Should You Use Colored Pencils or Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books?

colored pencils or gel pens for adult coloring booksAre colored pencils or gel pens best for adult coloring books? 

Do you love chilling out with coloring pages or books? While there are certainly no hard-and-fast rules to making use of what is an enjoyable stress-relieving pastime, many people think colored pencils or gel pens are the preferred choice for adult coloring books while some prefer one over the other.

Adult coloring books have been called “the best and cheapest form of therapy” for good reason. Whether you’re a collector or a part-time enthusiast you may be wondering about your choice of instruments. I’ll tell you in this article how and why they are both great choices!


Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 48-CountPrismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 48-CountAmazing Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books by Amerigo - Set of 48Amazing Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books by Amerigo – Set of 48Floral Mandalas: Coloring Pages for All Ages  VOL. 3Floral Mandalas: Coloring Pages for All Ages VOL. 3Coloring for Grown-Ups: The Adult Activity BookColoring for Grown-Ups: The Adult Activity Book

 

Comparing pencils and pens for adult coloring books

Colored pencils let you fill in many detailed areas easily and smoothly. In my experimentation I’ve been partial to colored pencils because I can get very natural colors. Gel pens come in great color assortments, including metallics, pastels, and neons. The set I own has 60 of these beauties – and a few that even change color to boot!

Here is a rundown of how the 2 stack up with consistent use:

  • You don’t have the potential of bleed through happening with pencils since they are not ink-based, which is also the reason they don’t smear or smudge.Because pens are ink-based there is always a concern about that pesky seep-through.
  • You might need to periodically sharpen your pencils when they get dull, but that’s about it; no concern that they will dry out.
  • There are a fair amount of colors that pencils come in; but gel pens do as well, if not more, as well as more unique color styles like metallic gold or silver.
  • With pencils you can fill in larger areas with color; with pens this is more challenging since pens are thought of as an instrument for writing and thin lines; however there are unique ways to expand upon this with pens.

Can you “color” with gel pens as well as you can with pencils?

It’s a little different approach. I wouldn’t say “color with” as much as I would “create with” 🙂 Gel pens have a “roller ball” tip so they will glide like silk once you get that ball rollin’ (using your test sheet)

Do NOT limit them to just “color blocking” or filling in spaces. For me, anyway, that can get monotonous. I save that for the teeny-tiny details. You can employ some good techniques like cross-hatching, pointillist “dots” or come up with your own unique pattern (e.g., stars, spirals) with the roller-ball application that gel pens can do with aplomb!

pencils and pens for adult coloring books

With anything ink or pigment based, yes, there’s always that risk of smearing. What you need to do is take your pens and start to color from the top and work your way down, and work from the left to the right if you are right handed, or vice versa for lefties  which will offset the chance of smudging. They do dry quickly, but remember this tip for best results.

I made a video to give you an idea of how these techniques work…You just might surprise yourself next time you’ve got a coloring page or book in hand when you try them!


Pencils or pens for adult coloring books? You decide!

Well as they used to say in the early 2000s, “It’s all good” True that!

Gel pen seep through is minimal at best if you use some of the techniques I describe above and in the video. Also with lighter colors it might not be noticeable at all on the other side. Solid color fills produce a heavier ink flow. Colored pencils will allow for filling in larger detail areas and you can also combine shades and color tones to see what cool effect you can come up with!

So, bottom line: Why not try each (or combine them) and have the best of both worlds? After all the point is to relax and enjoy yourself, and maybe have a finished picture to hang up somewhere too!


Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 48-CountPrismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 48-CountAmazing Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books by Amerigo - Set of 48Amazing Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books by Amerigo – Set of 48Floral Mandalas: Coloring Pages for All Ages  VOL. 3Floral Mandalas: Coloring Pages for All Ages VOL. 3Coloring for Grown-Ups: The Adult Activity BookColoring for Grown-Ups: The Adult Activity Book

 

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