Today I am going to be talking about colouring. To be exact the 2017 Colouring Pens and Pencils on the market. I have mentioned before about the important part adult colouring plays in helping with mindfulness for mental health conditions. But today’s post is more a round-up of what colouring materials are out there whether you are new to the world of adult colouring or you are a crafter who has been developing your skills over a period of time. I would put myself in the second category as I want to make it clear that I am not a professional artist just someone who loves being creative. The range of colouring materials is so vast that today I am going to focus on pens and pencils and leave ink pads and other mediums to another post.So, if you want to find out what is available read on while I delve into the world of colouring pens and pencils…
Colouring for Pleasure and relaxation
So let’s begin with, well, beginners. For anyone who is considering taking up a creative hobby for mindfulness purposes, relaxation or just to rekindle the inner child there are various good quality products available. Here are some of the ones I have used and can recommend.
I have written a whole post about these before and for someone looking for the basics, I still recommend the same products. Spectrum Noir Colorista markers. You can read my post about them here and I recommend purchasing them from their main UK stockist Crafter’s Companion. You can see the full range on this page of their website.
Docraft Artiste Pastel Dual Tip Brush Markers
If the Colorista range is more than you are looking for a cost-effective way to take up colouring would be this pack of Docraft Artiste markers available from Hobbycraft they are still high quality and acid-free but as they come in a pack of ten you get a good range of colours. If you prefer something a bit stronger they are also available in Bright and Vintage sets too but personally, I am a fan of pastels as they are so versatile especially for floral designs.
Colouring Pencils for Beginners
If you prefer the idea of using coloured pencils to pens my best recommendation is again Crafters Companion and their Colorista range. They range from sets of 8 pencils for £4.99 to the complete collection of all six sets for just under £30 unless you join the club as I have done and then you get a saving.
Another option for beginners would be this set from Hobbycraft from the Manufacturer Artist’s Loft they are great value at £5 for a set of 36 and they have several good reviews. Again this is a direction I would send you in if you are new to colouring or wanting to try out a different medium I will not be recommending the basic pencils I have as I do not believe they are good enough to recommend, one of the reasons I invested in a better quality range but this collection does have some good reviews.
Painting for beginnersI will be honest if I am wanting to create watercolour effects I am more likely to use pens or pencils to do this but I am aware that many people may wish to use traditional watercolour paint blocks. If this is the case I would certainly recommend these paints as a great starting point. You have a good range of colours at a very affordable price, these are again by the Artist’s Loft and sold by Hobbycraft.
Intermediate Level Crafter’s
I am now going to look at some of the more advanced products available on the market. Many of these span from Intermediate to the professional level but as I previously mentioned I am an adult colourist and crafter but not an artist. I don’t feel it is my place to make that distinction.
I have quite a collection here depending on the style you are looking for. Firstly let us return to Crafter’s Companion and Spectrum Noir.
Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers
The Spectrum Noir System of alcohol pens is a large collection. There are twelve sets of six marker pens each in a different complimentary colour group. You can find these on the Crafter’s Companion website here. These pens are a step up from the colorista range and each come with refills available as well as changeable nibs so basically when you have collected them all you can maintain them as you go along which is great for anyone looking to reduce their wastage. Once your collection of packs of six is complete there are then four sets of 24 pens to complete the whole collection these are lights, darks, nature and vintage.
Spectrum Noir Illustrator Pens
The Illustrator range is new for 2017 and a step up from the central Spectrum Noir System although they are based on the same colour range. However, although the system comes with code names the Illustrator have both these codes but also actual colour names which is much more meaningful for someone who prefers to “follow the rules.” They come in 8 sets of 6 pens which I have and I love. The pens are if possible even smoother than the main system and have a lovely brush nib. There are collections of 12 pens available too which expand the range and you can also buy these sets of 12 together as a bundle.
If this is not enough they have made the pens available individually or open stock as this is referred to so you can create your own unique collection. If you prefer a chisel tip to a brush marker there is now a set of Spectrum Noir Graphic Pens which are again new in 2017 provide this Graphic Artist based level of pens. These are available in the same configuration as the Illustrator ones. Sets of 6, 12 and individually.
Other Alcohol Markers
There are obviously other alcohol markers available and the main ones are Promarkers by Windsor and Newton found here at Hobbycraft. Having used some of these before I can say they are fantastic quality and come in a broad range of colours and the colours are all named rather than using a numbering system like the Spectrum Noir System. Being who I am I like to have complete sets and in the end, I sold the Promarkers I had as it was more affordable for me to build a complete collection of Spectrum Noir’s than it was for me to collect the Promarkers. Have I regretted that? Occasionally when I have wanted a shade that I used to have in the Promarker set that isn’t in the Spectrum set but ultimately with the introduction of the Illustrator range I stand by this.
The other main option which some people would state is the best of all is the Copic range, you can see a selection of ideas here at Amazon I think the fact that a set of 358 pens costs just short of £2,000 may give you an idea if collecting these is within your budget however do not be put off from looking as you can get smaller starter collections for a far more affordable price. I will again leave it to you to consider what your personal priority is, mine was having an affordable entire collection.
As well as this massive collection of alcohol marker pens Spectrum Noir from Crafter’s Companion also other further ranges of pens. These include the fantastic Aqua range which is (unsurprisingly by the name) water based marker pens. I have the whole collection of these and they are fantastic. As previously mention, personally, I find it much easier using a marker pen (or ink pad) with a water brush rather than a paint block to do water colouring effects. They are available in four collections of twelve pens or you can buy the complete set together.
Alternative Watercolour pens
One of the popular choices at the moment is the Kuretake Zig range of clean colour pens available here from Create and Craft. I have not tried these yet but to be honest, even though I have and love the Spectrum Noir Aqua set if I have the spare cash I may be tempted to get and try these at some point as they are so highly recommended and look like they have a thinner nib than the Aqua ones so may be good for detailed work.
Another popular set of water-based markers available from Create and Craft is the Tombow set. These are acid-free and available in a large range of vivid colours but they are not light-safe if this is something you need to bear in mind.
I bought my Aqua pens on a special offer over a number of payments and I certainly can see that they are a considered purchase. If someone is looking to have a collection on a restricted budget this set of 36 Artiste watercolour pens from Hobbycraft are a lot more affordable and would certainly be a good compromise. I do not have these but have other items from the Artiste range that I have been very happy with.
Another option is this set of Derwent Graphik water based markers again from Hobbycraft which split the difference in terms of price and are well recommended although I haven’t actually tried these. It is worth pointing out that this collection is only available online and not in the Hobbycraft Stores
Gel pens are fantastic for colouring for relaxation and for providing highlights to art pieces. I found this set by Original Stationery on Amazon and I couldn’t be happier with them. They contain a selection of different finishes including neon, glitter, metallic and a pastel chalk finish. I love the colours they come in, the only reason I don’t use them far more often is that the barrels are very narrow and I do get some pain in my hands after using them for too long, for anyone without the complications of arthritis in their hands I can completely recommend them and I am sure you will not be disappointed.
If you are looking for something sparkly but gel pens are not quite what you have in mind other popular options are these Kuretake Wink of Luna from Create and Craft they come in a set of 6 metallic colours. There is also some glittery Wink of Stella options available. I found this well-priced set of 12 pens available through Amazon.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a post from me if I didn’t also bring your attention to the Spectrum Sparkle range from Crafter’s Companion. These come in very affordable sets of three pens or in three larger collections of 12. My handy hint here is that if you get the collection of 3 clear overlay pens you can do exactly as the name suggests and overlay these over any colour of your choosing to create your own sparkly finish. There is, however, a lovely violet shade that is only available in the boxes of 12. I do not have this because I have built up my collection with the sets of 3. I now have all bar the metallic set which I hope to have soon!
The original sets have also been augmented by some lovely festive colours courtesy of Leoni Pujol again from Crafter’s Companion.
Intermediate Colour Pencils
I don’t think it will be a surprise to you that I am again kicking things off with the Spectrum Noir range. They have two distinctive sets of pencils in their intermediate range. These are the Spectrum Noir ColourBlend set from Crafter’s Companion which is wax based, they blend well with blending solution (solvent based) and paper stumps which are also sold by Crafter’s Companion. Once again I have the complete collection of these pencils and use them when I wish to produce a softer look. They are currently on offer if you buy the whole bundle.
The only other oil-based pencils that have really made a name for themselves are the Faber-Castell Polychromos found here at Hobbycraft I’m sure there are people that will argue in favour of the Polychromos but I have been so happy with the Spectrum Noir’s that I haven’t felt the need to try them out. I will leave it to you to decide which you prefer. Do let me know in the comments though.
The other offering from Spectrum Noir is the AquaBlend Pencils from Crafter’s Companion which are obviously blended with water. I do not have this collection at the moment but I would not be surprised if I invest in it in the future because I have been so impressed by all the other ranges I have and my current watercolour pencils were a fairly cheap purchase and can be frustratingly scratchy at times which is why I have not recommended them anywhere in this post.Obviously, other watercolour options are available and some of the best-recommended ranges from Hobbycraft include the Derwent Inktense range and Faber-Castell watercolour collection.
2017 Colouring Pens and Pencils
I hope you have found this round up useful. If you are considering getting into colouring or crafting for the first time as you can see it can be a bit of a minefield. Do let me know in the comments if you think there are any important entries I have missed. Do you agree with my opinions? Would you like me to try any new products that are not widely known? Ultimately I would say have a good look around the websites I have suggested and see if there is something you would like to try.