Are 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!
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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!
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. 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.
I have found a selection of both gel pens and colored pencils on Amazon and Create For Less. The pencil set in the middle, looks like a great choice – it’s a little better than those “school grade” kind, with good leads so you shouldn’t have any trouble with skips or drags.
The pen set I chose, has double tips, in which you have the benefit of using a marker side for fun for larger places, and a nice thin line tip for details.
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)
Don’t 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 special techniques and have more fun! Good techniques include cross-hatching, pointillist “dots” or come up with your own unique pattern instead (e.g., stars, spirals) The left image is an example of how I did that with one of my pages.
With anything ink or pigment based, yes, there’s always that risk of smearing. You want 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.
Gel pen ink does dry quickly, but like all ball point pens, they always find a way to smudge, bummer 😛
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.
Pens add pizazz! You can define lines more, and add more detail. 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!