When coloring over grayscale the gray serves as your guide. Think of it as an adult color by numbers without the numbers. Instead the darkness or lightness of the gray tells you how dark or light a color to use and where to apply it. Simply put, light colors over light grays, dark colors over dark grays and medium colors in between to seamlessly blend light and dark.
Some points to keep in mind:
Here is a little cheat sheet I provide at the beginning of the "Beautiful Creatures" grayscale coloring book:
Grayscale coloring in action
Now, watch these two time-lapse videos and watch how I apply my colors based on the darkness or lightness of the gray. As I apply the colors you will see the image come to life
What mediums should I use?
Colored pencils are the go to medium for coloring over grayscale but you are welcome to use whatever you prefer. Consider the grayscale as a guide for creating your own artwork. You can aim for a photo realistic result by using colored pencils or a more abstract result with oil pastels or acrylic paints. What's important to remember is that generally you want a medium that you are able to blend because you are trying to capture those various levels of gray and transition from one to the next somewhat seamlessly. Therefore, standard markers are not ideal but the blending markers can work.
If you are just starting out coloring grayscale then I would strongly recommend colored pencils as your main medium with others such as gel pens and fine markers for detail work (e.g. whiskers on a cat).
How do I capture all those little details in a picture (e.g. water drops)?
What is wonderful about coloring over grayscale is that those little details will show through your coloring and help bring detail and definition to your final piece. Of course, you can help to make it more impactful by accentuating these details when you color but it is not necessary to perfectly color every single detail.
For example, in the ladybug image below there are several water drops on the leaves. This seemed to be a daunting task. I thought I would need to carefully color each drop and then color around each one very carefully. Needless to say, it felt like the relaxation that comes with coloring was about to totally evaporate! However, to my great surprise, it was far easier and made me look way more talented than I expected! Basically, here's what I did:
I'm a Mom of 2 from Vancouver, Canada. I recently discovered grayscale coloring and loved it so much I published Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Nature because there were no high quality grayscale coloring books to be found. Join me as I write about the grayscale coloring techniques I have learned and that I am continuing to discover!