Over the past few years, and particularly during the pandemic, many adults have rediscovered the joy of coloring. Whether it’s floral designs, witty sayings, animals, or landscapes, we’ve realized how relaxing and theraputic it can be to apply color to a page. Coloring books designed for grownups abound, and there are apps that even let you color digitally. It’s a way to de-stress and to express creativity at the same time. Today, I want to offer three ideas for taking coloring to the next level artistically. I enjoy all three, and I hope you will too! Check out the video below, or scroll down for more.
Using Markers as Watercolor Paints
non-absorbent surface (ie: something laminated or a plastic sandwich bag)
paintbrush and water OR Aqua Pen
Instead of coloring normally with colored pencils or markers, why not give your pictures a gorgeous watercolor effect? There’s no need to buy special paints, we’re going to use your existing markers instead! Any water-based marker will work; just scribble the marker onto a non-absorbent surface like a plastic bag. Instead of being absorbed, the ink will sit on top, allowing you to pick it up and use it with your paintbrush. Dip your wet brush/Aqua Pen into the ink, then use the brush to “paint” inside the lines of your picture. Want to blend colors? You can dip the brush into two or more colors of ink before painting with it. This technique works best on watercolor paper, bristol board, or other multi-surface papers. Many coloring book pages are thick and able to absorb a bit of water, but you may want to test a small area before you begin.
Paint by Number Projects
a Paint by Number kit (includes printed canvas, paints, instructions, and small brushes)
Speaking of a painted effect, why not try a grown-up paint by number? There are all kinds of kits available that contain everything you need to paint a beautiful piece of home decor! The kits include a large piece of canvas with a design printed on it, complete with numbers to guide you as you fill in the color. There are also small paintbrushes and all of the paint you need, numbered to correspond with the printed guide. These can take anywhere from a week to a month to complete, then when you’re finished, you can frame and hang them in your home. I’ve done multiple pictures from Masterpiece by Numbers, and absolutely love using them all around the house (I even have one in the powder room). Most of mine are beach scenes, but there are lots of other options to choose from too. Need to keep the kids busy? Older kiddos can help with these or do a picture of their own.
Draw, Then Color Your Own Designs
What could be more fun than coloring in an existing picture? Creating your own! Take the next step in your creative journey by learning a few simple doodles and even some hand lettering to go with them. A great place to start is with my Summer Doodles and my Hand Lettering for Beginners tutorials! Want more? Check out my books, like Hand Lettering for Relaxation, which are full of easy-to-draw embellishments and also contain borders you can color, too.
All three of these ideas are a great way for adults who enjoy coloring to create exciting new projects, and they can also be fun for kids as well. You can even combine them; for example, start by drawing your own doodle, then color it in using the watercolor marker technique! No matter what variation you try, I hope you find it relaxing and that you enjoy expressing your creativity through color. I’d love to see what you create. If you’re not already a member of the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook Group, I hope you’ll join us there and share photos of your latest projects so we can all be inspired. See you there!