It should be simple, right? Just pick up a book and start coloring! 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 at 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! 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. 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
- Amazon – Crayola Colored Pencils 64 Pack
- Walmart – Crayola Colored Pencils 36 Pack
- Amazon – Crayola Colored Pencils 36 Pack
One step up from Crayola but still a wonderful value would be the Marco Raffine pencils. Marco Raffine Colored Pencils are an amazing value for your money.
Better Colored Pencils
- Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils 150 colors – every color they make including a few neons and metallics. I wish the packaging was nicer for the biggest purchase but it’s a cardboard box that isn’t handy for coloring. I’ve removed them all and have each color family in a mason jar. They look pretty that way too.
- CLICK to Order US UK Canada At Blicks
- Prismacolor Premier Soft Core 72 Colored Pencils At Blicks
- Prismacolor 48 Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils At Blicks
At the top of the list are the beloved Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils. They are not THE most expensive but they are near the top. These pencils are creamy, smooth, blend easily, layer forever and will give you a gorgeous result with practice and patience if you are new to this skill. The largest tin has 120 luscious colors including 3 metallic pencils.
- Click to Order Faber Castell Polychromos set of 120 Colored Pencils – Blicks Art Supply
- Faber Castell Polychromos set of 36 Colored Pencils – Blicks Art Supply
- Faber Castell Polychromos set of 60 Colored Pencils – Blicks Art Supply
- Faber Castell Trio Pencil Sharpener
- Faber Castell Dual Metal Sharpener
- Polychromos Colored Pencils UK
- Polychromos Colored Pencils Canada
Secret Weapon of Colorists.. ssshhhhh!!
Blending Pencils! Blending pencils are a colorless pencil that helps beginners blend their colors together. They push the pigment into the paper for more intense coverage. 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 – (my personal favorite)
- Derwent Blending Pencil
- Caran D’ache 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. You can also dip your pencil in the oil or in vaseline. 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. We know and probably have some baby oil sitting in the house. Give it a try when you are feeling adventurous.
You can color them in with 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 eyeshadow 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. 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 just starting to explore 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). The first 10 pages is filled with art instructions on shading and blending with several different mediums, color wheel and explanations. 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 ones 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, find what YOU love. For some, books with easy lines and repetitive pictures, you don’t have to worry about blending and color selection. I personally prefer the detailed books by Johanna Basford, Hanna Karlzon, and Daria Song. Guys can check out my recommendations here on “Coloring Books for Men“
My Favorite Gel Pens
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 or the 90s 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.
- Stardust Meteor Gelly Roll Glitter Pens
- Stardust Galaxy Gelly Roll Glitter Pens – At Blicks Art
- Gelly Roll Metallic Pens – all 10 colors – At Blicks
- Gelly Roll Pens by Sakura at Blicks
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.
- Classic – 17 gel pens, 11 are medium point, 6 are fine point
- Moonlight -20 gel pens, 10 are medium,10 are fine. 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.
- 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 New Colorists
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 and love it for pen sorting.
That top blue part is removable too which is what I did. Then I used that little bin to store my erasers and sharpers and other ephemera.
My favorite storage for my pencils are these cute pencils wraps. As you can see they come in lots of fabrics and are handy to tuck in your bag. My cats also really love the strings. Cats adore coloring, there are so many things to knock off and chew on!
Learn Easy Tips Today. How To Color For Adults, How To Color With Colored Pencils, Step By Step
Are you ready for nicer colored pencils?
- Check out my exhaustive article on Colored Pencils for the Coloring Book Addict in you right here
- Best Markers For Adult Coloring Books
- Best Gel Pens for Adult Coloring
- Background Supplies for Coloring Books
- Advanced: Watercolor in Coloring Books
- White Coloring Tips
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