One, Two, Three, Stress-free

In our fast paced world, a slowing down with the rhythmic motion of coloring can be calming as well as fun. It is such an effective tool it is used as part of Art Therapy helping those express themselves in painful, difficult or stressful times. Below is Health Coach, Jill May who has used this in her practice. She is even sharing with us her own coloring of The Coloring Company’sThrive” download.

So while it may not relieve all stress, there is joy in the coloring.

Jill May is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the owner of Decide 2 Thrive, LLC.  Her practice helps parents whose school age children struggle with emotional and mental health issues.  Using a variety of tools and techniques, Jill strives to help kids reach their full potential and truly thrive in life.

When you subscribe (yes it is free!) to The Coloring Company you will receive the “Thrive” coloring page to download and color as my gift to you. Just click on the blue pencil, “click here” subscribe button and join the fun today.

Pass along the passion,


A Beautiful Entry

Our friend Patti, entered the “Color This Dish Food Network Magazine’s coloring contest and kindly allowed me to share her entry with you.

Entries are closed now, so it is safe to post for you to see. If any of The Coloring Company’s colorists win the contest please let us know! We would love to pass along the kudos.

Color This Dish entry
Color This Dish entry

How Many Colored Pencils Are Too Many?

Such a question! I could say, “when they don’t fit in my colored pencil cabinet anymore.” Don’t laugh, I am sure I am not alone in this pencil passion.

pencil cabinet

The real question is why “more” may be better than “less”.

Yes, I love organization, as you can see. Also, the minimalist movement thrills me. So maybe when I pair down all my belongings, all I will have left is my colored pencil collection. They are stored neatly by color, because when you need a specific color you don’t want to dig thru hundreds looking for it. The wonderful thing about this cabinet, is the doors slide right out to place on my drawing table, like small rainbow segments.

slightly open

One reason for so many, is I have different brands of pencils to achieve softer and richer tones which those allow. Some are better for sharp detail and others for creamy blending.  (A post for another time.)

Secondly, I have shared with you the richness of layering colors. This process is very labor intensive. My youngest and oldest students complain of their hands getting tired after coloring for awhile. I smile at my wee ones as they need to build up some strong hand muscles. But I sympathize more so with much older artists, who may have arthritis, and the desire to color is only restrained by an aching hand.

Going right for the desired shade of purple for instance is much easier than than layering to achieve the color. But there is yet another reason.

greenspurples pinks

Some colors, like a soft peach or cream tone is much more difficult to achieve by blending. Coloring isn’t meant to be frustrating. Make it easier and get the bright blues, aquas, purples, pinks and ruby reds. Get a variety of soft creams and flesh tones. Find your favorite shade of pink. These are the colors that are hardest to create from a box of 12 colors.

single drawer

Delight in the kaleidoscope of colors available, just don’t forget to use the others to enrich them.

Pass along the passion,


Update 1-14-2017: Here is the fun mug Jill mentioned in her comment. These are just the ones she keeps handy in her kitchen for “when the mood hits”. Ready for inspiration!

– I love it.



A Peek into the Process.

A 24 pack of colored pencils can be as daunting as it is exciting. Here is just one approach from beginning to end. You will see you can stop anywhere along the way and have different color styles. Let’s get started.

leaves step1With just one color you can create a lot of form. Think of the brown pencil as a regular no.2 yellow school pencil you are using to shade. This example series is created with the Crayola 24 pack. Step 1 done entirely with the “Brown” color.


Build up form.

Build up form around the veins and leaf edges. Using the small tight circle motions and the pressure of the pencil, smoothing out the brown from the lightest lights to the darkest darks. You can also add more dark at the end of your process.

Leaf3As you go, add more darks to the leaves in the background. The shadowed leaves are very important to give your foreground leaves the pop and push they need. (Please note: the color is still the same brown. There is a slight variance in the photos.)

leaf4“Golden Yellow” is added to the highlight areas. Place the yellow everywhere the light would kiss the leaves or branch.

Now it is coming to life.

Remember to guard your light colored areas. Don’t overwork them or they will get muddy.

leaf5The mid-tone is added with “Orange”. The “Yellow Orange” would work fine too since the next step is red. The orange is placed next to the yellow, using it to blend into the brown.

“Red Orange” is added next to the orange and brown. There is no place now for the red orange to be place by itself. It is simply a tool used to blend and enhance the colors beneath it. Feel free to add a lot more red if you want the leaves to have an overall red look. But still keep some of that yellow shining through for highlights.

leaf6Lastly the cool colors are added for a richness in the depth. You can use them more subtly than I have or even place them on top of some brown. I used “Blue”, it looks like navy in this box and “Green”. The colors don’t get more basic than those in this box. These all come in their 12 pack too. I say shoot the moon and get Crayola’s 64 pack, or any brand that is available.

Additional smoothing of the layers can be done by coloring additional layers overlapping some colors.

leaf7finalAnd there you have it, the final piece. Edges cleaned up where the occasional rush went outside the lines. The lines make it easier, but there is freedom in free draw. Down the road we will try some free draw together. For now have fun exploring different color applications.

Your color skills will grow faster with a more limited box, forcing you to learn the blending and color wheel properties. Oh, that is for another day.

It is a glorious sunny day here in the midwest, a perfect day for coloring.

Pass along the passion,


Disclaimer of Material Connection: As of this post I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let the Light Shine

This one, is so simple, you probably discovered it already. If not, you are missing out on one of the quickest and easiest ways to add form to an otherwise flat piece of art.

Pro Tip: Use that white of the paper to your every advantage. Here is what I mean.

Let the LIght Shine Art

Let the white “light” come through and have a beautiful day.

Pass along the passion,


Life is like a box of colored pencils.

Anything is possible.

Forrest Gump would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get.” Life is also a bit like a box of colored pencils, there is no undo or delete button. You can’t cover it up like with any paint medium. Just like life, coloring takes some planning to get what you want, or you get what you get. The planning process can be as much fun as the coloring.

Start by thinking in layers of colors, testing on a scrap of paper first until you know your colors and brand of pencils well. Brands will very in results. More on that another time.

 Fun Experiment: Pick two colors – any two. Make a swatch with one first, then layer the other color on top. Now do it again in reverse order. Go ahead, give it a try. I’ll wait . . .

What did you get? Two different results, right? Sometimes the difference is subtle and other times it much stronger.

Color Layer ExperimentWhy does it do that? The first color stains the paper. The first has dibs on how it is going to turn out. You will have to pile on a lot of color layers to “undo” that first color, if you can. It is like that life lesson of knowing where you want to end up and working towards that goal each step along the way. It makes the process so much easier and fun than trying to fix the results you don’t want.

Pro Tip: Build color with layers of colors for more depth and richer art. Instead of just grabbing the purple pencil experiment by adding some blues and pinks.

Most of all HAVE FUN.  Your box of colored pencils is calorie free joy.

. . . signing off in search of chocolate.