Markers for adult coloring: the pros and cons

“What art supply should I use for coloring?” is the second question a new colorist asks — right after answering their first question, “Hm, should I start coloring?” with “Yes!” There are markers, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, paints and more to choose from. It can be a tough decision, especially if you’ve got limited funds to invest in your new hobby. Here’s a little ditty to help you decide whether to pick up some markers to use with your adult coloring books and pages.

The pros of coloring with markers

Bright colors: Markers typically lay really bright, solid color onto the page. Dry supplies like colored pencils and crayons can end up looking relatively washed out.

Consistent application: Because markers rely on a consistent flow of ink, the color they put down is similarly consistent. You can depend on even the moderately cheap ones to put down ink in a consistent shade.

The Candy Hippie "Bicycle" adult coloring page beautifully colored with markers by Deez.Low tension: Markers won’t tempt you to press down hard to get those bright, vibrant colors. They’re a great choice for colorists who tire easily, are prone to hand cramping, or suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

Constant precision: Markers don’t need to be sharpened. As long as you don’t press down hard with them, their felty points should stay nice and precise for a long time.

Durable: Dry coloring supplies like colored pencils and crayons are delicate. Colored pencil lead can break even inside the wood of the pencil, ruining the whole pencil, and crayons can snap into little pieces if you’re not careful. Their inky counterparts are much more durable than this.

The cons of coloring with markers

Less color variety: A package of markers often has fewer colors for the same price as a package of colored pencils. You can get a lot of color variation by layering colored pencils and crayons, but it’s not so easy to do this with markers.

Layering trouble: Since the ink always goes on bright and dark, there’s little room left on the page to add another color on top without either darkening the color too much or causing the paper to pile and tear. Most of the time you’ll have to stick with the colors you’re given without the ability to create more.

The Candy Hippie "Yin Yang Moon and Sun" adult coloring page beautifully colored with markers by Ann.Bleed-through and cross-bleeding: Most markers, excepting some of the more pricy brands and those with notations on the package, are likely to bleed through your page. This makes them a poor choice for coloring books since they could ruin the line art on the reverse of the page and sometimes even the next page too. You’ll also need to be careful about coloring printable pages with markers, since inkjet printer ink is susceptible to smudging when dampened. Laser printed and photocopied pages are marker-safe, though.

Cross-contamination: Unless the owner is practically obsessive-compulsive about it, every yellow marker ends up with a black tip. This sort of cross-contamination comes from coloring with a light color over top of a darker color — or even next to a darker color, unless you color with such precision that your tip never touches the other color while still managing not to leave any white space. Not only can your lighter markers accidentally drag a darker color into a light space, the cross-contamination can carry over to the next project. Watch out!

Indellible: It’s not easy to fix a mistake with markers. Dry pigments can be erased or at least scraped away a bit, but once you’ve markered, you’re stuck with it. You’ll need white-out to remove a mark, but white-out doesn’t carry marker very well and will probably show on your finished product. In short, you’ll need to get pretty creative to fix any mistakes.

Sudden death: Markers don’t go out with a bang or with a whimper — they just go out. Usually right in the middle of a coloring job. If you’re lucky, the color will start to fade a bit to warn you it’s about to die, but you won’t have much time. In any case, you’d benefit from having a backup of the same color.

One more tip

Don’t buy the cheapest markers you can find. They’re more likely to dry up faster and put color down inconsistently. Don’t get super expensive professional artist markers either, as you may end up paying for features you’re not even interested in using. If you’re just starting out as a colorist, start with a set of markers that’s a grade or two above the bottom of the barrel. Choose the middle path. You’ll get a good representation of markers to experiment with, and if it turns out you don’t like markers as much as other supplies there will be no need for regret.

Coloring as Loving-Kindness (Metta) Meditation

LKcoversmallI’ve finished another coloring book: Loving-Kindness Mandalas. In this book you’ll find a lot of lotus flowers (symbols of purity and compassion), hearts (symbols of love of course), meditating figures, and a dharma wheel made of dharma wheels (symbolizing wisdom and understanding). For now the book is exclusively available at candyhippie.com. I’ll make it available in my Etsy shop at a later date.

Loving-kindness meditation, or metta meditation, is a style of meditation aimed specifically at reducing negative emotions and grudges, while strengthening compassion, well-being, appreciation and generosity. Loving-kindness is a basically an exercise in focused well-wishing, with the goal of cultivating postive habits in the mind.

The first four of the twelve mandalas in the new book are named after the four qualities of love cultivated by the practice: friendly loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha). Metta is a friendly, caring and embracing warmth which reaches outward. Karuna’s compassion is about having genuine empathy for people’s difficulties. Mudita is about feeling happy for someone, appreciating and feeling joy in people’s good fortune. Equanimity is a subtle result of cultivating the other three: a consistent, calm feeling of acceptance and caring toward everyone equally.

mettathumb4These four qualities are cultivated by wishing oneself and others be well. These wishes come in many forms. The latter eight of the mandalas in this coloring book are named and designed after eight popular well-wishing meditations: “May you be filled with love and kindness,” “May you be free,” “May you be happy,” “May you be in good health,” “May you be peaceful and at ease,” “May you be safe from harm,” “May you be well,” and “May you gain understanding.”

These wishes should not only be directed ourselves and our loved ones, but also strangers, difficult people, people we dislike, and even those we consider enemies. As a popular Buddhist phrase explains, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” A goal of metta meditation is to gradually rid ourselves of our angers and grudges.

mettathumb5To use these mandala coloring pages for metta meditation, concentrate on the words and titles of the pages, repeat them to yourself if you’d like, and in your mind, direct them toward the people in your life as you color, envisioning your coloring activity as a freely-given gift. Color the centre for yourself, and as you move outward, color for family, friends, neutral acquaintances, people you find difficult or unlikeable, and finally enemies, if you feel you have any.

You might find it useful to make up a personal system of color symbolism to help you focus as you practice. Certain colors might symbolize different people in your life, for example.

While using these mandalas for metta medtation, remember to genuinely direct the mandalas’ messages and emotional states toward their recipients, cultivating loving-kindness in yourself. This will increase your happiness and, with practice, will naturally manifest in your actions toward others in your daily life.

If you’d like to learn more about the details of practicing metta meditation, try these resources:

18 Science-Based Reasons to Try Loving Kindness Meditation – some are new to me!

Loving-Kindness meditation – an overview by buddhanet.net.

Metta Bhavana – in-depth instructions by Venerable Sujiva.

Loving Kindness Meditation – an instructional video.

Please do try out the Loving-Kindness Mandalas coloring book. I made it in hope that others could benefit from coloring it, as I have done in practicing metta meditation and in mindfully creating these mandalas.

Hooray, 1000!

Achievement unlocked: 1000 etsy sales!

1000bBack in April, my fiancee and I went to the theater to see Cinderella. I loved its prettiness, its otherworldly optimism, the Kinkadesque guilty pleasure of it. I hadn’t even opened my shop yet, let alone made a single sale, but I was so inspired by the film that I decided I would make 1000 Etsy sales, and so on the way home I bought a bottle of ice cider that I would use to celebrate upon reaching the goal. I decorated it, placed it near my workspace, and looked at it for eight months.

1000aI reached 1000 sales at the very tip of November 30th, just after midnight. I shared the cider and some 85% dark chocolate with my fiancee, who has been a tremendous help, though it was way too sweet for his palate. More for me!

Bet you can guess what movie I paired it with.

w00t!

It’s starting to look a bit like Christmas…

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November 7th was my two-year Quit Smoking Anniversary. After smoking for half my life, I haven’t even touched a cigarette since 2013! I don’t miss them at all. I’m so over the constant yucky throat, the dampered smell and taste, the nagging cravings and the expense. To celebrate my quittiversary, my fiancee surpised me with some Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils. They’re nice and rich and smooth. I got them just in time to color my new Christmas Mandalas coloring book cover and thumbnails.

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I decided to make a duct-tape insert for an old wire mesh box I had sitting around, so now I have a pencil case. It even has a divider to separate the new Prismacolors from the others. These are all the colored pencils I own. A lot can be done with a only a set or two of pencils! A few of my favourites have been whittled down to nubs, so my set was definitely due for replenishing.

Hiking through fall colors

Does anyone else get tree cravings? It must be a form of going stir-crazy, city-crazy, something like that. I lay awake from time to time wishing for trees, not even entirely sure what I want to do with them. Walk among them, climb them, smell them, hug them, build a house out of them in them, cremate them under marshmallows. This craving can get so strong that it physically feels like a thirst, and I wonder how common it is. I should probably read more Whitman.

Fortunately, after a year or two of strong periodic craving, I got to spend the last week before Halloween in a Tobermoy cabin with family, working on my fire-building skills, soaking in the hot tub, harnessing the power of layering, sipping cider and most importantly, hiking. We explored the peninsula between Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay in several multi-hour hikes. Between the changing seasons and the crystal clear water, the colors were just breathtaking.

And the smells of composting leaves! I’d never been hiking before and it was nice to break in my new boots, and breathe and breathe, with no car exhaust stink, no emergency sirens, no trains, no noisy student neighbor parties. There’s nothing like the beauty of silence.

We had a calm day that left the lake like glass, and a windy day that howled and whipped up the night. Sadly, we couldn’t stargaze because it was the week of the full moon, which was like a massive flashlight in the sky whenever the clouds cleared away. Next time!

I also got to test my photographer’s instincts, and in the end took over 900 pictures of rocks and trees and water. I’ll spare you most of them, but here are a few of my favorites.

TobermoryLookout

TobermoryPebbles

TobermoryRiver

TobermoryWoodbridge

TobermoryHangover

TobermoryTallTrees

TobermoryMe

TobermoryWindyShore

TobermoryCalmShore

TobermoryFlames

TobermoryEmbers

TobermoryDowntime

I have concluded that my instincts are OK but could use some honing.

Nature is the wellspring of artistic inspiration that they say it is, and I’ve had a better fill of fall than ever. I’ll be designing more line art in anticipation of winter all the way up until Christmas time.

Halloween, mua ha ha!

Halloween is less than three weeks away! Speaking of less than three, I <3 all of you who have already picked up some of my new Halloween goodies and left glowing reviews. Thank you so much! Your support keeps me creating, and grinning like a skull all the way. Except not emaciated and/or fleshless and/or dead.

I’ve finally got everything listed today. Phew. Time to call the roll.

halloweenmandalasthumb5b 1) Twelve single Halloween mandala coloring pages. Or technically, eleven Halloween pages and one autumn/Thanksgiving page, but I figure ’tis the season to group them together.

2) One Halloween Mandalas coloring book, comprised of the above twelve individual mandalas, for less than half the cost of buying all twelve individually.

HalloweenZinethumb43) One hand-drawn Halloween Teeny Zine mini coloring book, which in my honest opinion, has not gotten enough attention! It’s my favourite of all my Halloween creations. I’ll be making a pile of copies to hand out to trick-or-treaters and I think you should too! I just knocked a half-buck off, down from $4 to $3.50. Go see!

That’s that. I might draw something more, but I’m not sure what to do. My muse might be all Halloweened out. Which means… I must find my Christmas spirit. In October. Somehow. XD

The Third Annual Windsor Marijuana March and Culture Fest

12122409_529164503898710_6869255095443191481_nThe day of the Fest was cold, wet and blustery (we’re talking four-sweaters, touque-and-mittens blustery) and the picnic-style coloring corner I set up with pillows, free coloring pages, markers and crayons didn’t get much use, but we stuck it out and had a pretty good time anyway. My hemp necklaces got all soggy, rainwater wormed its way into the pinback buttons and I couldn’t really show off my coloring books because the rain would wreck them, but I and my selling partners still managed to make a decent number of sales. I gave out nearly all of my free buttons (with business card attached, wink wink), and sold a handful of coloring books.

12108031_529164507232043_2752243169744082659_nUnsurprisingly, we were in good company. We made some new friends, danced and chatted and enjoyed comradery with kind strangers. Spirits were high (pun!) despite the rain and wet. Two bands, Border Patrol and Sound System, provided great music while momentary mists of smoke wafted up from circles of sitting stoners. Due to our table’s close proximity to the hot-box tent I came down with some spacy giggles, which were soothed by some delicious pulled pork from the Snackbar B Q tent.

marijuanamarch1When it came time to march, I adopted my favourite sign in the pile: a big charicature of PM Stephen Harper hitting a bong. It was a true work of art. I used another sign reading “I want to be leaf” (veteran X-phile here) for strength against the wind and tried to take good care of it. Alas, by the end of the marijuana march both signs were in tatters from the weather and had to be thrown away with the rest. I want to reiterate that I did not draw the charicature myself! I don’t know who the artist is, but initials on the sign read “LW.”

12108772_529164567232037_1220385693032334880_n Many thanks to friends and family for your support and assistance, the transportation, setup, cleanup and company. And more thanks to everyone at Endless Heights and the Rockhead Comedy Quarry for organizing. Looking forward to next year — and hopefully some kinder weather.

For those who attended the Marijuana March and for those who didn’t, I’ve provided the event coloring poster I made, as well as a coloring page of the mandala by itself, for FREE in the shop: here you go!

Printed Coloring Books!

The Windsor Marijuana March and Cannabis Culture Fest is coming up in a few weeks! As soon as I heard about it I knew I had to participate as a seller, which meant I needed printed books to sell, ASAP. I brought my coloring book files to Copy Shack yesterday and they were ready today. Introducing the very first printed Candy Hippie coloring books, modeled by yours truly:

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I’ve got twelve copies each of Hippie Kitsch and Advanced Flower Mandalas to hock at the fair.

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They’re my first books ever.

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You bet I’m gonna sign ’em!

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While I haven’t decided whether to sell printed books through the Candy Hippie Etsy Shop or even in my dot-com shop, these two and all the rest will be available in digital format for you to print at home or at a print shop far into the forseeable future. I figure it makes the most sense to do it this way, since there are no shipping costs with digital files and no waiting. The valuable part is the data, not the paper, so why print and ship when we don’t have to? The future is now! :D

Still, all that said… it’s really nice to hold these babies in my hands.

Sneak Peek: Hallowe’en Teeny Zine!

I’m a busy bee playing catch-up as I try to fill my shop with all the items already listed on Etsy. I promised myself I’d update the blog at least every Monday, but I don’t quite have the time to write a comprehensive post today. Sorry, audience! (Though I doubt you’re here yet, since I haven’t started promoting the website yet, lol)

Here’s a sneak peek of an upcoming coloring page style: the Teeny Zine! It’s a six-page (eight if you count the front and back covers) little coloring book you’ll be able to fold from a single printed page. My first one will be available at the start of October and will have a Hallowe’en theme, making it the perfect treat to give to trick-or-treaters in place of (or with) some Hallowe’en candy. Here it is so far, with a pile of pumpkins, a haunted house, a spooky tree and a raven perched atop a skull with some candles.

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As you can see, I still have to draw two more mini-pages, then digitize and add the front and back covers. Assembly is a little bit complicated — you’ll need a pair of scissors — but don’t worry, I’ll include instructions with the download.

Cheers!

The Candy Hippie Coloring Blog is officially open! *cuts ribbon with giant fuscia scissors*

Wow, this is exciting! My own website, my own shop, my own blog. My own space to serve as a ‘ground zero’ as I reach my artsy fingers out across the web distributing line art and mandalas. It’ll take a lot of work to get this place fully up and running and I look forward to the experience. I’ll make sure not to let the website development cut into my drawing and designing time too much, though.

I should tell the story of how I started making coloring pages. A few different elements coalesced. First, in February or so, I saw Johanna Basford’s “Enchanted Forest” coloring book while browsing Amazon and had to have it the moment I laid eyes on it. I bought a few mandala books too. Soon after the coloring books arrived in the mail, I started swimming laps nightly at the public pool down the road, and was so blissfully tired when I got home, all I could do was throw on some music and color for an hour or two while I recovered.

I started fantasizing about making my own coloring pages, since I have a creative streak and have been drawing from the time I could hold a pencil — though I’d almost stopped drawing entirely the last few years. Boo! That needed to change. Browsing online, I happened to discover the visionary art of artists like Alex Grey, Adam Scott Miller, Amanda Sage, Android Jones and Michael Divine. My eyes were starving. I couldn’t get enough of this wondrous, intense, profound, brightly colorful style. I also started meditating regularly. Just 20 minutes per day, an hour before bedtime, helped me feel happier, more focused and more relaxed. (I really should get back into the habit!)

I wanted to make some original, creative coloring pages, but I didn’t know how I’d sell my work. Then I discovered Etsy’s option to buy and sell instant downloads. I knew immediately that this was what I had to do with my urge to make some art. And so, in April, I was inspired to buckle down and really get to work. I brainstormed about a thousand potential drawings. I sat down and drew my first coloring book, Hippie Kitsch, over the course of a couple weeks.

During this time I also learned to digitally design mandalas, which I absolutely love doing. The symmetry is simultaneously comforting and invigorating; when it comes to math, I’ve always had a knack for geometry. I love playing with my tools and discovering what shapes come out. It’s a great problem-solving exercise, and the creation process is as meditative as the coloring process.

And now it’s time for me to start listing pages in my new shop! I’ll write again soon. Thanks for visiting. :)