( Previously posted - mygrandmasplace.com)
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Whenever my grandkids visit, I always include some art or craft activity as part of our fun together... yes… sometimes even for my grandsons. Though if your boys are like mine, it’s full-on action and adventure that fills their hearts and minds.
But the girls, particularly, like to paint and colour. Little Koti says, “When I know I’m going to colour in, my tummy jumps up and down cos it’s happy.”
When we colour in together, it’s something we all enjoy. It's a simple activity but it creates a special time, a moment that matters with my grandkids. It’s amazing, too, what deep and meaningful conversations happen when we spend time colouring. “Why do bees buzz?” “Why don’t I have a tail like a pony?” “Why are you scared of spiders?” (What sane person isn’t? )
If you also enjoy colouring, the following simple techniques will have you colouring like a pro.
Regardless of the technique you use, colouring is very therapeutic. In fact, some experts suggest that this activity provides the “colourer” with the same relaxing benefits as meditation or yoga. In addition, colouring takes you back to your childhood.
What could be better than that?
Colouring involves creativity.
That’s where technique becomes important. The following information covers five different areas of the craft. This is, by no means, a complete tutorial. But, it’s enough information to get you started. And you'll quickly discover that these techniques will enable you to create realistic colouring results.
Let the learning begin! :)
You have a few choices when it comes to colouring tools. They include:
And, not every medium works with every technique. Markers work better with some things and crayons and coloured pencils work better with others. The best thing to do is have fun and experiment. Chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results. You'll soon be colouring like a pro.
There are several things you can use to help you blend colours. All of them are very inexpensive. Here are a few of them:
2. Shading Techniques
Shading techniques typically work better with coloured pencils, like Prismacolor pencils. One of the most successful ways to practice is to use two contrasting colours.
Use the first colour to shade from left to right. Use the second colour to shade in the opposite direction. Practice blending the colours together, in the middle.
The way you hold the pencil makes a difference.
Position it so that most of the tip is in contact with the paper, which makes the colour smoother and helps to reduce the possibility of pencil lines. This is accomplished by holding the pencil somewhat sideways.
Instead of using white and black to do any shadowing it’s better to use colours like dark blue and purple for the dark colours. Use light yellows, for the highlights.
Try to avoid rubbing the colours, in an effort to create the shading you desire. This has a tendency to smear everything together.
3. Doodling (Your Own Image)
When you’re in an artistic mood and there’s no colouring book in sight, why not doodle?
Doodling is actually a great way to improve your artistic skills. The more you relax and let your hand do most of the work, you’re on your way to being a “master doodler.”
Learning to doodle is a lot of fun. You can doodle almost anything, even your own image. It’s probably best to start with basic tools like pencils, inexpensive markers or ballpoint pens. Once you start to get the hang of it, you can always graduate to more expensive supplies, including pastels, chalk and paint.
Doodling, as a beneficial pastime, is probably much more popular than you think. Famous presidents, authors and celebrities all admit to doodling, on a regular basis.
For most people, faces are harder to doodle than flowers, animals and other objects. Interpreting your finished doodle depends on whether you draw yourself or someone else. A simple round face indicates you’re probably a happy person. A brooding expression might mean you’re not particularly sociable.
If you’re a beginner, it’s good to practice drawing the same face with different expressions. This way you end up with a more realistic shape, to refer to in the future. If you’re doodling yourself, look into a mirror or at one of your pictures.
When you’re comfortable with the shape of the face, practice drawing features. Challenge yourself to draw an entire page of eyes, noses, etc. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn.
If you don’t want to draw yourself, try doodling a loved one or famous celebrity. You can even get a little crazy and try your hand at a caricature. There’s nothing wrong with a little more silliness in the world!
4. Gel Pen Techniques with Shading
Many adult colouring fanatics love using get pens to pull off several fun techniques and pretty decent shading. One big benefit of using this type of pen is the fact that the tip stays the same size. It doesn’t change shape like a crayon or coloured pencil. Here are two popular gel pen techniques to consider:
Hatching is easy-peasy. It consists of a bunch of parallel lines or strokes, which results in a uniformed look. You can use multiple colors and angle the lines any direction you’d like. Crisscrossing the lines, makes it even more interesting.
Dot, dots and more DOTS! That’s stippling in a nutshell. Easily change the texture of your drawing by adding some areas of stippling and it's easy with a gel pen.
It’s entirely possible to achieve shading techniques with a gel pen. Yay! However, it does take practice on your part and the blending pen of your choice.
A blending pen, which comes with two tips, is filled with clear fluid. When you draw over a colour, with the pen, that colour blends into the colour or colours next to it. Cleaning the pen is easy. Simply scribble on a piece of paper, until the pen runs clear.
Most artists recommend that you use the gel pens nearest to the outlines of the picture you’re colouring. Then, use the blender pen to draw the colour from the outline to the middle of the section you’re working on.
5. Coloured Pencils 101 – Mixing and Layering
If you’ve never coloured before or haven’t coloured in what seems like a million years, you probably want to start out with the basics and work your way up to “Colour Maestro.”
Coloured pencils are great for this. They’re available a rainbow of colours and a variety of price points, starting out at just a few dollars. The overall cost depends on the brand and quality you prefer.
One of the first rules of basic mixing and layering is practice. It makes sense, right? Like almost everything else, the more you practice, the better you get.
For best results, keep your pencils sharp. This makes it much easier to fill in small areas. Remember, not press too hard. The goal is to build up colour and not continuously break the tip of the pencil.
One important secret of successful layering and blending is colouring on the right texture of paper. You want something with a fine texture, as opposed to a smooth surface. The texture holds the pencil, which allows you to add multiple layers of colour.
The second part of good layering has to do with the colours you choose. Always use complementary colours when blending to create shadows. It’s recommended you never use a black pencil for shading. Doing so, makes the shading look dull and flat.
Complementary colours are those that are situated on opposite sides of the colour wheel… shades of violet-blue and yellow, orange-red and cyan, green and magenta, etc. Always start out with a light color. If you start with a dark one, you won’t be able to see the lighter one.
Because they layer so well, coloured pencils are one of the most preferred colouring tools.
It’s not uncommon to apply three to five different layers, to create a whole NEW colour. How cool is that?
In case you’re not aware, these pencils are waxy. When you press too hard, your colours end up shiny. If this happens, you won’t be able to build up layers. Use even strokes and a light to medium touch.
Adult-related colouring certainly isn’t anything new. In fact, Psychiatrist Carl Jung, began prescribing “colouring therapy” to his patients in the early 1900s. The calming effect (of this activity) stems from temporarily occupying the logical part of the brain, involved with the fear response. In other words, you’re giving your amygdala nuclei a rest.
As the nationwide trend continues to grow, adult colouring books are popping up all over the place including high-end department stores and catalogues. Small town artists are making names for themselves and earning extra income, at the same time.
Have you ever heard of a “colouring club?” Picture yourself relaxing with a bunch of friends, enjoying yummy food and drinks and colouring the picture of your choice. Yes, new groups are forming every week. No professional art experience required.
This is the tip of the iceberg, in regard to the wonderful and expanding world of adult colouring. As you can see, it’s never really been a “kids only” activity… even though many grown-ups secretly disagree.
You can find more inspiration and colouring-in training videos below to add to your new skills.
Remember, if you’re not sure colouring is for you, there’s absolutely no harm giving it a try. Chances are, not only will it be enjoyable, it’ll be addicting too! Try it with your kids.
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Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.