How to Use the 2019 Ruby Charm Colors Creative Companion

Need a place to keep all your creative ideas and colored pencil lists / charts in one handy place? The newest addition to the Ruby Charm Colors project just might be the ticket—especially if you love to color, write, and stay organized.

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Original colored pencil art for the book cover, and the proof copy of the Creative Companion.

This unique 209 page book, which conveniently fits in most bags since it’s a little smaller than the Volume 1 & 2 Adult Coloring Art Journals, was designed especially for adult coloring book fans who need a place to keep all their notes and supply lists organized. While there is no right or wrong way to use the book, it is a place for you to explore (and keep track of) your creative ideas throughout the year through writing, coloring and even sketching.

Because this book is geared toward adult coloring book fans, there are formatted charts for seven of the most popular colored pencil brands (Polychromos, Prismacolor, Luminance, Pablo, Coloursoft, Holbein and Irojiten) and formatted charts for four popular watercolor pencil brands (Inktense, Albrecht Durer, Museum, and Neocolor II).

A big thank you goes out to the RubyCharmColors Facebook coloring community for helping me out with the “pencil poll”—the coloring experiences and knowledge you all shared with me has been very helpful!

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The Holbein colored pencil chart – ready to be filled in with your own pencils

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The Caran d’Ache Luminance pencil chart. I drew sloppy stars next to a few colors I need to order when I have a chance, and I also plan to mark which pencils I have more than one of. This will be super handy when it comes time to order more.

For each of the brands in the book, I included information about how the pencils are packaged in sets and how many total colors there are. There are also plenty of empty charts to fill in with additional pencil brands, and those charts include “space counts” on each page to help you take some of the guess work out of deciding how many pages you need to add your other brands. You can use these pages for swatches, but you can also (if you purchase your pencils individually or a few at a time like I do) use the charts to keep track of the pencils you have and what you still need or want.

I have accidentally ordered duplicates of some of my pencils, so I plan to use the charts to keep track of them so I don’t do it again—especially since I am on a budget. And I plan to jot down prices and other notes about my pencils. Keep this book handy at your desk, or take it along while shopping in your favorite art supply stores if needed.

As mentioned earlier, the book also has a section dedicated to charting popular watercolor pencil and pastel brands (Inktense, Albrecht Durer, Museum, and Neocolor II), a few blank charts, and room for charting out your gel pens. There are even black pages included throughout the book for swatching and charting your lighter colored pencils and pens.

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I used a mix of colored pencils, some pearlescent paint, and lots of gels pens to color this fish. There are a number of illustrations on black to experiment with in the book, so don’t be afraid to tackle them and make your colors leap off the page!

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I like to use small self-stick / removable tabs to mark the pages I use most often in my books. They can be found at most stores that carry office supplies.

In addition to all the charts, there is plenty of room to make lists, jot down ideas and techniques you want to try, tally up the coloring books you have (and want to get your hands on), or even make lists of your favorite YouTube colorists to follow. If you are addicted to social media, you can keep track of your favorite arty accounts. Or you can list your coloring or art projects and use the book to set goals for yourself.

You can even set it up like a bullet journal if you would like. If you are not yet familiar with bullet journals, you can check them out here and here for helpful overviews, and there are numerous websites dedicated to getting you started—just do a quick search. Some of the common features in a bullet journal are already done for you (like the index and calendars) in this book, but there should be enough free space to design the book the way you want.

The Creative Companion includes a yearly calendar overview for 2018 – 2020 (so you can easily look back or look ahead), plus 12 monthly calendars printed on black pages. You can write on them with pencils or gel pens, or simply use them as a reference and write down your important dates and events on the monthly highlight page next to it.

Like many of you, I use the calendar on my cell phone to set important reminders and keep myself organized day-to-day, but there are some things I wouldn’t (or simply can’t) put on my smart phone. It doesn’t let me be messy. I still like to write things down and love the feel of a book in my hands. The tactile nature of messing about with pens and pencils just can’t be replaced by electronics.

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Opaque gel pens, metallic gel pens and light colored pencils work best when writing or drawing on black. The back side of each month includes a full page illustration for coloring and the black page helps prevent the design from showing through.

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Each month in the book has a highlights page, plus lined pages for notes.

Oh gosh—I nearly forgot: there are lots of illustrations to color. Over 70! Some are small for those times you just want to play for a bit. Maybe while stuck on the phone, or when relaxing at a coffee shop, or while waiting for an appointment. Take it on vacation if you’d like because it can be a great little travel companion, too. Other illustrations fill up an entire page and allow for more sustained coloring sessions.

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I started coloring one of the leopards with a little watercolor and glittery gels pens. While the paper can handle some water, always use a protective sheet underneath. Same with markers as bleed-through can occur—better safe than sorry!

This book is meant to be used and get messy!

Don’t be too concerned if your book gets a little dog-earred and scruffy because it means you are exercising your creative side. The illustrations in the book are meant for playing with color and inspiring ideas so you can take things a step further if you wish.

My other two books, the Ruby Charm Colors Adult Coloring Art Journals, Volumes 1 & 2, have larger illustrated pages for your coloring masterpieces, and I also have PDFs on Etsy of all my illustrations for coloring if you are interested in printing on higher quality paper and card stock. The Creative Companion is just that—a companion.

Adult coloring has been popular for quite some time now, and I think it is exciting to see how many of you are taking your colorings to the next level by exploring patterns, texture, new techniques and new media to incorporate with your colored pencil work. It is healthy and satisfying to take part in the creative process, even if the bare bones are the simple lines of another artist like me. You have the ability to bring your own vision to a piece and fill it with your own magic.

Cheers to creativity, everyone! And if you have questions, comments (or even suggestions for my 2020 Creative Companion), please leave a note below!