Adult coloring book or other color-in project suitable for oil pastels?
July 28, 2017 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm not much for drawing. I don't like coloring with crayons, colored pencils, or markers. But I just remembered that I LOVE using oil pastels (like these). They're very satisfying to use but not great for fine detail. Do they make huge oversize coloring books? Is there some fast way for me to make my own huge paint-by-number or color-in design on thicker or higher quality paper?

I know very little about this kind of thing, so I don't know if there's a cheap and easy way to accomplish this. I'm open to coloring books, but in my experience the pages are usually kind of thin. I like to really push hard and blend the pastels, and I'm not sure that type of paper will work. This kind of book looks promising, but again, not sure if the paper is heavy enough.

Yes, I could project a design and trace it on a large/heavy piece of paper, and that's what I'll do if I can't find another option. But that's a bit more time than I want to take for a therapeutic art project, the result of which I'm likely to eventually throw away. I'm open to mounting thin pages on heavier background or something like that, as long as it's cheap and doesn't take me more than 15 min or so.

My improved mood and diminishing stress levels thank you!
posted by Knicke to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
oooo! You Are Here: An Owner's Manual for Dangerous Minds isn't oversized, but the paper is good quality, and the writing is lovely, and funny, it's perfect for de-stressing. Jenny Lawson is a goddamn treasure.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can make really simple, pleasant designs if you are OK with abstract, geometric patterns. I read once about ZenTangles and then used it as starting point for my own system which is:
using a fine point ink drawing pen (or maybe a selection of fine and medium points) make a line that goes from one side the other. Make another line. Make another one. Each line starts and ends by touching either a line or a border. (Circles and loops are allowed since the ends touch each other) Make exceptions to that rule when it seems right. When you have enough lines, stop and then start to color in the spaces using your pastels.

I notice that some days the drawings are all sharp and pokey, other days more curved and graceful. I try to just let it flow without too much judging. I think it is therapeutic to allow the drawing to take its own shape and color without having to fit into someone else's lines. (This is my own bias, but I feel sad about the idea of putting a lot of energy into tracing instead just letting the drawing be its own imperfect self.)
posted by metahawk at 2:14 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know how you roll but my spouse and I really dug this Wizards and Dragons coloring book from Dover (so it's inexpensive and reliable).

It has a sort of transparent "stained glass" paper with blacked out areas and color goes in between. Most have many rather large areas to apply color/washes/mixes, but it is standard 8.5"x11" stock. When you're done, you can tape it to the window and I think sunlight shining through pastels would look great.

Content: does what it says on the tin, nearly every page has a wizard and a dragon :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:25 PM on July 28, 2017

Oil pastels are fairly easy to sharpen with a pencil sharpener. I have a very large gauge pencil sharpener I got in a cosmetic section that I use for this purpose. You could also buy a combination core pencil set for detail and stick for covering large areas.

Get a design you like and transfer it with wax crayon lines to 140lb or greater paper, hot press smooth finish.

Caran d arche makes water soluble oil pastels that are very easy to use with brush and water for detail area, and stick for large areas.
posted by effluvia at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2017

Pepin coloring books can withstand watercolors, so I imagine the paper is adequate for oil pastels.
posted by xyzzy at 8:51 PM on July 28, 2017

Pepin books are awesome, but a bit intimidating.

Some adult coloring books have gotten "Artists' editions" in bigger, tougher paper for all media. You have most of Johanna Basford and Hanna Karlzon's coloring books in these editions, but a more adult one is Leila Duly's Floribunda.
posted by sukeban at 12:51 AM on July 29, 2017

You have the option of picking up some printable pages or adult coloring book PDFs, and printing them yourself on paper that's thick enough. If you take them to a print shop, you can even get them blown up a bit - printing letter-sized pages on 11x17 paper is almost 30% larger (with an extra space at the top and bottom), so would make some of the fine-detail sections easier to fill with the pastels.

If you go the print-them-yourself route, they won't be in a convenient book; otoh, you can put them in a folder or binder yourself, and only print the ones you like best.

If you'd like to do that but find that what you want is one page from one book, one page from another, and several lose pages, and would like to be able to print them all out at once, fee free to PM me for PDF help. I'd be happy to mix-and-match the pages to get you a set to print all at once instead of piecemeal.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:09 AM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just thought I'd mention the Color Our Collections program - a lot of museums have made coloring templates available, and you might find something there that's just right for what you want to do.
posted by kristi at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2017

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