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Gel pens are difficult to control but can make your art vibrant and beautiful. Check out this article for some tips and tricks for using gel pens.

You can get really creative with gel pens because of their vibrant colors. However, if you do not know how to use them, things can get messy quickly.

Gel pens are very different from your typical coloring tools, such as crayons or watercolors. But once you get the hang of it, you can make some beautiful pieces of artwork. They are kind of similar to color pencils since they work on the same principles but are more difficult to control.

We will take a look at some creative coloring tips and techniques for using gel pens to improve your artwork.

Some Tips and Techniques for Coloring with Gel Pens

1. Create an Outline First

For most beginners, it is always helpful to create an outline of things you want to color. This ensures that you can color with maximum precision. The ink of the gel pen is another factor. Since gel pen ink spreads around a bit, having an outline proves useful.

This allows you to have an idea of how much the ink will spread and how you need to color to make sure that the ink does not cross the outline.

2. Obtain the Perfect Color Scheme

You can choose from a wide range of color schemes. There are warm, cool, complementary, monochromatic, analogous, and triadic colors. Each of these colors has distinct characteristics and separate color spectrums.

Warm colors such as red, orange, yellow give off a cozy feeling. Cool colors are calming and relaxing, such as blue and green. Monochromatic color means the different shades of one particular color, such as different shades of grey.

If you want to improve your coloring skills, you will have to practice using all these different color schemes. You can check out The Creative Folk to learn more about color schemes and palettes.

3. Choose Fast-Drying Inks

Some gel pens are better for coloring and drawing than others. It also depends on what type of coloring you want. Some gel pens dry up fast and prevent the color from spreading. This is beneficial when you want to draw something with vibrant and crisp colors.

Other gel pen inks tend to spread a lot because it takes time for them to dry up. You can use them when you want to create a smoky effect. This is a skill you will learn after practicing and developing your coloring techniques. So stick with pens that dry up fast if you are a beginner.

4. Use Different Textures While Coloring

This is a great tip often used with coloring pencils. Since gel pens use the same method for coloring, you can use them here as well. Some common textures include polka dots, stripes, swirls, etc.

Polka dot is when you color the whole art by adding small dots. You can change the space between each polka dot and its size to create beautiful artwork. Strips are simple; you can create strips vertically or horizontally for coloring your artwork. You can use a swirl texture with either one color or multiple colors. Try them all out and see what fits your style.

5. Use Cross Hatching to Color over another Color

If you feel that the color you used to paint is not the right one, you will need to use two shades of darker colors, or an entirely different color. In these cases, you can try cross-hatching over the initial colored texture.

Cross-hatching is a technique where you use tiny grids with intersecting sets of parallel lines. This ensures that the bottom layer of the color is not visible anymore. However, do not use this technique multiple times because it will ruin the paper and could darken the whole area.

6. Blend Different Gel Pens

This is an advanced coloring technique. You can blend gel pen inks like you blend other coloring items such as watercolors or oil paints.

However, this is not as simple as blending watercolors or oil paints. You need to have other tools to blend multiple gel pen inks. You also need gel pens that do not dry up fast. The tools you will need are erasers, silicone spatulas, thin bristle paintbrushes, or cotton swabs that have a flat end on one side. You will also have to use your fingers to blend the wet gel inks.

If you do not want to use these extra tools and only want to work with gel pens, then you need both wet and dry inks. The first thing that you need to do is to color the art with wet ink. Then, before it dries up, color over it with the dry ink.

When the two types of ink settle, it will create an amazing blended effect. Be prepared for a lot of trial and error before you can finally master this technique.

7. Combine Gel Pens with Markers

Sometimes, gel pens may not satisfy your coloring desires. For that, you might need some extra coloring tools. The ones that go best with gel pens are markers. You can use neon markers, glittering markers, fluorescent markers, or felt pens.

This is much easier to do than other coloring techniques, such as blending or cross-hatching. This is a perfect choice if you are a beginner and want to create some beautiful effects.

8. Always Start with Darker Colors

A good painter always starts working with the darker colors, then gradually moves towards the brighter ones. This allows more freedom because if you start with the light colors first and dark colors later, the darker ones may blend with the light colors and mess up your artwork.

However, if you use dark colors first, you can create an overlay with light colors or use them to create shades.

Final Thoughts

How you want to color something with gel pens completely depends on your creativity. You can use whichever technique or method you want. However, there are advanced techniques you should only try after mastering the basics. Gel inks are harder to control, so you will need to be patient and practice a lot to make those colors pop.