Greyscale Colouring – A new way to enjoy adult coloring

If you’ve been enjoying my coloring* books and you’re looking for a way to up your coloring game, you might be interested to try out my new Grayscale Coloring Editions! These books contain the same artworks as my existing coloring books, but printed as grayscale versions of the original paintings rather than recreated as new outlined versions. There are two books out already, and more coming soon! What exactly is grayscale coloring? Read on to find out and try a free sample yourself…

Grayscale Coloring- Unlike traditional outlined coloring

Grayscale coloring offers a different coloring experience than normal outlined designs. Coloring over a grayscale artwork where the tonal values are already in place means most of the shading has been done for you, creating much richer final creations like magic.

coloringGSmermaids

 

How Does Grayscale Coloring Work?

Begin by coloring a single color over an entire area, just as you would fill a blank space in a traditional coloring book, and the grayscale image underneath does the work of shading for you. Advanced colorists can use the grayscale values as a guide to layering their own choices of light and dark colors. Working with a grayscale image is very similar to how artists work with monochrome or grisaille underpaintings, and is a great way to help train your eyes and hands to understanding values and creating beautiful artworks.

coloringGSFairyArt

Tips…

  • If you coloring pencils or mediums are too opaque or waxy and are covering up the grayscale image too much, practice varying how heavily you apply them. Sometimes you may need them thicker in the darker areas (when using a dark color), and sometimes you might need them thinner, allowing more black to show through (when using a lighter color), depending on the color you are using.
  • Work from dark to light. Lighter pencils can be waxy and prevent darker colors holding, and using light last over darker colours will help blend all the colors together.
  • Always keep your pencils well sharpened, you’ll get better results with less effort.
  • Try picking a light, medium, and dark color for each area and use the grayscale image as a guide for where to place them. The three shades don’t need to be the same color, for example, try lemon yellow for light areas, orange for medium, and red or purple for shadows. This is a great combination for skin.
  • To avoid skin looking muddy from the gray image underneath, use an orange-red color for the darker areas of skin, around fingers, toes, knees, elbows, shoulders, lips, cheeks, and nose to give the skin life.
  • A colorless blending marker can help blend colored pencils and remove some of the waxy shiny.
  • Instead of using black, try a very dark green, blue, or purple for the darkest areas for a more mystical look.

Ready to try it for yourself?

Not everyone likes grayscale coloring as it’s a different style to normal outlined coloring and requires a different way of working. So here’s are two free printable sample pages so you can try out grayscale coloring and see if it’s for you. I hope you love the results you get! Just click the image to download the full size.

SelinaFenech_GrayscaleFairy SelinaFenech_GrayscaleMermaid

Ready to try out a book?

There are two grayscale edition books out now, with more coming soon. You can get Fairy Art Grayscale Edition Coloring or Mermaids Grayscale Edition coloring from Amazon, or direct from me in Australia from my shop below.

*coloring, colouring, grayscale, greyscale! UK and US english differences are making my head spin! I publish in US english but I’m a UK english user naturally, so forgive me if I switch between the two sometimes!

Experimenting and Moon Boats

If you’ve been following my Facebook or Instagram feed, you’ll know I’ve been experimenting for a while now. Trying new media, trying new styles, trying to re-find myself I suppose.

A lot of my artworks these days start from nothing. No idea, no inspiration. Just me and a blank canvas and a pencil-brush-marker-whatever drawing tool I feel like at the time. And I just start drawing and see what happens. Or just start painting. Sometimes it doesn’t work and gets left behind to maybe come back to later (I’ve had a couple of “resurrections” of such pieces that then turned into something lovely). Every one has been a lesson in some way.

I’ve been trying to document the process a bit more, but I’ve never been a very methodical person. So basically I sometimes remember to snap photos. I wanted to share the series of photos from my recent painting, Moon Boat.

Stage One

01

I was excited to score some 12×16 inch cradled wooden panels at a local craft store which is nigh unheard of here in Australia. Even a lot of the big art stores don’t stock them. So yay! I decided I wanted to try mixing a whole bunch of mediums on it, so I primed the board with Daniel Smith’s watercolor ground. Then I splashed a bunch of watercolour paint on it. Then some salt to try and draw out some texture. The paint didn’t hold very well to the ground. I’ve used it a bunch of times and never been very happy with the results, but I know others who love it… Maybe I’m not using it right, or got a dodgy batch? I was hoping to have more texture than this to start with, that could be the backdrop for whatever I painted over the top, but oh well, moving on.

Stage Two

02

I’ve decided on a Moon Boat concept for the panel, and do a blue wash to head down a more purpley colour range. I mark out a sphere then roughly apply gold leaf sizing in the shape of a crescent moon and water, then apply pure silver leaf to it. I’ve been enjoying adding some gold and silver leaf to my works. Because shiny.

I realise afterwards I really should have sketched in my figure first and I’ve made some problems for myself, but that’s what you get with this rather unplanned and impromptu method. There is something to be said for careful planning!

Stage Three

03

I sketch out the figure, based on a reference photo. I only have the top half of a body to reference, so drawing the feet is hard and I spend a long time twisting my own feet at weird angles to try and see how they should look. The watercolor ground continues to annoy me. A tiny drop of water got on her shoulder and lifted the paint right off it. I also have to sketch so softly or it digs into the ground. But I’m happy with the look of the figure at this stage. Still don’t know what else I’m doing with other details yet. Working unplanned like this is a process of Take Action – Ask “What next?” – Take Action – Ask what next, etc etc.

Stage Four

04

I add a string of bells and some flowers because I’m now sure what else to add. I like bells and flowers. They’re my go to.

I want to finish this artwork in oils, so I make a grayish-purplish-brownish glaze and apply it all over, then sponge some bits back off with tissue for texture. I use the same colour I mixed for the glaze and some white to start adding form to the figure. The oil paint is taking well to the board, except where the silver leaf is.

Stage Five

05

I continue building form for the figure, her hair, and dress. I’m working mostly in greys, then start to add some warmth to her skin with reds. I have a very limited palette of oil paints so far, just two yellows (warm and cool), two blues (likewise), two reds (you get the picture), black, white, paynes grey (which is just a must have for me always), raw sienna, and burnt umber. I’ve done all my oil paintings thus far with just these. I’m using Liquin as my main medium for mixing.

Stage Six

06

I continue to apply layers to the painting. By this stage it’s probably had 5 layers/work sessions on it with drying between. I’m still learning oils, and tend to make areas too dark, and then make them too light when trying to adjust that, and then make them too dark again, spending more time than I need to. But I’m starting to get used to them and enjoy the feel of them as I paint. Still trying to work out how to get other mediums working with it. How lovely would this look if the original watercolor wash had held to the background and showed through around the figure?

I decide to call the artwork done at this point. The ground I used initially is still feeling a bit fragile and I don’t want to poke it too much. I also quite like the raw look it still has at this stage. Sometimes so much freshness and energy is lost from the sketch stage the refining process.

Stage Seven

moonboatscan

The raw scan, straight from the scanner without any cleaning or color adjustment. It’s a lot more pale and purple than my photos from my smart phone, which is a bit more true to how it appears in real life, but it still needs some adjusting. The scan won’t be able to capture the way the silver flashes in the light either.

Stage Eight

words

I’ve been wanting to try and include words into my artworks, and this moon boat image seemed like a great one to experiment with. I came up with a phrase for it, and decided to try a hand written approach rather than just adding text digitally (great idea, from someone with terrible handwriting and no calligraphy training!). I wasn’t quite game to write directly on the original so I sketched it out on a sketchbook page with a copic marker pen. I didn’t rule lines or anything, which is a great indicator of the “not being very methodical” thing I was talking about before, but I kind of wanted that more rustic feel. If I wanted perfect calligraphy, well, I’d just use a font. I scan the words in and apply them over the artwork in photoshop while I clean and color correct the image. I also apply a splatter of starts digitally, because I’m too chicken to do it to the original.

Stage Nine- Final

moonboatfinal
(Click for larger)

And here is the final artwork. She was a bit of a crazy experiment from start to finish, but I do like how she ended up.

I learned lots during the process about all the different mediums I tried and how I could have done things better that I can apply to future works, so that’s the most valuable part for me.

The “Moon Boat” original painting (sans words and stars) is up for auction now.

Sold for: US$360.00