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How to Color with Gel Pens for Adult Coloring - Advanced Techniques

How to Color with Gel Pens for Adult Coloring - Advanced Techniques

So, you have your new Crafty Croc gel pens set sitting in front of you but now what? Your book of mandalas is still looking a bit .... let's say, "black and white" so it's time to get some tips on how to color with gel pens! Below we have a bunch of advanced coloring tips and techniques taught by our friend Cher Kaufmann from The Artful Mandala and The Ancient Alchemy Coloring Book. Cher is an international author and artist so you are in great hands!

Also below is a detailed video tutorial from Cher with so much information that we can't hope to include it all in this post so we've just picked out some of the best bits!

Color Blending with Gel Pens

Some of the techniques Cher uses for her amazing coloring projects include color blending with gel pens. Different gel pens have slightly different properties. Below is an example of how different brands of gel pen smear differently.

Gel Pen Coloring Tips

Mixing Gel Pens with Color Pencil - Blending Technique

One of the techniques Cher uses most often is to combine gel pens with her color pencils when creating her mandalas.

As she notes, you are best to create a layer first with the color pencil as the wax in the pencil somewhat seals the paper and prevents the paper from balling and deteriorating using these techniques (see image below of balled paper).

Gel Pen Coloring Tips

Cher often colors with pencil and then places a line of gel at the edge. She then uses a flat ended paint brush to drag the gel pen in over the pencil, gently blending, filling in the gaps and creating a beautiful water color effect. In the video below she demonstrates how she either uses a dry brush or a slightly damp brush to pull the gel over the area creating different effects.

In the image below, you can see a small amount of gel has been applied at the top of the orange "petal" in the mandala (over the top of the color pencil)

Gel Pens

The next image (below) shows Cher using a paint brush to drag the gel over the color pencil and blend it in. The effect is very subtle but creates a lot of extra interest and dimension to the project.

Gel Pen Coloring Tips

Another strategy she uses is is making highlights with the gel pens. The image below shows how she creates bands of color to fill small fiddly spaces with pencil and then makes a little excitement and interest by blending gel pen into the project.

Firstly, small dots of color are added with the gel.

Gel Pens Tips For Use

Next, a slightly damp flat tipped brush is used to blend out the color highlights (Below)

Coloring Tips for Gel Pens

And the end result below with more excitement and interest in the finished project. As you can see, using this technique you do not necessarily need to stay within the lines to yield some eye-catching results!

Gel Pens - Coloring Tips

Again below, we see the use of gel pen layered over the top of color pencil. The pencil is applied first, then gel placed at the edge of the area to color and dragged in with the use either a dry or damp brush, depending on the look you want to achieve.


We hope this has inspired you to use your gel pens in new and exciting ways. Remember - do not be afraid to experiment with different ideas and techniques. There is no right or wrong way! 

In the video below Cher Kaufmann, international author and artist, shares helpful techniques and hints. This episode is all about gel pens.

Designs in this episode drawn by Cher Kaufmann from The Artful Mandala Coloring book. Check it out here!

Remember, share your own Crafty Croc gel pen creations on our Facebook page. We love to see what you have been creating and let us know if you have any of your own techniques for using gel pens so others can benefit too!

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