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13 Adult Coloring Best Practices You Can Immediately Use

13 Adult Coloring Best Practices You Can Immediately Use

Adult Coloring Best Practices

Enhance your coloring experience with these 13 Adult Coloring best practices.

Adult coloring is a beautiful way to relax and quiet the mind, and I enjoy watching a coloring book come alive when I add color. The coloring experience is full of opportunities to explore different coloring book themes and combinations while learning new skills such as layering and blending, coloring with makers/gel pens, and so much more. Along the way, you learn best practices or choose to adapt and apply lessons you learn along the way.

In this article, I would like to share some of the adult coloring best practices I have learned and adopted into my adult coloring experience.

Adult Coloring Best Practices
Table of Contents

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How to More Fully Enjoy Adult Coloring

Adult coloring is a beautiful way to relax and quiet the mind. I enjoy watching a coloring book come alive when I add color. Here are a few of my adult coloring best practices. [TOC]

Slow Down and Enjoy the Experience

One of my favorite Adult Coloring best practices is to slow down and enjoy the experience. Coloring is meant to be enjoyed. Usually, there is no deadline for completion. Slow down and enjoy the experience. When I color, I like to take time and think about colorAdult Coloring Best Practices layering combinations, practice a coloring technique, and more.

Sometimes I might spend 15 minutes coloring and walk away for an hour or day to ponder how I want to color the topic. If I am coloring a new item like a leaf, flower, gem and more, I will take time to see if some videos/articles will give me ideas/instructions. If my hand gets tired, I want to rest. I learn and have fun with every piece I color. [TOC]

Take Coloring Breaks

One of the common side effects of coloring is finger and wrist fatigue. Fatigue can happen from holding the pencil tightly, pressing down hard, or coloring too long. Over time, this consistent pressure will adversely stain the joints where you may require some form of a support brace, ultimately leading to issues like caporal tunnel.

As soon as you start to feel a strain in your hand, it’s break time. One of the sure-fire ways to help reduce finger and wrist stress is to use a lighter grip and light strokes. Save putting pressure on your pencils when you need it, such as shading/burnishing with your colored pencil. [TOC]

Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

Coloring is an adventure. You are continually growing and learning. You will use new colors, techniques, and more when you start coloring book themes. It’s effortless to criticize our choice of colors or coloring technique or look at someone else’s work and feel less because it’s not as “pretty.”

Accept the fact that today you are the best you can be. You will learn new skills and make better decisions with each new coloring project. I remember my first month when I was coloring mandalas. My choice of colors was quite “clashing.” As time passed, I improved at choosing my color pallet and planning how to approach my coloring project. I see what the coloring community offers on YouTube if I need to learn or refresh a skill or technique. Be patient; enjoy coloring. [TOC]

Adding Skills to Adult Coloring Best Practices

It is the little things that can enhance and improve your coloring adventure. Consider the following adult coloring best practices. [TOC]

Learn to Google Free Coloring Pages

Among the simple but effective Adult coloring, best practices are learning how to Google search for free coloring pages that you can download and print out on your desired printer stock. Some of the Google searches I have used with success are as follows:

  • Free coloring book pages
  • Free coloring book pages in pdf format
  • Crayola free coloring pages
    (Name of your favorite coloring book artist) free coloring pages (e.g.,
  • Johanna Basford free coloring pages)
  • Free coloring pages printable
  • Free coloring pages (subject matter) (e.g., animals, Disney, jungle, mythical, dragons) (Example: Free coloring pages animals)
  • Free coloring pages for (age group) (e.g., preschool, kids, children, teens, adults) (Example: Free coloring pages for adults) [TOC]

Search YouTube for Coloring Tutorials

Search for coloring tutorials on YouTube. Adult coloring can be so enjoyable. You can always be learning. This is one of my favorite Adult Coloring best practices. When coloring a new theme, such as flowers, jungles, deserts, dragons, people, buildings, mandalas and more, they are colors, techniques, and tips that I want to learn.

What are some ideas for coloring a summer leave vs. fall leaf, creating the look of fur, choosing color combinations and so forth? I want to color a particular scene in my favorite coloring book using my Prismacolor Premier colored pencils. Is there a color alone that I can watch? Or perhaps you would like to combine gel pens/markers with colored pencils. There are thousands of YouTube videos covering any topic of coloring. These videos can be 5 minutes to 60 minutes in length. Since I started coloring, I have never stopped learning. The following are a few of the YouTube Channels I found when I started coloring. And I still enjoy their videos.


Improve the Coloring Experience

It is the little things that can enhance and improve your coloring adventure. The following are a few of my adult coloring best practices.

Insert a Paper Underneath Coloring PageAdult Coloring Best Practices Sharpening

Insert a blank sheet of paper underneath the page you are coloring. When starting a new page in a coloring book, slip a blank sheet of paper underneath the image. The piece will help protect the next coloring page from indentations made by coloring with a heavier pressure made from bleed-through. [TOC]

Sharpen Coloring Pencils Earlier

Sharpen pencils earlier during coloring. It is not uncommon when you are coloring to wear down the pencil core before sharpening. Experiment with sharpening to see if sharpening earlier will give you a better coloring experience. I like to sharpen colored pencils when I have used about 50% of the core or when I lose the edge when doing detailed work. [TOC]

Travel with Two Coloring Books

Take two or more coloring books when traveling. If you like to color when traveling, consider taking two coloring books. You can easily switch books if you get tired of one or want to share the coloring experience with others. [TOC]

Consider Purchasing Larger Pencil Set

Consider purchasing the largest pencil set from your brand of choice. Unlike professional or advanced artists, who know how to blend a few colors to make hundreds of new colors, I choose my color from the colored pencils I have purchased. I have learned that purchasing the most extensive set you can afford is best. Why? You have the range of colors to color any themed coloring book; if one color wears out, you will/may have other colors in the set you can use and more. [TOC]

How big a set should you buy? I suggest buying what your budget can afford. I like to get sets between 72 and 150 colored pencils. The smallest set I have purchased is 48 pencils, such as in Castle Arts (e.g., Metallic or Pastiletint sets). Sometimes you need multiple sets to get a full complement of pencils like in Black Widow sets (e.g., Black Window, Cobra, Scorpion, Monarch, Dragon or Skin Tones). [TOC]

Swatch Your Colored Pencils

One of the most essential Adult Coloring best practices is to take the time to swatch the media (e.g., colored pencils, markers, gel pens).Adult Coloring Best Practices Swatching By swatching your colors, you can get the actual color of the pencil cores. All colored pencils provide the color of the pencils by coloring on the barrel or end.

These colors, however, are seldom the exact color of the pencil core. How often have you been searching for the right color of green? By swatching, you can see the slight variations. I rarely finish coloring a page from my coloring book in one setting. When I returned, the swatch made it easy quickly identify the color I was using. You will save a lot of time by swatching. See the article “Free Color Pencil Swatch Charts for Adult Coloring (Detailed)” and download a free swatching form. [TOC]

Build Layers Slowly

As a beginner, I would try to build layers by pressing a little more complicated and forcing my color, and the look was uneven and unsatisfying dull. Be patient when building layers. Put down one layer of pigment at a time until you have the look you desire. This will give you control and help you achieve the vibrancy of your colored pencils. There are so many ways to layer for different applications. The coloring community is blessed to have artists and colorists share their talents on YouTube. Take time out and see what you can learn. [TOC]

Importance of Testing

In coloring, I am constantly learning and growing. We spend a lot of time testing, and we test coloring pallet combinations, types of paper, coloring techniques and more. The following are two simple adult coloring best practices I use repeatedly. [TOC]

Test Markers and Gel Pens for Bleeding

Test Markers/gel pens for signs of bleeding in a coloring book. Before you start using markers or gel pens in a coloring book, it is essential to check to make sure that you are not getting any bleeding or shadow through the page. Find a blank page at the end of the coloring book.

Do a test patch to see if your markers/pens and hand pressure are suitable for the book. What do you see? The bleeding/shadow will penetrate the paper and destroy one or more pages. This can be especially a problem when the coloring pages are double-sided. Consider searching for markers and gel pens that do not bleed through paper. [TOC]

Test Colored Pencils Before Buying

Touch, feel, and test-colored pencils before you buy. Before purchasing a set of colored pencils, you will need time to touch, feel, and use the pencils before making the final decision.

Why? You will spend many beautiful hours coloring and bringing to life pages in a coloring book. The last thing you want to do is make a wrong choice that will give you a coloring experience you won’t enjoy. I usually read and view colored pencil reviews that help me narrow down the pencils I think I want. [TOC]

But before I make the decision, I want to take the colored pencils for a test drive. You can visit a local art store or place where pencils are sold and touch and feel the pencils. If the coloring pencils I want to purchase a smaller set of 6 or 12 colored pencils, I will order the pencils to test the coloring experience. Take time to test, and you will be more likely to find a suitable colored pencil set.

Suppose I am considering expensive colored pencil sets with open stock (the ability to buy pencils when one is exhausted) like Caran d’Ache Pablos or Faber Castel Polychromos. In that case, I will order 2-5 pencils to test. [TOC]

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We love adult coloring. Whether you are just beginning or becoming an experienced colorist, the mission of Coloring Butterfly is to share our knowledge, passion and skills with you through reviews, tips & tricks, tutorials and more.

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