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The Essential Tools for Coloring Like a Grown Up

Dear Coloring Fanatics, we have certainly stumbled upon a trend that you LOVE! Thousands have downloaded Life’s a Garden, the free printable coloring page I posted just 2 weeks ago.

When I started coloring last year with my first coloring book for grown ups, I knew that this was a hobby that was going to be part of my life. You see, I started coloring with my son and really enjoyed getting back to this meditative craft (well, as meditative as it can be with a toddler demanding what colors you use). There are so many different ways to color and it comes out looking so differently depending on if you use pencils, pens, or watercolors, making coloring an activity that never gets boring!Download this free coloring page - it's addictive and fun!

When I first decided to try coloring again as an adult, I dug out the gorgeous artist-quality pencils and pens that my loving aunt sent me over the years and pulled out my sketch pad. But starting at the blank page wasn’t quite right. I wanted to COLOR, not draw! I picked up a grown-up coloring book and fell in love. Yes, I was in love with the flowing lines that created mysterious gardens, blooms, and birds, all waiting for me to adorn them.

Through my experiences with different tools for coloring I’ve learned a few things and I wanted to share them with you as well in this guide, so here are some tips to help you navigate the big and wonderful world of coloring tools.


Use high-end color pencils that have vibrant color and allow you to do some shading. Prismacolor pencils are a great choice. A pencil sharpener is also essential to coloring with pencils. You want to keep a nice fine point and a wide edge on the side for shading. Keep a good eraser on hand to clean up light pencil marks or mistakes.


For ink coloring, use a pen with a fine tip and avoid alcohol-based inks as they can bleed. Choose a pen set with plenty of colors as they can’t be blended like pencils. Paint pens (or watercolor pens) have a synthetic brush tip and aqueous dye ink. The colors lay down smooth, and they are much like using water color. The tips of brushes are very pointed for clean lines.


You can use watercolor paints, of course (here is a great project for beginners to get started with watercolor paints), but there are also some interesting ways to color with them using pens and pencils! Watercolor pen sets are fun to use as well. They have a refillable reservoir on a brush pen for color drawing, painting, illustration, and calligraphy, but especially coloring! Use with liquid watercolors.

Watercolor pencils draw like pencils but when you use a wet brush you can change the effect to look like watercolor paint. It gives you a lot of control over the colors and lines that you just don’t get using paint. You can also dip the pencils in water for bolder colors or try coloring on wet paper.

Having the right tools for coloring in your supply kit will certainly make it much more pleasurable. If you have ever used a pen with gloppy ink, a dried out marker, or a pencil lacking pigment, you know that they can take all the fun out of creating art. Get stocked up with the right tools and you’ll be coloring your way to a peaceful bliss in no time!

Once you’ve got your coloring tools picked out, the next step is to create the perfect color palette for your art.



  1. There are few trends that I dislike more than the “adult” coloring book trend. Can you picture Cary Grant or Grace Kelly coloring in their twee coloring books while wearing their jammies? No, because they were ADULTS. They had martinis to relax and savored ADULTHOOD. The infantilization of adults continues unabated.

    • Let your inter child out to play. Not all of us want Liquor or go on meds. Coloring is relaxing and takes me out of myself & I am able to unwind

    • If adults are not supposed to enjoy playing with colors, then there would be no artists above the age of 16. Enjoying something relaxing and creative that does not involve alcohol is not infantilization, any more than a middle-aged person who still likes to ride a bike or play a game involving a ball, is. It’s called “having fun”! You might want to try it some time, relax a bit and don’t be so condescending.

    • Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are your role models for adulthood? That’s an immature view of adulthood and when you become an adult, you will find that you can’t have a full life or complex relationships while trying to live and act like people in old movies.
      And it seems as though you consider art to be an infantile pursuit. Or is art not acceptable for people who do it for fun rather than profit? Art is a healthy, adult pursuit even if you are just an amateur. It’s okay for adults to enjoy doing things that they don’t do well. Even if they never really get any better at it.
      I love painting, but although I draw very well, I dislike drawing and have a hard time coming up with something “original” or satisfying to draw. I’m not a professional artist, and I’m not trying to make a living at it, so I discard the parts I don’t enjoy and go straight to the parts I do.

    • Your comment is a bit childish in itself. Grace Kelly or any famous person will show you the life that they want you to see. They have an image that they want to portray and you bought it. Coloring is art, fun, relaxing, therapeutic. The list goes on. Try to have a more open mind and don’t judge so much. This hobby isn’t hurting anyone.

    • So did you know Cary Grant or Grace Kelly personally? I’m betting no and that being said who knows what they did in their own private lives. Drinking because you need to unwind is actually an excuse Manny people with a drinking problem use. Maybe you should work on yourself before you try and fix the rest of us.

    • I don’t know if Cary Grant or Grace Kelly liked to color, but I do know they enjoyed playing pretend (acting) and they even got paid for it! BTW, watching a movie is simply observing others playing pretend. The act of mindful coloring helps me to be present in the moment and take a break from the stress I encounter daily being an adult.

      For more information on the health benefits of adult coloring, you can check out this site – “Coloring has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind. This generates mindfulness and quietness, which allows your mind to get some rest after a long day at work.”

    • What gives people the right to knock a pastime just because they don’t want to do it! What happened to live and let live! You are so condescending and arrogant. Why do you feel that your opinion is the right one? I am so pleased that I dont know many people like you.


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