In the first part of our guide to coloring backgrounds, thecoloringbook.club filled you in on why backgrounds can play an important part your coloring page and we finished by showing you some simple techniques to get started adding a colored background using coloring pencils.
In the second part of our guide we show you some quick and simple alternatives to pencils, for adding soft and dreamy colored backgrounds to your coloring page. Forget expensive art supplies, our tips and tricks show you how everyday items like cotton buds or q-tips and dollar store makeup can be used to produce some beautiful backdrops.
Getting to grips with pastels
Soft pastel sticks can be used to apply backdrops to your coloring pages. These sticks come in a huge range of colors and can be purchased individually meaning you can build up a set over time, picking and choosing which colors you need as you go.
The Pastel on Paper Technique for Coloring Backgrounds
Applying pastel directly to your paper you will see that it leaves a dusty textured layer on the paper. There are areas where the pastel does not cover the paper and to spread out the pastel on the page we need to massage it into the surface. To do this you can use either a cotton wool ball, which is very useful for applying pastel to large areas, or a cotton bud (or q-tip), which gives much closer control over how you spread the pastel.
When using a cotton bud, apply small circles with even pressure, massaging the pastel into the paper surface.
As you can see the initial streak of pastel we applied to the paper has been transformed into a much smoother cloud of coloring.
The Pastel Blend Technique for Coloring Backgrounds
An alternative method is to apply the pastel to your cotton bud first and then blend it into the paper.
Using the same technique with the cotton bud, you can spread the pastel evenly across the page using small circular motions with even pressure. Reduce the pressure as you move out from the centre in order to produce a vignette effect.
This technique gives a much softer finish with less of a grainy texture from the pastel. It can also provide more control on where you color as you can direct precisely where and how much of the pastel you apply to the page.
Chalk it up to experience
As an alternative to pastels, sticks of chalk can also be used to produce a quick backdrop, perfect for coloring page backgrounds. The techniques to apply chalks to your coloring page are very much the same as pastels.
Apply chalk direct to the coloring page
Like the pastel sticks this produces a textured layer of chalk suitable to be brushed into the page with your cotton bud (or q-tip).
Being firmer than pastels, the chalk produces more dust and results in desaturated colors for your background.
As you can see, the chalk is much more subtle in it’s coloring, but is perfect if you want a gentle background that does not detract the eye from the main design on the page.
Blend the chalk onto the page
By adding the chalk to your q-tip and then applying to the page you get a similar soft effect to the pastel.
The chalk is harder to blend into the paper so it is often necessary to add multiple layers of the chalk before you get the covering and coloring you desire.
There is slightly less texture with the chalk that is applied via the q-tip, and the overall effect is pleasing.
Give your coloring page a makeover!
You can use that unwanted makeup that has been hiding at the back of your vanity unit on your coloring pages! Cheap mascara or eye shadow, is perfect for applying a soft dreamy backdrop to your coloring page.
Softer than pastel and chalk, eye shadow can be blended easily into the paper providing a very pleasing blush to your background.
Use the same gentle circular motion with your q-tip and you are able to produce a nice even coloring to your paper.
Mixing it up, use multiple colors to produce striking backgrounds
As we have seen, pastels, chalk and make-up are great for applying backgrounds. Once you have got yourself comfortable blending a single color you can add interest to your backgrounds by applying layers of color.
For pastel I applied a layer of blue, massaging the pastel into the paper with my q-tip. Then choosing a nice purple color I applied this over the blue by applying the pastel directly to my q-tip and massaging it into the paper tooth.
Blending the purple into the blue layer produced a dreamy background of purple and blue.
Blending multiple colors of chalk can also produce some wonderful effects. Here I chose a sunset yellow, which I applied direct to the page and then blended in using a q-tip. Because chalk is harder than pastel I prefer to apply it to the page first and then blend the color as this produces brighter colors.
By blending in the red to the yellow layer using my q-tip I am left with a very subtle sunset effect.
Finally, layers of makeup can also be applied one over the other, to produce a soft mix of a variety of colors. In the picture below two colors of a similar shade are used to produce a blended vignette effect.
Between our two articles we have shown how to apply pencil, pastel, chalk and even makeup to produce a variety of different background effects for your coloring pages.
Look out for our final post in the coloring backgrounds series where we will round up the techniques here and give some tips on keeping your pages clean whilst you work on the background. We will also conclude this guide by showing you a simple technique for applying lighting effects to chalk or pastel backgrounds.
Let us know
Do you have any tips on applying chalk or pastels? Or do you have an alternative to make-up that you use for your coloring? Let us know below.