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Adult Coloring Tutorials: Tips & Techniques to Improve Your Coloring Skills

Written by Adrienne

 

Do you ever feel like your coloring skills have stagnated?

Adult Coloring Tutorials: Tips & Techniques to Improve Your Coloring Skills with Colored Pencils, Markers, Gel Pens, Watercolors & More!Nobody needs to resign themselves to being a one-trick pony. There is a lot more to coloring than just filling in spaces, if you want it to be more than that! In fact, there is a whole plethora of techniques you can learn and put to use right away, giving your colored art that special touch that sets it apart.

Coloring a great coloring book is as close to perfect, unfettered “me” time as you can get, but sometimes it is reinvigorating to watch someone else color and see what you can learn. Every artist has a different style, and incorporating a few new ideas into your pages works wonders for recapturing the thrill of creating.

If you finish coloring and find yourself being critical of the end result, maybe a few tutorials on color control and shading are all you need! Or, if you find yourself getting bored with the same old colored pencils or markers you always color with, a different set of materials might be all you need.

The internet is an incredible resource for any creative hobbyist or artful enthusiast. Blogs (like this one!) abound, and websites like YouTube have enabled a new generation of content creators to share their tips, tricks, and techniques with their audience. Out there on the web, you can find thousands of tutorials and demonstrations, but it is a bit intimidating to just dive in without any idea of what you are looking for.

I can help you out with that! I have gone ahead and collected over twenty tutorials to make your coloring even better. They are a mixed grab bag of coloring gems, sorted by the type of art supplies used. That should help you narrow down your range of options, or see what potential other media hold.

If you’re wondering whether you should really take the time to do what amounts to studying to improve at a relaxing apastime, don’t worry! A little extra work can pay off in spades down the line, giving you a new ways to express your creativity and color the stresses of life away!

Want coloring inspiration? Follow me on Pinterest!

Finally, if you see a coloring book in one of these videos that you want to get your hands on, I’ve got you covered! I’ve done my best to hunt down every book you’ll come across, as well as the materials each colorist is using, so you can replicate their exact tips and techniques at home.

By the time you hit the bottom of this page, I’m hoping you’ll have a few new tricks up your sleeve and a desire to up the ante. Enjoy!

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Adult Coloring Tutorials: Tips & Techniques to Improve Your Coloring Skills

How to Use This List

The tutorials below are grouped by the materials used in the video. There is a preview image above each one so that you can see the end result, and a list of coloring books and supplies shown in the video.

Keep scrolling to see all the tutorials, or use the buttons below to jump to the section you are most interested in!

Colored Pencil Adult Coloring Tutorials

Marker Adult Coloring Tutorials

Gel Pen Adult Coloring Tutorials

Watercolor Adult Coloring Tutorials

Mixed Media Adult Coloring Tutorials

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Colored Pencils

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are one of the absolute most common tools used for adult coloring books, and with good reason! They’re a no-mess, easily blendable, and abundantly available medium that offer a huge amount of textural flexibility and variation in style when filling in the spaces on the page.

Whether you’re an expert artist or a coloring newbie, the things you can do once you master colored pencils will blow you away.

General Colored Pencil Tips and Tricks

General Colored Pencil Tips and Tricks

Coloring Book: Tangled Treasures Coloring Book & Art Therapy Inspiration Notebook

Supplies: Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils, Prismacolor colorless blender pencils, Prismacolor colorless blender marker, fineliner pens, Micron pen

The colorist flips through a coloring book with some completed designs, explaining her approach to coloring a variety of different objects. She comfortably incorporates pens and other tools into her colored pages as well, and although the touches are minor, they definitely contribute to the finished piece.


Creating Beautiful Gradient Leaves in Enchanted Forest

Creating Beautiful Gradient Leaves in Enchanted Forest

Coloring Book: Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford

Supplies: Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent Artists’ Pencils, Derwent colorless blender pencil

This video deals exclusively with leaves, but the basic principles here apply to anything. Leaves come in many shapes, sizes, thicknesses, colors, and degrees of transparency. As such, the lighting can get interesting fast, and they are a great place to see a variety of techniques employed on a small scale.


10 Colored Pencil Blending Techniques

10 Colored Pencil Blending Techniques

Coloring Book: The Artful Mandala Coloring Book by Cher Kaufmann

Supplies: Prismacolor Premier colored pencils, Prismacolor colorless blending pencil, Prismacolor colorless blending marker, Global Art Materials Finesse colorless blending marker, Gamsol

This video from a professional coloring book illustrator makes use of everything from blending stumps to burnishing to solvents to vaseline to show you the many ways you can blend your colored pencils.


Blending with Chalk Pencils

Blending with Chalk Pencils

Coloring Book: Millie Marotta’s Tropical World

Supplies: General’s pastel chalk pencils

In this mesmerizing speed coloring video, Katy Webb takes viewers on a journey through coloring a page from Millie Marotta’s Tropical World. Using only chalk pencils and no other blending tool, she creates an effect so much more striking than if she had only colored the spaces a solid color.


How to Use White Colored Pencils

How to Use White Colored Pencils

Coloring Book: Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

Supplies: white Luminance colored pencil

Every box of pencils comes with one or two, but where are you actually supposed to use a white colored pencil? As it turns out, just about anywhere!


Choosing Natural Skin Tones in Colored Pencil

Choosing Natural Skin Tones in Colored Pencil

Supplies: Faber-Castell Polychromos

Achieving a darker or lighter skin tone usually isn’t as easy as shifting up and down in brightness. Pigmentation is more complicated than that, and this video is pretty good at helping you over that hurdle, offering specific color recommendations for achieving different skin tones.


2 Ways to Shade Faces with Colored Pencils

2 Ways to Shade Faces with Colored Pencils

Coloring Book: Daydreams by Hanna Karlzon (read my review of this book here)

Once you’ve got the basics of blending with colored pencils down, you’ll be ready to handle just about anything you come across. Faces are tough, though. Most coloring books leave the space for the face wide open, with little suggestion of the shaping of the cheekbones, nose, and chin; great if you want to develop a natural looking face, but intimidating if you don’t know where to place those highlights and shadows.

Both of these tutorials take advantage of the large, open faces found in the book Daydreams by Hanna Karlzon. This is a great coloring book if you want to improve your skills coloring faces and shading skin.

Supplies: Any smoothly blendable colored pencils will work. This video offers color recommendations from Derwent Artists’ Colored Pencils or Faber-Castell Polychromos or Marco Raffine.

In this video, Peta Hewitt guides viewers through the process of choosing colors for the skin and the shadows, and then developing the shape of the face with a centered light source.

Supplies: Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and a white Uni-ball Signo gel pen

In this video, Chris Cheng speeds through her process of shading faces in colored pencil, which uses a different technique from the previous video. Instead of starting with the shadows, she works from the lightest shade to the darkest, gradually building her shading.


How to Color Hair with 3 Shades of Colored Pencils

How to Color Hair with 3 Shades of Colored Pencils

Coloring Book: Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford

Supplies: Prismacolor Premier colored pencils

If faces are just tough, then hair is a real challenge to handle. Shiny, dull, frizzy, and flowing: The possibilities and the tricks used to get them are endless. This tutorial does an excellent job of handling the sleek side of things, all with just three shades that you can replicate for any color hair you like.


Coloring Beautiful Rainbow Hair

Coloring Beautiful Rainbow Hair

Coloring Book: Color Me Inspired by Kristina Webb

Supplies: Prismacolor Premier colored pencils, Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, silver glitter paint

This video is a speed coloring gem. In it, Kristina Webb colors a page from her own book, going beyond the obvious to make a rainbow and sparkly end result. Using colored pencils, fineliner markers, and some sparkly glitter paint, and combining almost every trick above, the artist brings some stunningly psychedelic braids to life with the individual strands of hair visible in the final piece.


Now that you’ve gotten more comfortable with the nuances of coloring in people, perhaps you can do justice to some of your favorite fictional characters?

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Markers

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Markers

Another popular choice for coloring enthusiasts, markers allow the colorist to achieve a deeper and more uniform fill at the cost of requiring more caution. Blending and shading take a lot more skill to get right in marker, and some markers should not be passed over the same place twice as this changes the shade and can make the drawing streaky. All of these drawbacks are possible to get ahead of however, and as you can see below, the results are spectacular!

Introduction to Coloring with Markers

Introduction to Coloring with Markers

Coloring Book: The Artful Mandala Coloring Book by Cher Kaufmann

Supplies: Sharpies, Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, Copic colorless blender

This video is a great place to get started with markers, as it demonstrates several different varieties of marker and illustrates the scenarios in which each excels.

Those mesmerizing patterns she fills in in the middle of the video are called mandalas; I’m a big fan of them, and actually compiled over 20 of my favorites in this blog post!


How to Create a Pointillism Technique with Markers

How to Create a Pointillism Technique with Markers

Coloring Book: The Shiny Nest Printable Adult Coloring Pages by Smitha Katti

Supplies: Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Pointillism is an effect utilized in old comics to get a stylistic, pleasing fill out of a minimum amount of ink. This technique allows you to use a minimum number of colors to get a lot of variation in color and shading. You’ll see markers and pens used most often, as they are particularly well suited to this technique, as long as you are gentle!


How to Color Realistic Images with Copic Markers

How to Color Realistic Images with Copic Markers

Coloring Book: Horses in Battle by John Green (Dover Publications)

Supplies: Copic markers and UniBall Signo gel pens

In this coloring timelapse, this colorist uses high quality supplies to truly bring a page to life. It’s so well done, even the artist who illustrated the coloring book, John Green, had to comment on the video to say so!

Note: the pages of this coloring book will not stand up to the markers this video shows being used. Instead, the colorist copied the image onto a heavier paper made to stand up to markers.


Coloring & Blending Basics with Gel Pens

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Gel Pens

When it comes to getting your color to stick to a slick or darkened surface, gel pens are the way to go. A good gel pen dries quick enough to not pose as much risk of smudging and leaking as a marker, and some sets feature tiny particles in the gel that give your colors a metallic sheen, or glittery sparkle. Whether you use them for full pages or for accenting your other supplies, gel pens are a versatile tool to have in your coloring supply arsenal!

Coloring and Blending Basics with Gel Pens

Coloring & Blending Basics with Gel Pens

Coloring Book: Coloring Pages Bliss by Jennifer Stay

Supplies: TecWriter Gel Pens

Gel pens already start with slightly more character than other supplies, so learning how to shade in areas and blend multiple colors takes the potential even further. This video gives you the basics of blending with gel pens by layering colors from the same family.


Blending with Gel Pens

Blending with Gel Pens

Coloring Book: The Artful Mandala Coloring Book by Cher Kaufmann

Supplies: TecWriter Gel Pens, Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight, TheWriteDudes Super Gel Pens (which come with a really neat spiral desk stand)

This video is interesting, because it deals a lot with the physical properties of the gel left behind by your pens. Controlling the thickness and distribution of the gel (and its glitter in this case) is a significant step up over uniform shading. Cher Kaufmann leads viewers through the process of layering gel pens over colored pencil and blending them together with a damp brush.


How to Use Gel Pens for Fine Details in Grayscale Coloring Books

How to Use Gel Pens for Fine Details in Grayscale Coloring Books

Coloring Book: Spellbinding Images: A Grayscale Fantasy Coloring Book by Nikki Burnette

Supplies: Art-n-Fly Gel Pens set of 40

In this video, Nikki Burnette guides viewers through the process of coloring in super fine details in grayscale coloring books with gel pens, without losing your shadows. These techniques can also be applied to non-grayscale books.


Adult Coloring Tutorials in Watercolor

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Watercolor

The last thing some people would think when they see a fresh, crisp page full of coloring potential is, “Hey, I want to dump some water on that!” Watercoloring is an easy skill to get started in, but a tricky one to master. Too little water can lead to globs of ugly paint or uneven pencil strokes, too much turns your 36-page book into a waterlogged board.

It takes preparation, patience, and maybe a handy hair dryer in case of emergencies to master the application of watercolor to the page, but if you are interested in watercolor painting, watercolor coloring books are a great way to get a feel for watercolors without the stresses of having to compose your own design.

Introduction to Watercolor Coloring

Introduction to Watercolor Coloring

Coloring Book: The Painterly Days: The Woodland Watercoloring Book by Kristy Rice

Supplies: 1/4″ Dagger Brush and Artist’s Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Pan Set

This video advocates throwing out the rules and having fun with your watercolor paints. That said, you can still glean a number of useful tips from Kristy’s commentary. She offers a lot of tips very userful to new watercolor painters, like how you shouldn’t scrub the page, and how you can use a dry brush to “suck” excess water back off the page.


Speed Coloring with Watercolor Pencils and a Waterbrush

Speed Coloring with Watercolor Pencils and a Waterbrush

Coloring Book: Daydreams by Hanna Karlzon (read my review of this book here)

Supplies: Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils

In this video, the colorist guides you through the process of laying down watercolor pencil and then activating it using a waterbrush or aquabrush. The effect is absolutely gorgeous, though the colorist does caution that when she started laying down the color she wasn’t sure the paper in this book was standing up super well to it. Your results may vary — I’ve seen incredible watercolor art done in Hanna Karlzon’s books but it probably is at the cost of the opposite side of the page!


How to Use Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils for Adult Coloring

How to Use Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils for Adult Coloring

Coloring Book: The Magical City by Lizzie Mary Cullen

In this video, the first in a four-part series, Peta Hewitt guides us through a color-along of the Paris page of The Magical City using Derwent Inktense pencils. These watercolor colored pencils are unique, because they contain ink rather than watercolor paint. What this means is that once “activated” with water and let to dry, the watercolor effect is permanent.


How to Watercolor with Markers

How to Watercolor with Markers

Coloring Book: The Shiny Next Printable Adult Coloring Book: 10 Motivational Quotes by Smitha Katti

Supplies: Tombow dual brush pens, Crayola brushes, wax paper

Did you know you can “watercolor” with markers? Smitha Katti shows you how to transfer the color from these markers to your coloring book using wax paper and a fine brush.


Other Adult Coloring Tutorials & Mixed Media

Adult Coloring Tutorials with Mixed Media

Arguably the best way to get the perfect page is to combine the strengths and displace the weaknesses of your various art supplies, joining them together where they work to best bring to life the result you envision.

Some of these videos combine two types of supplies; others make use of a proverbial pile of products. Using the techniques learned below, you can use your own stack of supplies to bring the page to life in a way you have never managed before!

How to Color a Deep Black Background with Markers

How to Color a Deep Black Background with Markers

Coloring Book: Millie Marotta’s Tropical World

Supplies: Faber-Castell Classic black pencil, Fine Faber-Castell Pitt Pen, Large Faber-Castell Pitt Pen

Have you ever wanted your drawing to pop right off the page? One great way to achieve this look is making the background a deep black so that color pops off the page. This tutorial by Peta Hewitt shows an ingenius method for layering colored pencil and India ink markers for a deep black background that isn’t streaky and has less of a chance of bleeding through.


How to Layer Markers & Colored Pencils (And Why You’d Want to)

How to Layer Markers & Colored Pencils (And Why You'd Want to)

Supplies: Prismacolor Premier colored pencils, Prismacolor markers

Sometimes wax, clay, and ink pair up better than you’d expect. Stick through this video, as the jump in quality is noticeable once the interplay between these different media comes in.


How to Blend Gel Pens Over Colored Pencils

How to Blend Gel Pens Over Colored Pencils

Supplies: TecWriter Gel Pens, Prismacolor Premier colored pencils

Both are easy to wield, and the gel pens do a great job of accenting and embellishing the colored pencils. All hues and degrees of brightness are available to you if your coloring kit has both of these tools.


How to Color Gradients with Pastels (and Kittens)

How to Color Gradients with Pastels (and Kittens)

Coloring Book: Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

Supplies: Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastels

Isn’t it incredible how kittens can mistake anything you’re working on as something entirely designed for their amusement? Fortunately, they have a natural inclination to fall asleep in active workspaces. You can consider this video a bonus, but it actually shows off how to get some of the absolute gentlest of gradients possible: rubbing Q-tips on pastel sticks and then gently shading the page. Easier without tiny paws reaching for your Q-tip, but apparently not impossible!


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