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.



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.



  • 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!

27 thoughts on “Greyscale Colouring – A new way to enjoy adult coloring

  1. Barbara says:

    Why would you do this? Other people can claim it is their art because they colored it. I saw it in a facebook group. What is to stop them from selling these as their art? I think this is a big problem that is being created and you and other artists who do this don’t realize it.

    People these days have no respect for copyright or originality. They can’t create anything for themselves and rely on apps or machines. They have an instant gratification need.

    This is a problem possibly not for you but certainly for unknown and poorer artists like myself.

    • Selina says:

      I don’t believe my greyscale books will cause a problem. People who want to do the wrong thing, will find a way to do it, no matter what I try and do to stop them, or try and withhold. Anyone could take one of my artworks offline and use it unlawfully. People who are going to do the wrong thing and copy or claim my art as their own won’t buy my book, they will do it anyway regardless of what I publish. But for those few people who will do the wrong thing, most people are well intentioned and most colorists I’ve met who enjoy books like this really respect artists. Withholding creations or content only harms people who are well intentioned to start with, not the people who are doing the wrong thing. And I don’t agree with that. I prefer to give and share and trust in the best of people.

      • Ali B says:

        I agree with you 100% Selina! And what better way to become known than to make your artwork accessible. Then people share it in colouring groups and interest soars because people see the beauty created from the original work of art.

        Colouring is a collaboration between the artist/illustrator and the colourist and the resulting works can be magnificent.

        I very much appreciate you sharing, Selina, as I have been trying to decide which version of your book to buy. I haven’t done much greyscale, but it’s much faster for someone with as little time to colour as I have. I still like the challenge of figuring out my own shading, but sometimes it’s nice to have the head start.

        Also, waving the flag as a fellow Aussie! Keep up the lovely work, you have many fans. xx

  2. Connie says:

    I have enjoyed your books so much. I am very much an amateur but these books have really expanded my knowledge and imagination. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  3. Midgie says:

    I am getting,addicted to the grayscale the two samples you have here for us I have the first but can’t get the second to print for me. It’s just really big and I only get the wings. What am I doing wrong? It’s the mermaid on the wooden chest!
    Your work is amazing and I love the subjects of your work. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Selina says:

      It might be some issue with the resolution of the image, Midgie. Is there an option when you print that says “fit to page” or something like that? That could solve it.

  4. Grace says:

    Hi Selina!
    I came across your books & am LOVING them!
    I’m hoping you’ll be able to help with some issues I’ve come across –hair & skin colors, mainly naturals & blonde colors. I’m a newbie to all of this & blending colors hasn’t been too difficult, it’s finding the right colors that’s my problem. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on nice pencils until I am really ready to commit to coloring. A big issue is that I only like using colored pencils vs. water colors, etc. b/c I’m on bedrest & pencils aren’t so messy. I did (kinda) splurge on the Prismacolor portrait set for a bit more of a variety for hair & skin colors. I also bought the Ohuhu pencil set as a starter a while back. My question is…what type of pencils work best with your books? What pencils do you use?

    I thank you for your beautiful art & not only allowing, but encouraging others to create their own visions of your drawings.

    I hope to hear from you soon, thank you for taking your time to talk to your fans. That is so important! Sending Happiness, Love & Joy to you-

    • Selina says:

      Hi Grace, I’m glad you’re enjoying my books!

      You can see a little sample of greyscale I coloured myself and the pencils I used for the skintones that I posted to facebook here-

      The pencils I use re Derwent Studio (firmer) Derwent Artists (softer) and Stabilo Softcolour (even softer) plus a few other bits and pieces. But I don’t really know much about coloured pencil brands- I’m more of a painter. Most of mine were received as gifts or hand-me-downs from other artists and I just use what I have. The best advice I can give is to always keep your pencils sharp and work gently. When they are sharp you don’t have to work as hard to get a good result. As long as they aren’t cheap kids pencils, most brands are fine and it comes down to personal preference.

      Also for skin tones, I tend to use warm reds and purples in the shadows, orange or sepia tones in the mid-values, and cool lemony yellows for the palest areas and to blend everything together. But that;s just an example… I tend to adjust what colours I use depending on the skin colour itself (light or dark) and also what colours are used in the rest of the artwork. If the artwork is very blue, I will use more blues in the skins shadow areas, for example.

      I hope that helps a little.

  5. Léa says:


    I like your coloring book grayscale.
    I had buying Mermaids and Enchanted grayscale edition. I would know if your others coloring book like Gothic or Godness will be adapted in grayscale edition and when? Thanks you.

    Sorry for my english, I am french.

    Best regards

    • Selina says:

      Yes I do have more grayscale books planned, likely for release after February 2017 as I have other plans over the holiday period.

      • Kathy says:

        Selina do you have any color by number books you sell? I’m just getting started coloring again. I haven’t colored since I was in grade school and I’m now 61. I bought some of your grayscale books but not really understanding how to do them and make them come out looking good. Thanks

  6. Val says:

    I love doing these books and they stretched my imagination from the usual mandalas and multi coloured pictures which were giving me massive headaches. I run a private FB group and every Tuesday people can put up anything they’ve done to help them relax etc. I posted one of the pictures I’d done of yours to which I had 68 likes and numerous comments of how much they liked it. Then the trolls started, telling me I couldn’t have possibly done that it looked like a photo, ,,,,I should put original up as well as my finished one so they could compare.
    It ended up me asking if they could do anything like it if not shut up. I took all my pictures down to the dismay of others who loved looking at them and started colouring because of them.
    I’ve always said where the pictures were from and who the original artist was. No copying allowed and no other problems I still order and enjoy your books.

  7. macaherreros says:

    Wow, I was a huge fan of yours back when I was a member at Elfwood, so glad to see that you are doing so well now!
    Your art is amazingly beautiful, I was always mesmerized by your images. I can’t really draw well, so colouring is a bit of an outlet of that creativity that I think I have, anyway, as soon as I have a some money to spare will definitely try my hand at one of your greyscale books, they look awesome.

    • Selina says:

      The good old days of Elfwood! The internet has come so far since then, so it’s nice to catch up with people who remember Elfwood 🙂

  8. Stacy Walters says:

    I just received my Mermaids, Fairies &Fantasy book..I immediately fell in love with the artwork!
    I wanted to say it perplexed me at first..wasn’t quite sure how to begin…so I really wanted to thank you for these tips on coloring. Very helpful.
    Now Im ready to begin enjoying your book.
    Thanks again

  9. Umut Rados says:

    Selina thank you so much! I was wondering how it would feel coloring greyscale and you give an option to try. Your art is amazing!

  10. Marje says:

    Selina, Thank you so very much for your grayscale books.. I love love them. I have trouble with shadows and highlights and the grayscale is a great teaching tool for learning these things.. I love to color and grayscale seems to fit me best.. I love your art and your books . I have 3 about to buy another that i just saw tonight on Amazon. Thanks again and please keep sharing your beautiful art with all us who can’t draw but love to color and feel a lil artistic..

  11. Tami Sifford says:

    I have 8 or so of your books Selina. I love them ! Thank you for this bit of information ! Will bookmark this page to come back and re look when i color again 🙂 Love and Hugs !

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