I’m Andrew, the designer of Rangoli: Stress-relieving, Art Therapy Adult Colouring Book.I hope those of you who have bought the book are enjoying the wonderful selection of Rangoli patterns inside, and are already pouring your own creativity and energy into them. This book has been designed to allow to to express yourself in whatever way you feel; whether that’s to help you forget about the drama of your day, or to help you create some drama! With Rangoli, I’m positive you’ll find the colouring process a rewarding one.
As you can see, I’ve been busy delving into the vivid world of Rangoli, and its celebration of light and colour. Today I’m going to impart some handy tips that I adhere to when I colour, which may help you get the most out of your unique designs.
First of all, I must stress that the environment in which you colour is very important (to me, at least!). I find it helpful to put on some music, which could be classical or techno, depending on my mood. You might enjoy silence, but I find that background music does well to help me concentrate and relax. Make sure that the lighting in the room is bright and neutral. It is preferable to have as much natural light as possible, but stay away from direct sunlight, as this washes out your design and may cause you to apply too much pressure on the page to get a stronger colour.
Medium – coloured pencils
I began using coloured pencils, which are my number 1 choice when colouring. They are the most versatile medium to use, allowing you to blend colours and apply at various densities. This makes the final result much more controlled, and much more varied!
I used Staedtler’s ergosoft pencils, which retail at anything from £7.40 – £10.50. I bought a 12 pack, which isn’t the widest selection of colours they offer (I’ve seen packs of 24). This limited the potential of my colouring session because these pencils aren’t the easiest to blend. I would definitely recommend buying as wide a range of colours as possible. These pencils sit in the mid-range of what is available on the market, and can produce some beautifully vivid results.
My favourite pencils would have to be Prismacolor’s (formally Karisma) Premier Soft Core Pencils. These are high-end colouring pencils and are superb when it comes to blending your colours and shading. If you are serious about colouring, I cannot recommend these enough.
The thing I love about coloured pencils is how flexible they can be when shading. The results can be beautifully soft and rich in depth. Using various pressure on the paper, I was able to create an appealing gradient effect.
*Tip: the trick here is to be sympathetic to the shape you are colouring. I have made each of my strokes curve in the same way as the lines around them, allowing the colour to truly mould to the design. This way, the depth of the shading enhances the shape.
The other great thing about pencils is the ease at which they blend colours together. Even contrasting colours like purple and green can blend without muddying too much in the middle. The core of the ergosoft pencils were definitely softer than a lot of other pencils of this type, but the overall application of colour wasn’t the smoothest I’ve experienced.
Medium – coloured fineliners
A great alternative to coloured pencils are fineliners, like these Stabilo pens. These pens are the best for producing vibrant colours, and the point size is useful for detailed work. I love using these to create loud and wacky designs, and even experimenting mixing these with coloured pencils to accentuate differents parts of the design.
*Tip: Don’t try to apply ink over coloured pencil. The sheen that coloured pencils leave behind doesn’t allow the ink to penetrate the surface too easily. You can apply pencil over ink, however.
These pens are great for colouring in blocks. You can’t really shade with these pens, unless you use the cross-hatch method or similar, which can be really effective! You must apply colour with these pens using the least amount of pressure possible. Not only does this produce the truest colour, but it stops you from turning the paper to pulp and going through to the next page.
These pens aren’t the easiest to control. If you have an unsteady hand, or simply prefer swift strokes, then be careful with going over the lines (which I did too often for my liking!). Once you’ve made a mistake with these pens, there’s no going back. Depending on the person, this can either be really stressful, or really exciting! It can also be difficult to avoid darker lines where the pen has gone over the same area twice, or tiny gaps in colour.
*Tip: Try not to worry about these issues too much, and wait for the ink to dry before patching anything up. This will help you see the finished result, which often differs from when you first apply ink to the page.
Your approach to colour
Improvising can be an exciting approach to colouring. I often do this because it be the most freeing, and allows you to focus on the present, without bogging yourself down too much with forward thinking or strategical planning. This approach is also the most surprising, because you can unlock your creative potential in some new and unexpected ways. If you are someone who enjoys the process of colour, and all of its therapeutic benefits, then this approach is for you.
Alternatively, planning your colour scheme in advance can be extremely rewarding. This I also do often because the finished results can be visually very striking, and can achieve a very specific effect. If you are someone who enjoys watching the fruits of their labour blossom into something truly gorgeous, then this approach is for you.
Of course you will watch your image become something beautiful through improvisation, and of course you will enjoy the process of colouring when you plan your design, but it can be useful to experiment with these different approaches to find one that suits you. The trick is to enjoy the process, whatever that process may be.
Experimenting with colour
Whatever your approach, it might be useful for you to consider some tried-and-tested colour combinations. I created my designs using a number of these, and the results were rather effective.
The colour wheel
Using the colour wheel, you can easily select a number of colour combinations. There are no hard and fast rules here, but if you’re a bit unsure of how to start, these guidelines are a great way to catapult you into the world of colour. A typical colour wheel composes of the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue; the three secondary colours, orange, green and purple; and all shades in between.
Complimentary colours are colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. Using complimentary colours can give your designs a feeling of real energy, and are a great way to produce a high contrast look. Use sparingly, though, as this combo can look garish if used too often.
Here I used two colours that blend easily together, red and orange, and complimented these with their respective complimentary colours on the colour wheel, purple and green. The results were vibrant and allowed each shape to jump out at the eye.
*Tip: When blending, try colouring in small circular motions, with little pressure. This way, you can gradually build up colour, allowing a smoother finish and greater control over the results.
Analogous colours are colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. This scheme works well if you want to create a particular mood or feel with your design, such as spicy reds and oranges, or opulent purples. It also allows you to focus on giving prominence to one colour, whilst varying this monochromatic approach with supporting colours. The results can appear quite neat and uniform. Sometimes, though, this scheme can lack the visual punch of complimentary colours.
As you can see, the analogous colour scheme creates a very strong tone and temperature. On the left, the motif reflects water and nature, whereas below, the motif resonates with fire and light.
Split complementary colours
Using a split complimentary colour scheme allows you to feature one colour prominently, such as green, alongside two colours that sit either side of that colour’s complimentary colour, red. In this case, that would be green, magenta and red orange. This can create a strong contast, as with the complimentary scheme, but allows you to vary your options with a greater selection of colours. Overall, however, this scheme can be harder to balance.
Here, I used green as a prominent colour, contrasted with magenta and orange. The results may vary, too, if you fancy using different shades of green and magenta.
*Tip: Some lighter colours, like yellow and cream, may require you to press harder to achieve the level of contrast you desire. Be careful when blending though, as the more colour you press into the paper, the more difficult it will be to apply another colour in to blend.
Triad of colours
A triad colour scheme uses three equidistant colours on the colour wheel, such as the primary colours. This can offer an effective balance between high contrast and balance. It doesn’t produce as much drama as the complimentary colour scheme, but makes up for that by producing a harmonious blend of colours.
Here I chose the primary colours, as I think they really pack a punch when placed together, which helped to frame the gentle analogous scheme next to it.
The tetradic colour scheme uses two pairs of complimentary colours. This scheme is the richest of all schemes, and the hardest to balance, but the results can be wacky and really vibrant. Use this scheme to create high drama with a wide selection of colours.
Using this scheme, I created quite a striking area of the design. Each element pops to the eye, and allows each colour to stand out and be as vibrant as it possibly can be. In this case, I simply didn’t care about looking too garish. For me, colouring Rangoli is just as much about splashing whatever colour on the page, as it is about creating a harmonious and refined design. I recommend trying both of these methods, to see which you enjoy the most.
*Tip: Try rotating the page as much as you can. This will allow your hand to mould to the shapes of the design, and is a great way for you to see your design in new and unexpected ways.
Limited colour palette
With the above design, I wanted to create little motifs that could contrast one another in the larger design. This is a great way to achieve a kaleidoscopic effect. This time, I wanted to try limiting my choice of colours to just four: orange, magenta, green and yellow. Using Stabilo’s fineliners, I knew that their bold colours could create an extremely striking image.
I chose a pattern that repeats itself here, to take advantage of the uniformity I wanted to achieve. My aim here was to produce a tiled look, that offers no real point of focus. As you can see, the results so far have definitely been eyecatching! This colour scheme is a lot of fun, even if it does remind me of 70’s wallpaper!
Have a play
The main thing to remember when colouring Rangoli is to have fun with it! These are your designs, and you need to own them. Try some of the methods that I’ve outlined above, and see which work for you. If something isn’t working, try something new.
*Tip: Visit your favourite DIY store and grab as many paint leaflets as you can. They usually have some brilliant colour combinations in them!
So remember, have fun, and I hope you’ve enjoyed colouring Rangoli as much as I have. If you haven’t bought your copy already, you can do so here, and remember to tweet us your designs at @SweetCherryPub.
Happy colouring all!