Tools and Tips Make You an Adult Coloring Expert

Posted by on Jan 03, 2022

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The tools you need for adult coloring are a little more complex than a box of Crayolas with a sharpener on the back. Colorists who want to take their pages to the next level have to work with shading, color coordination and surgical erasing. Of course if you’re just doing coloring to destress, keep in mind not all of these materials and tips are necessary, but many of them are useful if you not only want to be a better colorist, but also create original drawings. 

When considering your cooling tools, you want to address decide how detailed you want your coloring to be. Are you happy filling in flat colors or do you want to get more detailed with shading and gradients? The more shading and gradient work you do, the larger amount of pencils, pens of markers you’ll probably want to get.

While some people get really into using unique coloring supplies, such as glitter pens or a particular brand of paint, the most important thing is that you get the medium you like best. Research the top coloring supplies for adults to find which ones you prefer, and stock up when you find your favorites.


Books: There are plenty of great adult coloring books, so don’t feel limited by what you can find at your local bookstore or library. Many of the best coloring books for adults are available as PDF downloads and can be printed off at home. We even have some color book pages on CraftFoxes you can try. 

Pencil Grips can be great to keep you from getting too many calluses and bumps on your fingers, and wearing out your knuckles. They’re just rubber cylinders that fit over the colored pencils. You can even get ergonomic ones that shape to your fingers. 

Erasers come in various shapes and sizes. The pencil tip ones you used in school can still come in handy. You may need slightly better ones to get more specific lines, and they come in rectangles, squares and parallelograms. A pen-shaped eraser that allows you to push out a fresh tip can be great for spot cleaning.

A Paintbrush can be useful for colorers who want to avoid pushing pencil flecks and eraser shreds into the paper. Instead of wiping with your hand, you brush the pieces away. 

Pencil sharpeners can be cheap or high quality. Often a quality metal one will shave the pencils in a way that assures the tips last longer and break less. 

Blending pencils are colorless tools great for smoothing out the lines and combining colors so the shadows and accents appear more natural. Blending is a huge topic and there are several worthy videos on the subject. 

Art Markers are often alcohol based with two tips — one thick and wide and the other thin and pointy. These range in price quite a bit and you can easily spend hundreds on a semi-professional or professional set. Felt tip pens like these are often the choice for larger areas since they can put a lot of ink on the page, if desired. 

Blending Pens: Similar to blending pencils, specific art markers are made for blending two colors together or creating a gradient between them. Gel Pens can range from low-cost types that may be just good enough all the way up to nicer pens that will keep coloring for months. Unlike art markers, gel pens are usually water based. They also usually require less effort than colored pencils or art markers since their output tends to be even and uniform. Be mindful that some gel pens are not made for coloring. Packs of black pens are targeted at diarists and may take a longer than expected time to dry.


If you’re looking for some tutorials to help you get started with adult coloring, there are plenty of great ones available online. The following ideas were inspired by Maggie Enterrios who created “Flowerscape: A Botanical Coloring Book.”

Trace outlines with a gel pen: If you start your coloring by retracing the lines on the coloring page with a fine tip gel pen, the finishing image will appear more hand drawn and distinctive. Colors like gold can make the finished image look like gold foiling. 

Monochromatic coloring: Use a small set of pens that ease from white to black, including a few grays. In the above video, Maggie demonstrates how create a shading effect with different tones that has depth and style. 

Create a colored orb: Trace a glass on top of a coloring page and color only inside of the circle to add a distinctive look to your page. Maggie offers details in how to create a distinctive page.

Tips on creating textures from illustrator Sarah Renae Clark.

Blend in shading around dark lines
to create more depth. Shading and blending can also be used to add texture on subjects such as leaves. 

Create a texture on lettering with a gradient that gently shifts from a light color to a darker one.

Vary the weight of your coloring to create shades. Fill in lighter gradients with darker, complementary colors to create depth.

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