idea that I haven’t included please let me know in the comments below or on social media.