Coloring Book!

When my brother and I were kids, we would occasionally spend a few days staying with our maternal grandparents while our parents went off on business or took mini vacations (from us, presumably). Grandma’s idea of the perfect entertainment was activity books. My favorite kind were dot-to-dot. I loved seeing a picture come to life THAT I HAD DRAWN ALL BY MYSELF, WITH NO HELP AT ALL. Granted, my efforts would not have been nearly so impressive without those numbered dots, but I liked to think of them more as “guideposts.” (After all, we couldn’t have me drawing an elephant when the picture was supposed to be of a teacup.)

Of course, there was also coloring. We’d sit quietly for hours, wearing down crayons, occasionally fighting over who got to use the blue next (because sky) and filling books with layers of waxy color.

All this came back to me when I stopped in at Michael’s the other day and laid eyes on this beauty:

creative cats book

Flipping through it, I became thoroughly enchanted, instantly picturing these intricate line drawings bursting with gorgeous color. I had to have it! Yes, I am an adult! And yes, I want to color!

One of the reviewers of this book posted a picture she’d completed and, when asked, said she’d used gel pens. It looked amazing. I immediately ordered a 48-color gel pen set and then looked for images to practice with. Via Pinterest, I found this page, which has several images of cats to color, including this intricate face:

intricate cat face

It made a great practice piece! I used metallic and neon colors from the gel pen set and it turned out, oh, let’s say…vibrant. (Dude says he wants to see it under a black light.)

cat photographed

I discovered that gel pens don’t particularly lend themselves to blending, but you can layer them nicely and they do a great job of covering the color that was previously there. For instance, there used to be a smudge of pink where I’d put my hand in some wet ink and then transferred it to the image (very frustrating!), but the neon yellow was able to cover it up completely. So that’s a great advantage to the gel pens.

I had to photograph the image above. At first I tried scanning, but, interestingly, my scanner refused to pick up all the colors, no matter what settings I played with.The best I could get was when I put a sheet of black cardstock behind it; even then, it came out nothing like reality.

cat scanned

Still trying to figure out how it recognized the orange color in the corners of the eyes, but not the huge swaths of orange in the eyebrows and whisker area. Go figure!


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