The past few weeks have been busy for the Ruby Charm Colors project director (that’s me) and book maker (that’s me, too) since there has been renewed excitement over the Black Magic coloring books. The original Black Magic has been around for over a year, but Black Magic 2 made it’s debut this month and I could barely keep up with the orders for both of these special, unique handmade books. That’s a good thing! Given their highly labor-intensive nature, however, I will only be making them in limited batches a few times a year now, so if you see them in my Etsy shop, grab them before they are gone. You can also add your name to a “restock request” in the Etsy listing so that you are notified via email when the books are available again.
Better yet, join the private RubyCharmColors Facebook community of colorists to stay in the know. Once you get to the main RubyCharmColors Facebook business page, just click the “Join Group” button, answer a few quick questions so we know you are legit, then someone will let you in. Once in the group, you can see a beautiful collection of RubyCharmColors illustrations colored by members of our wonderful little community, and some of them are on black—lots of inspiration, and lots of support in the form of tips and encouragement, too.
Each book is personalized with the new owner’s first name embossed in gold, silver or copper, and I have recently added Sapphire blue to the newest batch of Black Magics.
Each cover takes about an hour to personalize from start to finish because I hand-color each bird with colored pencils (and sometimes watercolors) and also embellish them with metallic and gel pens, and a little Wink of Stella. Every book cover is unique to it’s new owner, and though they may seem expensive for a coloring book, based on the quality of the materials I use and the time I put into each one, they are actually quite reasonable.
The Black Magic 2 books feature the heart with cicada design on the cover, and I follow the same process to personalize each one.
Once the covers are complete and fully dry, I add a clear plastic protection cover, an introduction page with a few tips, 25 illustrations printed on one side of each page, two blank black pages for testing your colors, a heavy black sketchbook backing, and I then bind the books together with a spiral coil across the top for ease of use. I also include a heavy plastic page you can move around the book to protect the page below whichever page you are working on.
Coloring on black pages can produce beautiful pops of color, though it does take a little getting used to. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your different pencils brands, and you can use some watercolor as well (as long as you don’t completely soak the page). All of my handmade Artist Edition books are printed on 65 lb. card stock so they are fairly sturdy and take pencils and some watercolors quite well. You can take a look at two of my previous blog posts about coloring on black here and here for additional tips.
If you don’t want to spring for one of the Artist Edition Black Magic books (sadly, they are quite expensive to ship overseas) you can still try your hand at coloring on black by downloading PDFs and printing them at home on black card stock.
I highly recommend using a laser printer! Ink jets will work, but the black lines will be a bit more faint and difficult to see on the paper. Laser-printed pages offer a little more contrast and the ink is shinier so it is a little easier to see. Several craft stores (like Michaels) carry black (or very dark charcoal) card stock and my favorite so far is the Recollections 65 lb card stock found in the scrapbooking aisles. If you have an inkjet printer, maybe try charcoal tinted paper along with black (just in case the black doesn’t allow you to see the black ink adequately). And of course you can experiment with other colored card stock tints as well.
My most recent coloring on black is my newest illustration for coloring, Three Frogs, and I am using Karen Spencer’s gorgeous mica watercolors with a Kurtake waterbrush. You can learn more about Karen and her amazing watercolors here.
It’s always a challenge to capture the reflective nature of metallics in photos, but in person, these paints have a truly magical shimmer!
I am currently taking pre-orders for both Black Magic books and will begin shipping them at the end of June. Once this batch is sold out, they probably won’t be available again until November (in time for Christmas).
Happy coloring! And if you give one of my coloring designs a try on black paper, tag #RubyCharmColors on Instagram so I can see it!