Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year and New Year Resolutions/Goals

Happy New Year from the cold environs of New York City. After taking a break from blogging after the Coloring Across America Tour, I have returned today to share my new year's resolutions/goals  with you.

This year is going to be dedicated to Coloring. I will taking on a lot more coloring challenges this year. I will also be participating in Swaps and sending out more snail mail with more postcards and penpals. I also want to continue to develop better lettering styles.

Here are my specific goals this year:

  • I want to finishing coloring the entire Nature Escapes Coloring Book by Crayola. I will share each image as it is complete. You can following the pages by viewing the label CrayolaNatureEscapes
  • I plan on coloring each day and I plan on coloring in my Coloring 2018 Calendar (label DailyColoring).
  • I also plan on completing each week of The Mindfulness Coloring Engagement Calendar 2018 by Emma Farrarons. I will experiment and evaluate with different media but will primarily color with Copic Markers (label WeeklyColoring).
  • I hope to illustrate a daily quote from the book 365 Days of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I have tried to do a daily motivation quote challenge but would spend so much time searching for quotes that I like that I would have little time for lettering. I ran across this book at Target and my hopes were answered. I don't know if I will post these every day. I might do a consolidation post at the end of each week. I have a backup source called Advice from my 80-year-old self by Susan O'Malley if I need extra quotes (label DailyQuotes). 
  • Finally, I have accepted the challenge from Lin-Manuel Miranda to join his book club and read The Complete Shakespeare during 2018. We will have monthly reading assignments. I plan to keep my reading assignments, thoughts, and comments in my Hobonichi planner (label AYearWithShakespeare).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Day Twenty Two

This is the last coloring assignment for the Coloring Across America Tour. This is the third installment from the Best Adult Coloring Book. The final installment is done with colored pencils. The smooth finish to this paper makes the colored pencils glide across the page and allows colors to be easily layered. As I mentioned previously, I like the way the artists provide open space so that additional designs can be added.

The above image shows a completed page as designed. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. I then decided to add my own designs.

Here is the final result and I very happy with the total page.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Day Twenty One

Merry Christmas to those who observe. As you read this, I am barreling my way home to NYC on the Christmas Train. I left at 7:00 AM from New Orleans. I had to wake up at 4:00 AM to get to get to the train station by 5:00 AM.

I wanted to do  something special for Christmas so I chose this Christmas tree from the Deck the Halls Coloring Book. If you remember, I colored a page with colored pencils here and a page with markers here

I chose to work with markers again. I wish that I had extra fine tip markers or brush markers for this page. The dome tip markers made this a little sloppy. Overall, I am pleased with the colors chosen.

Thanks for following along and Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Day Twenty

Today’s coloring assignment is the second installment from the book Best Adult Coloring Book. Today I wanted to see how crayons would work on this smoother paper. The waxier content of the formula tends to glop on the smoother paper. The patterns are easier to color because they are larger in design.

This was a fun page to color because I enjoyed the design. I will be excited to see how the paper does with a different brand of crayon. Happy Christmas Eve and be sure to leave some cookies for Santa. Tomorrow, I will be on the Christmas Train from New Orleans to New York City. The third installment from this book will appear on December 26.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Day Nineteen

Today’s coloring assignment is from a new book that I found on Amazon. It is not a holiday themed coloring book but I was attracted to the title: Best Adult Coloring Book. The coloring pages are nine inches square. Also there are some double spreads that cover two complete pages. The paper is a little smooth so I anticipate that it will do well with markers. 

I like the graphic design of the book because the illustrations have a lot of open space that you can add your own design if you choose. Also, the images aren’t over designed so there is a lot of space to color.

As you can see the Crayola markers can get streaky when a lot of space is coveted. I enjoyed coloring this page because of the big bold design. I am very interested to see how the other media do on these pages.

Tomorrow the tour continues as I travel to New Orleans.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Day Eighteen

Today’s coloring assignment is from a collection of coloring postcards called Winter Dreams. I purchased my copy from Amazon. I liked the designs although some of them are microdesigned in that there are a lot of little details that can be colored or overlooked. The paper is of a nice quality and holds ink well but probably is best suited for colored pencils. I am going to try and see how my Copic markers do when I return home. The cards are a larger postcard and measure 5 inches by 7 inches. I like the theme because it is holiday related without being in your face about it. They also can be appropriate to send for Winter Solstice and New Years.

I ultimately decided to use colored pencil after my marker fail (see and explained below). With colored pencil, the color spreads nicely on the paper. More importantly, the paper doesn’t become so saturated that colors can be layered. If you look at the bird above, the blue grey of the head was the base color of the entire bird. All of the other colors on the body were layered on top of that base color. For the tail feathers, a fuchsia color was laid down and then red was layered on top of it. I am still trying to solve the background dilemma that I face when I am presented with so much open space. I don’t know if it is the Crayola brand of pencils or my technique that I don’t like.

Well—they all can’t be masterpieces. I started today’s assignment with a different card. Because of the high quality of the paper, I was excited to try and color this set with markers. Because of the rag content of the paper, the color gets easily absorbed into the paper. While I liked the color variation acheived with the berries, when I tried to layer color on the bird it just didn’t work. The bottom layer of color gets so absorbed into the paper that when the second color is used, it simply does not blend. I will try and color blend on blending paper and then apply it to the postcard in a future attempt. I wam happy to say that the markers did not bleed onto the reverse side of the postcard.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Day Seventeen

Today’s coloring assignment is the third installment of the book The Big Book of Christmas Color Book. Previously the pages were colored with crayon and marker. Today’s page is done with colored pencil. The high rag content of the paper makes this an easy page to color with pencils. The color spreads easily but does not cover the entire area. When you crosshatch the color, it still does not completely cover the page.

For this book, the most successful medium was the page with markers and the second most suggested was crayon. The least successful was the colored pencil. This is a great book with a variety of easier to color images.

Marker Page

Crayon Page

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Day Sixteen

Today’s coloring assignment comes from the same book as yesterday’s assignment but I wanted to use markers to see how well they would perform. I was concerned that the porous nature of the paper would cause the ink to feather or bleed. Because of the rag content of the paper, it becomes very absorbant and receives a lot of ink. The colors are very vibrant though. The inks do bleed to the reverse side so I would definitely use a coloring page below the page you are coloring.

For this geometric pattern, I chose three different colors for each tree. One color was used for each row and after the third row was completed, the sequence was repeated until the tree was done.

I was very pleased with the way this page turned out. This is the last coloring page from San Antonio.  The next city is Houston where I will spend several days with family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Day Fifteen

Today's coloring assignment comes from the train trip from Dallas to San Antonio. This is a new coloring book that I found on Amazon. it contains a variety of illustration styles but I was attracted to the geometric patterns that I found inside. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of paper. This paper has a higher rag content which makes it have a more porous surface and is therefore less slick. Because of the paper, I immediately wanted to try crayon to see if it would allow an easier blending of color.

After choosing a color palette and design motifs, I simply applied color. Similar to previous assignments I decided to apply contrasting colors to the separate elements of the snowflake: purples for the foreground and blues for the background. I purposely separated each color and assigned it to a specific element.

I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with all of the blank space in the background. If I was at home, I would have created a plaid pattern with my Copic markers which allows for line variation. Similarly, I could have used Sharpie markers to the same effect.

Since I didn’t have those resources, I decided to create a different effect that I used to call the “quilt pattern.” I gridded off the background and applied colors in a random pattern. I chose a monochromatic scheme—in this case, sixteen shades of green. As I fisnished an adjoining diamond, Inwould blend that color with a previously colored block. I would continue to work in this fashion until all the diamonds were completed.

 This paper took crayon well and the color was very easy to apply and there wasn’t any waxy buildup that normally occurs with a smoother paper.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Day Fourteen

Today is the last page from the book Nature Escapes. It is one of my favorite images in the book. But the goal of today's assignment is simplicity. I wanted to see how the paper would interact with the crayons. Since the paper was fairly smooth I was afraid that the waxy crayon wouldn't fare very well. I layered six different colors to get the effect of the pink feathers. I started with a light pink wash over the entire bird body. I added highlights to individual feathers to try and add some dimension. The goal was to show how simple color washes could add interest for those who do not have the time or inclination to color every single component within an illustration. I wanted to show how adding a color wash could prove to be just as satisfying as some of the intricate coloring of previous examples.

As you can see, the neck was done with six layered colors. The body was done with two layered colors and another color for the dots. The beak was done with two separate colors that were layered. The top part was done with the light yellow first and the orange yellow layer on top. The bottom part of the beak was done with the same two colors in reverse. The frame was done with three separate colors that weren't layered. The background was done with a single color.

The point that I am trying to,illustrate is that you don't have to have a bunch of supplies or a bunch of time to complete these pages. The goal of these books is for you to sit down, relax and enjoy coloring.

In closing, because of the quality of paper, I think the most effective medium is markers. I will test my Copic markers when I return home and will give you another assessment. The second most effective medium is colored pencil. I can't wait to try to see how blending solution will affect the blending of colors. Finally, the least effective medium is crayon. I don't know if it is the new Crayola formula that is causing problems but I will test the pages with a different brand to see if they are more effective.

When you read this, I will be on my way to San Antonio, Texas.

Nature Escapes and markers

Nature Escapes and colored pencils

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Day Thirteen

Today’s coloring assignment is a continuation from the coloring book Nature Escapes. For page two, I wanted to see how colored pencils worked with the paper. I am really pleased with the way this turned out. I colored the honeycomb pattern first and I layered theee colors to achieve the effect. Once I worked out the color palette and the patterns I wanted to highlight, the rest was simply coloring by number.

Tomorrow I will do the third in the series and will color with crayons.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Day Twelve

Today's coloring assignment comes from the Crayola coloring book called Nature Escapes. This book has a very special place in my heart. I used the Crayola Supertips markers for this. I like the pattern because you can be as detailed as you like with applying color. I chose a color palette for repeating themes and then just filled in. Because these markers don't blend or layer well, I will very anxiously wait until I can use my Copic markers.

I am very happy with the way this turned out. Some of the colors are subtle--like the body of the turtle--and some are pretty vivid (like the shell). For the water, I chose five different shades of blue and just rotated them in sequence until the background was completed.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Day Eleven

Today's coloring assignment is the final page from the three page spread I brought along from the book Christmas Adult Coloring Book as shown above.

This page is similar to the page I did with colored pencils. It is simply a page of ornament balls with different levels of designs. It is a rather simple page to color in that you can decide how complex a color palette to use, As you can see below, I chose from two colors to eight colors for each ornament.

I am getting used to the waxy nature of the new crayons and I am  starting to wonder if the waxy texture is because they are new. The colors seem to layer better once they have been used. I am anxious to see how my Caran d'Arche non-soluble crayons work on this paper.

I am happy with the way this turned out. I think the most successful treatment was the marker page, followed the the crayon page and then the colored pencil page. I will experiment on two more pages when I return home. I am really interested to see how my Copic markers and  other crayons work.

This is a very enjoyable book and contains different styles and levels of illustrations to color. Many of the designs are not overly complicated and those that are more complex can be simplified by limiting the color palette.

By the time you read this, I will be on the train and returning to Chicago for the second half of my trip where I take the trains South.

Colored Pencils Page

Markers Page

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Day Ten

Today's coloring assignment is a continuation of three pages from the Christmas Coloring Book above. Yesterday, I used colored pencils. Today, I used markers and tomorrow I plan on using crayons.

I think markers work much better on this paper. The paper is smooth so the ink doesn't feather and stays in place. There is some bleed through on the reverse but since these are single sided images that shouldn't be a problem.

If you have been following along, you know my affinity of geometric patterns and this snowflake represents exactly what I love about this type of image. You an add as much or little color as you want. You can pick a pattern and replicate across the image or just color randomly. As you can see, I treated this image as two different six sided snowflakes. The foreground starts on the north-south axis. The background is just to the right of the north axis.

I am really pleased with the way this turned out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Day Nine

This is another book that I found on Amazon. Inchose three examples from this book based on their simplicity. I decided to use colored pencils for this particular page.

The above is the before image. Blogger aeems to be acting up so this will be a shorter blog post until I can figure what is going on.

Overall I am very happy with the way it turned out. I would have changed a couple of color choices but can live with the final product.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day Eight

Today’s coloring assignment was another page from the Deck the Halls Coloring Book. This is similar to the page I did here .  That example was colored using alcohol inks so I wanted to see how the Crayola Super Thins would do.



As you can see the coverage is similar to the alcohol inks and the transparency is similar as well. Because the ornaments were very detailed, I decided to apply a color wash over the entire ornament, including the black parts. There were no problems in doing so.

I am happy with the way that the markers performed. My two complaints are that the markers are not labeled with color names so you have no way of referencing a particular color. Also, the marker tubes are perfectly round and they roll everywhere—not a good thing when trying to color on a moving train.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Day Seven

This is a book that I have been very excited to use. The artist is an illustrator from the team that produces products for the company of Linda &Harriet.. The illustrations feature some of my favorite broad/thick line styles for coloring. I purchased my copy at Blick but it is also available from Amazon.

After yesterday’s experiment with the crayons, I wanted to see what effects this type of paper would have in terms of color saturation and coverage. Because the paper is a deluxe watercolor paper, it has a texture or tooth. I think that it is possibly a cold-pressed paper which will have some effect on how the waxy crayon will distribute across the page.

I used a variety of blending and layering techniques to try and see how they would be affected.  The red peony was colored using five different shades of red. Because of the lack of color value between the colors used, there is very little shading or effects. The darker colors were added first and the lighter colors were added on top.

The yellow peony was created differently. Five colors were used as well. The darker color was added on the outer petal and the lighter colors were added until the petal was fully colored. The fifth and lightest color was applied over the entire petal as a general wash.

The leaves were all colored using the same six crayons. Each branch was colored using a light, medium and dark value. The variation occurs in the sequence in which the colors were applied. The colors were rotated for each separate branch of leaves. To get this variation, colors were applied randomly with the last color applied as a wash.

I also wanted to see if I could create an ombré effect for the background. You can see the clear delineation of the three colors but the colors would not blend at the lines of separation.

I highly recommend this book and to be honest it will probably be the only adult coloring book that I will complete in its entirety--although I would prefer to call it a DIY Artist’s Book. I will continue to experiment with the book to see how wetter media including all types of markers and watercolors will do with this paper. I will probably order a second book to have on-hand so once the experiments are concluded I can color a copy for my personal use.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day Six

Today's coloring assignment is the last installment of the Color a Day Calendar discussed yesterday. Today, I wanted to test the quality of the new Crayola crayon formula. The company is now producing a waxier product with less pigment. This is both a blessing and a curse. The extra waxiness allows for an easier coloring experience but the medium upon which it is placed has a effect on the color saturation and blending capabilities.

The texture of the paper has a slight glossy texture and you can see here that the color isn't evenly distributed across the image. once a wax layer is placed down there is no way to blend it with another color or to layer color. Tomorrow, I will text out the crayons on a watercolor paper to see the effects.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day Five

Today's coloring challenge is two pages from a 2018 Page a Day Coloring Calendar that I bought on Amazon. This is the perfect way to get your daily dose of coloring done. Each page is about 5 1/4 inches by 4 3/8 inches. The coloring area is about 3 1/8 inches by 3 3/4 inches. The paper is thin but holds up well to colored pencils and markers. The paper is very porous so blending might be an issue for some. I used the Crayola Super Thins. I would be interested to see how my Copic Markers would do. I hope to get the chance to try crayons on the third sheet that I brought along. This would make a great gift for the coloring enthusiast in your family. The back side of each sheet could be used as scratch paper but there is a lot of bleed through with the markers although there wasn't any feathering of color when using the water based markers. I will let you know how the Copic Markers do when I return from the tour. There are a variety of styles presented in the calendar and the small size is great without getting overwhelming should the pattern be overly complicated.

January 1 Before
January 1 After (with colored pencils)
January 2 After (with markers)
As you can see in the second example, the layering of color works with some colors better than other colors. For the leaves, the light green was applied first and the darker green afterwards. The effect turned out more streaky than layered. For the flower leaves, the yellow was applied first and the orange and ochre applied afterwards with better results.