I am excited to announce that the Artist Edition of my newest book, Birdy, is now open for preorders! Shipping begins mid-September, so grab a copy early if you want to be sure to secure one. Quantities are limited as this book is independently published and being printed by a small press.
The Artist Edition of Birdy is a 9″ x 9″ square, spiral-bound soft-cover book printed on heavier 80# / 120 GSM paper. It is 140 pages.
My goal for this book was to create birds with an imaginary flair so you can color them any way you like. Imaginary birds open the door to a colorful world that begs for creativity. Don’t be afraid to color on the wild side!
Each design is printed on one side of a page so you don’t have to worry about ruining artwork on the back side. I also included two versions of each of the 28 designs because, based on years of feedback from colorists like you, some enjoy working with black line art (which can be easier to see) while others prefer lighter grey lines so they can more easily color over (or even recolor) the lines and add more of their own details. You don’t have to color both versions—my goal is to simply give you options. And if you prefer one style over the other, you can use the extra page for testing out your colors!
For eight of the designs, I created a special dark (or night) version so you can color with a black background, and I threw in few extra designs as well.
Please note: the less expensive version of this book will be available on Amazon.com soon. It is smaller (8.5″ x 8.5″) and is not spiral-bound. The paper is not as thick as the Artist Edition, but can still bring hours of coloring enjoyment!
My newest design⏤so new it’s not in the Colouring Heaven SeaLife collection⏤can be found here on my website, and also on Etsy. I really enjoyed drawing this Dolphin Trio and then spent a few days taking it for a test drive. My colors are a bit on the soft and muted side and there are a few things I might have done differently, but I had fun adding some extra details and giving my Caran d’Ache Luminance, Derwent Lightfast, and Irojiten pencils a workout.
If you are a part of the RubyCharmColors community on Facebook, we are taking the month of January to post photos (and maybe some videos) of how everyone is filling in their Big Book of Color Charts. Stay tuned because I’ll be doing a blog post about the benefits of color swatching and will be featuring color charts and pages from our community!
That’s all for now⏤cheers to a new year ahead, my friends!
Hi all, interested in joining a fun club that will offer you new coloring book artists to discover each week? And receive a free, exclusive, Ruby Charm Colors design for coloring in addition to 15% discount off all digital art in the RubyCharmColors Etsy shop?
Make your way over to the Colouring Heaven Discovery Club and sign up soon! You must be registered by noon (London time) on Thursday, October 8th, in time to receive your email featuring my exclusive design created especially for Colouring Heaven, and the 15% discount code, plus a fun interview and a few coloring tips and colored examples.
Your email from the Discovery Club will be delivered on October 10th, and don’t forget – the only way to get this particular design (still top secret) is by joining the club!
Join the Colouring Heaven Discovery Club and let us introduce you to a different artist each week! Receive an exclusive design, artist interview and discount code direct to your inbox every Friday at 6pm!
The rumors are true! A new ocean-themed coloring book is officially in the works and Oceanimaginary will be be published in / November (final date TBD)!
The book will feature creatures from the ocean and will be structured similarly to Insectimaginary and the other Ruby Charm Colors Art Journals with plenty of room to chart out your colors and experiment till your heart is content.All Ruby Charm Colors books are designed for adult coloring fans, but they are also terrific for younger coloring enthusiasts as well.
Give RubyCharmColors a follow on Instagram, and if you are a coloring addict and want to join the private RCC coloring community, come find us on Facebook and join! Meet our fabulous Coloring Team members including Paula Stone Leach (who color-tested the octopus above), Stephanie Johnston, and Lora King and Betty Hung (who colored the octopuses below), keep up-to-date on the latest RCC news, talk about art supplies and coloring techniques, see gorgeous colorings from our community for inspiration, and even pick up a few freebies to color now and then!
An octopus WIP (work in progress) by Coloring Team member Betty Hung
Though the phrase has become cliche, it’s true. Team work does make the dream work. I am lucky to have such a smart, talented and kind coloring team who support what I do, and want to share a little of what these amazing ladies do behind the scenes for Ruby Charm Colors. First and foremost, they truly motivate and inspire me to keep moving forward. And that’s half the battle, yes?
There have been times I’ve been close to giving up. Afraid I couldn’t do it all myself. Worried that devoting all my time to the project and not a “real job” was not going to help keep my head above water. The list goes on and on. And I am still dog-paddling. But a few kind words and caring gestures from the team at just the right times (and the support of my wise-beyond-her-years daughter and my amazing sister) helps me see that yes, I am going to be okay. I can do this. My team’s genuine interest in my art, and willingness to not only color it but help promote it, is my life boat.
Amazing things can happen when people believe in you.
I met my team members last year through Instagram originally, and we struck up conversations through comments and private messages. They had purchased my art through Etsy and colored it, and each time they shared what they had done over social media, I was in awe. They were not only coloring my art, but having fun with it. And even more exciting? They were taking my designs to the next level, each in their own creative way.
Once the team was together (virtually, since we are spread across the globe) we came up with a loose and fairly organic plan to help promote my work. Loose because I have always felt that too many rules stifle creativity, and organic in that the actions the team takes should always be fluid and grow and change as needed. And some great ideas have come out of this arrangement as well as some wonderful videos, promotional materials, and even tutorials. I keep the team supplied with line art to color (and other goodies when I can), and they rally around my latest ideas and work and help cast it out to a wider audience.
The team started a Colorist of the Month celebration through our Facebook community, and ran contests and color-alongs (which would be really difficult to keep up on my own). And when it was time for me to start working on my first self-published books through Amazon, they were there to help me sort through the good and bad ideas and deal with snafus. I spent hours upon hours staring at my computer screen working on the layout and making sure all of my designs fit, and felt lucky to have such smart, talented people just an email or text away. Friends to give me a pep talk when I was close to tossing my laptop out the window. Friends I could confess my frustrations about print quality and paper quality to. Friends to just say “hey, we got this.”
And over the past year, we have become friends. We jump online now and then to share stories and have a few laughs about our lives, and yes, plenty of talk about art supplies and coloring, too. I feel lucky.
So thank you, Paula, Lora, Betty, Steph and Lucia for being my dream team. You are all so very special to me in your own unique ways, and you are all appreciated.
Cheers to art supplies, coloring, creativity, and a very happy 2019 and beyond!
After months of work, my third book, the Ruby Charm Colors Creative Companion: 2019 Organizer and Coloring Art Journal, will be available on Amazon just before Thanksgiving. It is a cousin to the Ruby Charms Colors Adult Coloring Art Journals, but more geared toward journaling and keeping track of your creative needs.
As an artist of adult coloring pages, and as someone who loves colored pencils, I wanted to design a book that could keep all my creative necessities together—things like lists of pencils and other art supplies I have and need, calendars to help me keep track of projects, events and appointments, room to make yet more lists of things to do, blog post ideas, project goals, new techniques to try, a list of YouTube videos and podcasts I want to check out, and more. I can do a lot of that on my phone, but sometimes it is nice to have a real book—especially for the pencil charts. And yep, it’s also a book you can doodle and color in.
After getting to know so many wonderful people in the coloring community, I realized others might be interested in a book like this, too. Something that’s big enough to write in when needed and color in when the mood strikes, yet small enough to toss in a bag for trips to the art store (have it, have it, need it, want it) and compact enough to pack in a carry-on for vacations so you’re never too far from a creative outlet.
It is a book that’s meant to get messy. Fill it up with scribbles, colors, ideas! Let it become your well-worn, dog-eared friend.
The book is currently going through review, and once it is ready for sale, I’ll post an update and show you the actual book. In the meantime, you’ll have to be satisfied with a picture of the cover ….
The Ruby Charm Colors Creative Companion: 2019 Organizer and Coloring Art Journal
You may have seen the time-lapse videos of my purple cat (aka Autumn Cat) in progress on Instagram and Facebook, but the videos move so fast I thought I would break them down a bit and offer another tutorial that incorporates the wax-resist technique I talked about in Volume 1 of the Ruby Charm Colors Adult Coloring Art Journal.
A line drawing with some open spaces for you to add your own patterns (can be the main subject or the background—I used page 99 from the RCC Art Journal, v.1)
Gel or metallic pens for embellishments if so desired
A decent desk lamp
Since I hadn’t yet charted my Neocolor II pastels in my book (which I took apart and spiral-bound, but that’s for another post), I used up two pages to swatch out all 84 colors. The top tray contains my favorite go-to colors and the bottom tray contains the colors I don’t use as often:
Color Charts from the Ruby Charm Colors Art Journal
I can’t say enough great things about the Caran d’Ache Neocolor II pastels, by the way. They are creamy, vibrant, and a little goes a long way. If you want to try them, I’d suggest grabbing a few single pastels from Blick to take them for a test drive before investing in a whole set. Also, make sure you get the Neocolor II Aquarelle (watersoluble) pastels if you want to use them like watercolors! I ordered a set from Amazon and received the Neocolor I Wax pastels (which are like crayons and quite wonderful, too, but not what I wanted for my work). Whoops. The set of Neocolor II pastels I have now were a gift from a fellow creative friend and I am still (still!) so thankful of her generosity and kindness.
Once I had my pastel colors charted, I had to figure out what kind of patterns I wanted to draw on the cat’s face to create the wax-resist. I started with flower shapes under the eyes, a few circles, some spiky shapes between the ears, etc. using a white Caran d’Ache Pablo pencil.
I mentioned this in a few other posts (Wax-resist Mouse and also Resist: Using Colored Pencils to Repel Watercolor) but the best colored pencils I have tried for wax-resist are the Pablos, Prismacolors and Holbeins. I have also used the Blender Bright stick and that works really well, too, though it needs sharpening more often. You’ll also need to have really good lighting so you can see what you are doing and differentiate between the shine of your waxy pencil over the matte surface of your paper especially if you are working with white. In the first video below, you can see how I needed to move my lamp around a bit—it is challenging, but be patient because once all your lines are down, the magic begins.
I scribbled a little Aubergine Neocolor II pastel onto the tray of my Winsor & Newton watercolor case, added a little water to mix up the paint, then quickly painted over the white lines I drew on the cat’s face. It takes a second for the wax to resist the water, but when it does, your designs will appear! Next, I added a little red Yasutomo Niji pearlescent watercolor to the Aubergine for the top of the cat’s head.
Important!Don’t make the mistake of coloring with pastels (or watercolor pencils like Inktense) directly over the wax-resist patterns you just carefully drew because it could destroy your design. Instead, mix your watercolors separately and apply them to the paper (and over your wax-resist designs) while they are wet. Also, I used a Caran d’Ache medium tipped water brush though you can use any brush you feel comfortable working with.
And … depending on the paper you are working on, be conscious of how much water your paper can take before it warps or possibly even tears. The paper my cat is printed on can take small amounts of water but it is fairly tough and I have never has issues with tearing. It will buckle a bit, but I’ve found it does smooth back out once it’s fully dry and I start coloring on it with pencils.
My travel-size Winsor & Newton watercolor sets on the left and the Yasutomo Niji pearlescent watercolors on the right. The Niji’s are quite inexpensive and they add such a beautiful sheen on their own or mixed with other paints.
In the video, you may have noticed I painted the cat’s nose a seemingly weird and bright green (Winsor & Newton Sap Green) but I knew that once I added a little purple to it, I would get the hue I was aiming for—a sort of brownish purple with hints of green I could later emphasize with my pencils. Using a flat brown just wouldn’t have given the nose the same depth and interest. I dabbed the same green over the eyes and added brown on the inside of the ears ( Winsor & Newton Burnt Umber). While my paint was drying, I used Prismacolor Light Aqua, Polychromos Cobalt Turquoise, and Holbein Naples Yellow to shade the eyes, and then a Luminance Buff Titanium pencil to give the eyes some lift. Faber-Castell Pitt pens (S and XS) were used to blacken the eyes and make them pop.
After that, I used a big mix of colored pencils to start refining the cat’s face. Luminance, Holbein, Polychromos and Prismacolors for the larger areas, then my Irojiten pencils for the smaller areas and for redefining some of the lines. I flit through a lot of different colors and pencil brands but try to stay in the same range (more or less).
The nice thing about coloring over lines that are more grey than black (in printed books or pages) means you can add new color over your lines a little more effectively. Why do this? It can make your colorings look more dynamic and artful and less like pages from a coloring book.
It is okay to color over and outside the lines and put your own stamp of creativity on a coloring page! Don’t be afraid to experiment!
I used a few blue and purple Irojitens around the cat’s face and ears. I keep them pretty sharp, and each time I draw a section of line, I have a habit of rotating my pencil so I am always working with the sharpest edge.
I kept bouncing around with my pencils, pulling more colors into the mix and enhancing the wax-resist shapes I had created earlier by coloring around the white lines and not over them. I added a touch of green to the leaves, for example, and a bit of red to the flowers, etc., and just kept working my layers around and up to my white lines. Little touches of color that add interest and variation but don’t overwhelm the overall purpleiciousness of the cat. I used Luminance white and Buff Titanium to smooth out the lighter parts of the cat’s face, and also the Blender Bright to do a little blending and final burnishing in places.
More blending and burnishing in the video below in addition to finishing the left ear with Irojitens (Mulberry, Iris and Plum) and Polychromos Bistre so it would match the other ear. A little more work on the eyes with a Pitt pen, plus I added a few dots of embellishment with a Sakura Souffle gel pen (turquoise) and a Gelly Roll white.
After the face was done, I started working on the body of the cat. Instead of white, I used a Grey-Lavendar Prismacolor to draw my wax-resist shapes (mostly flowers so the body would compliment the face). It was so much easier to see what I was doing while drawing my patterns, but the pencil left a lot of crumbs on my paper. It helps to have a dry brush handy for whisking them away.
Instead of just scribbling a little of the Aubergine Neocolor II pastel on the palette, I used my x-acto blade to scrape pigment off the pastel itself into the lid of my Yasutomo Niji pearlescent paints (because I planned to do a little more mixing with them).
I wanted the body of the cat to be a little darker than the face because 1) it would bring the face forward and give it more emphasis, and 2) it would give me enough contrast against the Grey-Lavendar Prismacolor designs I drew. I mixed a bit more of the Aubergine pigment with water, then added in a few dabs of the coppery-red Niji paint to give the Aubergine some depth and luster. (Unfortunately my camera doesn’t pick up metallics very well, but it looks so rich in person.) I put down a quick layer then went back over the flowers with a touch of the gold and coppery-red Niji paints to enhance them a little.
Now for the funky stripes … lots of Holbein Ice Green and Sky Blue circles and then Neocolor II pastel (Night) over the top.
I didn’t take a time-lapse of the final steps—more pencil work to enhance my colors and adding more gel pen embellishments—but here is the end result is all its purpleicious glory.
If you give this wax-resist technique a try, I would love to see and hear how it works for you.
Comment below, and /or if you post your work on Instagram, please tag me so I see it!