Q&A with a colourist: Angela Hunter
I am SO excited to bring to you an interview with Angela Hunter AKA Angela Colorz, who is a colourist from North Carolina.
In this interview, she shares some of her colouring techniques and also gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her colouring workspace!
Q1. Tell me a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been colouring for? What inspired you to start colouring as an adult?
Im 48yrs old, and have 2 sons and 1 grand daughter who all live back home in Virginia.
I do many crafts – quilting, scrapbooking, rookie photography, and reading to name a few – and I’ve always loved coloring. Until a couple years ago, I’ve always colored with Crayola crayons. I took art in school for a couple years, and I’ve always been creative in my opinion.
Moving away from where I grew up in Virginia, to North Carolina, was how I ended up joining my first coloring group! Due to car troubles, I was left with no form of transport and was living in a place where I didn’t know anyone, so to make the days a little less boring, I started cruising Facebook groups to join.
It was around the time that coloring was getting popular again, and the first group I joined was Adult Coloring Worldwide – things took off pretty fast, and my coloring skills started to come back!
I now help manage 10 coloring groups, and also color for a couple of artists. I write book reviews too, and share them in groups from my Good to Know Products page on Facebook.
Growing up I remember sitting at the table and coloring with my Mom, so for me, coloring brings back those good memories. Memories I want my grand daughter Rae to have with me one day.
Q2. What are your favourite tools or supplies for colouring?
I use many mediums, but my favorite has to be colored pencils – I like the control you have with them. You can use a light pressure or apply heavy pressure, to give you different effects on a page, and all with one pencil.
I also use ColorIt Markers, pencils, gel pens, Sharpies, Bic Mark-its, regular crayons, Spectrum Noir markers, . I like to try new mediums that catch my attention and are in my price range. I have a few more on my wish list to try one day!
For these pages I have mixed my mediums and used Sharpies, Color-It markers, KOH-I-NOOR pencils, GellyRoll pen in white, ColorIt pencils, and a Staedtler pen.
Q3. How did you learn to colour, blend and shade so well?
I’ve been coloring since I was little. I would see pages already colored and wonder how certain things were done. I guess a lot of my stuff comes from trying them out and seeing if it works, making adjustments and trying again.
There is no wrong way to color, but usually, I’ll have an image in my mind of how I want it to come out. Then it’s just a matter of having that show on paper. All I encourage anyone to do is to keep trying until it comes out how you want, and don’t sweat it if it doesn’t! Sometimes those “mistakes” look pretty awesome.
I don’t really follow tutorials. It’s more that I’ll see a coloring I like and ask the colorist how they did it. Then I will go try my own. I find that no matter how much I try to tone down the brightness in my pages they almost always end up bright. So in the end, I stopped trying!
Q4. How did you choose the colour palette for these illustrations?
For the Scorpio Girl, I started with the flowers as I wanted something bright but also something that I could color two-tone. After the flowers, the blonde/brown hair picked itself, and to tie in the earrings and bring the outside colors in, I selected the same colors I used for the flowers and the dress. I used red on the pinchers to convey pain if stung.
Yellow is my least favorite color, however, I did a gray mix color for the body with yellow highlight. For myself, I have found that it is the best color to use for highlights, and I probably use it on 85% of my pages.
For the Blissful Mermaid, I narrowed it down by doing the obvious first: blue water, brown ropes and gray tones for the anchor with the mandala design colored to stand out.
I wanted the pearl to draw attention to itself. Then it was simply a case of determining where the shadows were. I tried to pick colors that were different than the surroundings.
I was undecided on her hair, and even after I colored it, I questioned if I had made a mistake. Out of all of the above, I wanted to make sure the jellyfish didn’t get lost – he’s pretty cool!
Finally, I added my yellow highlights to the water trail that was already given to me on the design, and I think it pulled everything together.
Q5. Are there any fellow colourists that inspire you, or you draw inspiration from? If so, who are they?
They all inspire me! From the simplest page, to the most difficult I’ve ever seen, it’s fascinating to see how a persons mind works on paper. How many times have you looked at a page and said to yourself “Why didn’t I think of that?!” That’s what inspires me.
There are a few colorists that I started out with in the Adult Coloring Worldwide Facebook group and I enjoy seeing the progress they have all made, and are still making. I call them my Colors Family! That’s Tracy, Annie, Cheryl, Momma, Kristin, Missy, Jolene, and Brandy. It’s been fun packed from the beginning with them!
More recently, Nicole and Niki have joined our Colors Family, and I enjoy watching them go through the same experiences we did when we first started coloring.
Keep in mind that very few of us have actually met in person, but when we all get together on a post, you can read and see the fun between us all and we seem to just click. The goal between us? To one day have a huge coloring party and we all get to finally meet each other!
Q6. Which colouring book illustrators do you admire? Can you remember the first book you ever bought, and do you have an all-time favourite?
I admire any illustrator that can draw! It’s like the starving artist, and they work hard to put out books for very little profit actually. I guess it’s a good thing they love what they do!
Coloring isn’t only about giving the colorist something to do, it’s equally about supporting artist too. Without the artist, what would colorist color? Without colorist, where’s the need for the coloring book artist?
Hopefully the artist has a good working relationship with some of his/her colorists, because as the colorist gets better and more comfortable with techniques and such, their taste in art changes and hopefully the artist can grow along with the trend.
There is always a new batch of newbies coming in, though, so even the older books that everyone has already heard about will be new again to the newbies to the coloring world. This is exactly why I think its a good thing to have artist post links to their older books as well as the newer ones. Or you could be like me…. find a book I like and research every book that person has printed and start collecting them! Nathaniel Wake has a good one getting ready to come out. I also loved coloring the Faces of the Zodiac ladies by yourself!
I have eclectic taste with coloring books — some days I just want something simple and fast to color, and other days I want a page that will take me hours to finish and make me concentrate more. If I ever have a migraine, or I’m in a bad mood, it definitely affects my coloring.
Q7. What are 3 top tips you’d give to someone who wants to improve their colouring skills?
There is no wrong way to color. Don’t stress over it and have fun!
When learning to shade, you have to imagine which direction the sun is hitting it, and think about where the shade would be. This is what I was told in my art class, and I ask myself this every time I start to shade on a page.
You will get better, just keep coloring. See someone doing something that interests you?Ask them about it! People love to talk about their work, and most of them will not hesitate to give you advice and encouragement because they were in the same place at one time.
Q8. Do you have a favourite spot where you like to colour? Or a place which makes you feel creative and “in the zone”?
I used to color in the living room, but my supplies got too big to have them with me in there all at the same time, so I converted my spare bedroom into an office and dedicated one wall for my coloring stuff.
Apparently, two thrown away cabinets spaced apart, with a door laying across the top, makes a great table! I’ve also added a long, strong shelf for my books on the wall above it, as well as a florescent light under the shelf for better lighting on my table. I’ve also created containers for easy access for my mediums. It’s a good thing I have a handy boyfriend – Jeff has made A LOT of my craft ideas. He even made me a cedar stool for my craft table!
Every colorist has a portable “to-go” coloring bag! There will be certain things a colorist will use every time they color, and you never know when the opportunity to color will arise when you’re away from home. My coloring bag was a gift that was bought at Camping World, and it has compartments for everything – plus it snaps shut, has shoulder straps, and is deep enough to even fit my coloring books.
This is everything I carry in my “to-go” bag. I have an electric eraser, flesh-tone pencil, jelly roll white pen and a pencil sharpener all contained within the side pouch. I usually carry a couple books, therefore, if my mood changes, I know I have a variety to choose from and color.
I love pencil cases, marker cases, pen cases! They make traveling and coloring so much easier, with no need to try to keep them from rolling off your lap onto the ground or possibly losing them all together.
When I work on a page and use pencils, I put the ones I’m using back under the elastic but I let it stick up a little so I can keep track of the colors I’m using on that page. I highly recommend ColorIt products for great prices and quality.
Q9. What is your favourite thing to colour and why?
My mood dictates what I color – there are days I want something quick and simple, something that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, and then days where I’m ready for something that takes my mind away from my troubles and makes me concentrate.
There are times a page will jump out at me, and something about it makes me want to color it, and times when I’ll see a page and colors just pop up in my mind and I know I simply HAVE to color it.
I really like doing group coloring with my coloring family, I will persist through coloring something I’m not really into if I know that someone in my coloring circle has said “Hey lets all do this page next!”. There have been a few times I just knew it wasn’t there for me, but I’ll follow along with everyone and just enjoy their work and conversation.
I have to say though, I do have a fascination with flesh tones. I’ve had that since art class in high school. If its not flesh tones, then its shadows, and I enjoy figuring out where the shadows and shade belong. I like for my pages to look like they have lifted off the page.
Q10. Name one thing you love about colouring
I love that there is such a wide variety of books to choose from – even PDF files now!
Q11. Name one thing that bugs you about colouring
Artists that don’t sign their pages, even pages in a book. Many times people tear out their pages, and after it’s posted for people to see, they are often asked who designed it. It doesn’t matter where you sign it, tiny is ok too.
Own your art – artist’s miss out on sales because there are so many out there that a colorist can’t remember them all. When a colorist sees a name on a page they like, the chances are they will look it up and order the book if it’s good, which could also lead to them looking to see what else you have published.
On a side note, because markers are a medium I use frequently, I prefer single sided pages.