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What Is Grayscale Coloring?

If you are asking yourself what is grayscale coloring, the answer is quite simple! Grayscale coloring is the process of coloring over a grayscale image. The different shades of gray (grayscale) create depth and dimension to your colored image. Unlike ‘traditional’ coloring, where there are large expanses of white and the finished image is flat and two-dimensional unless you add your own shading, grayscale coloring has the shading already built in 🙂 Of course, you can still add your own shading to enhance and develop the shading in the grayscale base, however if you don’t want to – you don’t have to.

Grayscale coloring shares similarities with the old fashioned method of tinting photos to give them color. However, today grayscale artists are creating designs and artwork specifically for colorists to bring to life with color. If you love coloring and haven’t given grayscale coloring a try, download one of the freebies in our Facebook group to give it a try.

Photorealistic Grayscale Coloring

Many people love to achieve realistic results with their grayscale coloring and seek to achieve photorealistic results by using realistic colors. However, there are no rules when it comes to coloring and you can create whatever effects you want when coloring over grayscale images. Just because you are coloring over a realistic looking person, doesn’t mean that you need to stick to realistic colors. Use different colors to achieve fantasy and whimsical finished art.

Lady Grayscale Coloring Pages

I create the grayscale coloring pages that you find here using a range of digital techniques. When I create the designs, I take particular care to ensure that the grayscale image gives you the definition you require. Often this entails working and reworking the base image before converting it to black and white. The reason for this is that two colors may be very different in hue (for example red and green) however they may appear almost identical when they are converted to black and white.

Grayscale Coloring Photos

You can certainly color over black and white photos to achieve similar effects. Convert your own photos to black and white or look at one of the free stock photo sites, such as, for photos which are free for you to download, make black and white and color. You will find these photos at the base of many coloring pages. The one drawback with using photos rather than specially created grayscale coloring pages is that photos are not optimized for grayscale coloring. However, for practicing, or creating some artwork which is very personal to you, these can be a great option.

Grayscale coloring is a great form of coloring for beginner and more advanced colorists. Beginner colorists can simply color over the base image ‘as is’ and more experienced colorists can take it one step further by blending and using other coloring techniques. To learn more about coloring grayscale coloring pages check out How To Color Grayscale Images.

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Braided Lady Coloring Page

Sign up to our Inner Circle newsletter and you will receive this lovely braided lady grayscale coloring page to download and enjoy.  She’s a fun coloring project which contains a mix of features, from the detail in her eyes through to the tie-dye style background.

I asked artist, Liz Worthington, to color this page and I am delighted as to how she bought it to life. Liz used Prismacolor pencils to color this grayscale page. Prismacolors are an artist quality brand of colored pencils and they are ideal for blending and putting down color.

You will see how Liz has made this picture really pop from the page by the use of bright and bold colors. The rich blue tones on our braided woman’s braids are truly eye-catching.

If you would like to learn more about Liz’s work, visit her artist Facebook page.

If you want to have a go at coloring our braided lady, sign up to our newsletter  (this will ensure you receive new freebies, plus tips and advice for coloring grayscale).

Tips for Coloring Our Braided Lady Grayscale Coloring Page

Here are some tips to help you get started coloring our Braided Lady coloring page:

  • Before you start, plan! Take a look at the key features of the page. We have the lady’s face, her hair and the background. Choose colors which will work together without one overpowering the others.
  • If you don’t want to embark on the complete page, just color the lady and leave the background. This will create an interesting effect.
  • Print out a spare page to use as a test to try different colors and shading. Try coloring a couple of braids first on the scrap paper before moving to the finished page, so you can experiment without fear of ruining your work so far.

And when you have finished, pop into our Facebook group and post your photo there so we can see. We love to see your finished work 🙂

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How to Use MediBang To Color Grayscale Coloring Page

Here’s a short run through showing how to use the free app, MediBang Paint Pro, to color a grayscale coloring page featuring a close up of a pair of eyes. This is a great way to get started, try some different brushes, colors and opacities to see what effects you achieve  🙂

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What Are Layers In Digital Painting Programs And Why Do We Need Them?

Layers are a feature of many digital painting programs. They may seem a bit of an odd concept if you are not used to them, however they are invaluable once you really get into coloring.

The best way to think about layers is to think of lots of transparent sheets layered over the top of an original image. You can add all sorts of decoration, detail and textures to these layers, but underneath the original image stays the same.

And this is how layers work on digital painting apps. You can add layer after layer, changing and refining the coloring of your grayscale page. If you don’t like a layer, just delete it and start again. One of the joys of layers is that if you mess up one part, you haven’t ruined the whole artwork.

Blending Layers

Another exciting feature of layers is that you can blend the layers to create different effects. If you were to color, using a solid color which is 100% opaque, it would hide completely your base image. Therefore you’d either change it to a transparent color, so your base image shows through – or you can use one of the blending options. The best way to demonstrate this is by video. I am using MediBang Paint Pro in this short video:

You can see that each blending option has a different effect. Try different ones and see which effect works best for you.

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Introduction To MediBang Paint Pro For Coloring Grayscale Coloring Pages

MediBang Paint Pro is a free, highly featured art app which is perfect for coloring grayscale coloring pages. Yes, there’s a learning curve (this is an app which many people use for creating comics and other artwork) and there are many features we simply won’t need for grayscale coloring, however when we weigh this up against the fact it is free (there are many paid for apps which are nowhere near as fully features), that you can use a high resolution coloring page (many coloring apps have low resolution files) and you can use it on any device (start coloring on your phone and finish on your tablet), it’s got to be worth taking a look at.

Note: There are ads on MediBang, some are simply ads to their own services, but others aren’t. I just ignore them. They aren’t too intrusive and there’s currently no way to pay for a premium service to switch them off.

The image above shows you where to find things on your MediBang screen. I said there’s a lot there 😉 I’ve highlighted the features that you will use. If you want to explore and try others then that’s great – but we’ll start with these basics.

Loading a Grayscale Coloring Page to Color

To load an image simply click on the ‘Import’ icon. You will be prompted to browse and import an image from your gallery.

Navigating the Working Area in MediBang Paint Pro

You’ll find the brushes and colors on the left and the layers on the right. You can create more space by closing the layers panel (click icon as you can see in the video below) and you can expand the brushes panel by clicking on the star at the bottom left)

There are a range of different brushes you can use in MediBang. Just like ‘real’ brushes, each gives a different effect. Click on the brush you want to use and you can adjust the size and opacity of each brush.

In addition to the brushes that add color to your page, there are also other tools, such as the smudge and blur tool which soften the edges, and the erase tool which, well, erases 🙂

One of the features of many painting and photo manipulation apps and software is layers (if you are not sure what this is, check out this short tutorial).

You add new layers by clicking the + sign on the layers panel on the right. Choose the blending option you require to blend the colors into the grayscale background.

How to Save and Export in MediBang

You have two options to save or export your work. If you save your work you can keep the layers etc so you can continue working on your artwork. If you export you export the ‘finished’ version in either JPG or PNG format. One of the features of MediBang is that it works on many different devices, so if you save a document, you can open it on another device to continue where you left off (you have to register for this feature – but it’s free).

So that’s just a quick walk through of how MediBang works. It looks complicated, but if you just concentrate on the features you need, this is a great way to digitally color grayscale coloring pages.


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How Do You Color Your Grayscale Coloring Pages?

grayscale pencils

So how do you color your grayscale coloring pages? Do you love to use your pencils and pens, or are you more a digi sort of colorist?

That’s the great thing about grayscale coloring – and coloring in general. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it. No one way is ‘best’, what works for you is best for you.

If you are happiest grasping your treasured pencils or chalks then that’s what’s best for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer to color using apps and software then that’s going to be what makes your art fly.

How to Color Grayscale Coloring Pages

While there’s no right or wrong when it comes to coloring grayscale coloring pages, there are a couple of coloring rules which are useful to remember. Thse are simply to use light shades on light areas and dark shades on dark areas. Part of this is obvious, a light lemon color just isn’t going to show when laid over a dark black area, however when it is used to shade a piece which is white or predominantly white, the light lemon shade will show through. Likewise, a deep red color will really pop when used to color over a dark area of your page.

Coloring Grayscale on Paper

The type of results you achieve when coloring grayscale coloring pages is going to be determined largely by the paper you use. While great results can be achieved on a variety of paper, if you use very thin and flimsy paper, the results will be less impressive.

You will achieve very different effects depending on the coloring method you chose. Soft pencils, pastels or chalks will give you a softer effect while pens and markers will give a deeper effect. Watch when using markers as they may cause the ink to smudge. If in doubt, do a test on a scrap piece of paper first.

You can also achieve great effects using watercolor pencils. These are similar to use as colored pencils, however when you brush water over the areas you have colored, the colored pigments are released into the water and a painterly effect is achieved.

Digital Grayscale Coloring

If you love digital coloring then there are a wide range of options available to you. There’s an ever increasing number of coloring apps available and many of these will allow you to upload your own images. While some of these apps are basic ‘flood fill’ apps, which means that a block of paint fills the space you click, others closely mimic the real coloring experience, giving you the choice of different brushes and color types. If you are interested in trying this type of coloring app, one of the best is the app called Pigment.

A free coloring applications is MediBang. This is free for desktop, Android and Apple devices. There is a learning curve, but the results you can achieve even on the oldest and rickiest of devices, makes this worthwhile.

And of course, old faithfuls like Photoshop, Paintshop Pro and other applications can all be used to color grayscale coloring pages.

How do you like to color your grayscale coloring pages? Pop over to our Facebook page and let us know 🙂

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How to Install MediBang for Grayscale Coloring on ANDROID

Installing MediBang on your Android device is simple. You install it in exactly the same way as you would any other apps. Navigate to the Google Play store, search for MediBang and select the MediBang app.

Click on the ‘Install’ button and you will be prompted to accept:

The app will then install on your Android device. When it is installed, just click on the icon and you will see the welcome screen:

If you want to use MediBang on different devices you’ll need to sign up for a free account. You can do this by clicking on the three lines on the top left of the page.

In the next tutorial we’ll look at getting started coloring 🙂

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How to Download and Install MediBang Paint Pro for Grayscale Coloring

If you want to try to color your grayscale coloring pages using a digital painting app then we highly recommend MediBang Paint Pro. You can find this on the Apple or Android app store if you want to use it on a device. However, if you want to use MediBang Paint Pro on your desktop, it’s simple to do! Just head on over to the MediBang Paint Pro website.  Ensure that the English version is checked at the top and select either the Windows or Mac download option (MediBand is a Japanese app).

One of the benefits of MediBang (other than it is free with some super features), is that it is a relatively lightweight program. This means it will be quick to run on your computer and won’t eat up a lot of memory.

When you have downloaded MediBang and installed it on your desktop you will see a welcome screen like this (I am using a Mac but Windows will be similar):

If you want to set the language you can do this in the language option box (top right). The app will choose the language based on your computer’s operating system, but if you want to select a different language just choose one from the dropdown box. You will have to restart the program in order for this to take effect.

You will see you have the option to login or sign up. You don’t need to signup (but you do have access to more features). I have done so, as I want to use the app on different devices. If you sign up you can continue coloring on different devices.

That’s all there is to it! MediBang is now installed on your desktop and in the next tutorial, we’ll look at how to get started using MediBang Paint Pro.

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Free Coloring App for Grayscale Coloring Pages

Yes, you can grab your pens and pencils and get going with your grayscale coloring. However, if you want to have a go at digital coloring (and be warned, it is just the tiniest bit addicting 🙂 ) we enjoy and can recommend the MediBang Paint Pro app.  There are, of course, many other coloring and painting apps and software programs available, which we’ll look at too, however we’ll concentrate on using MediBang.

We recommend this app because:

  • Medibang Paint Pro is FREE! There are no monthly/annual subscriptions, no paid for additional services, no restrictions or watermarks – it’s 100% free
  • It has a wide range of features, allowing you to create great works of art with your grayscale coloring pages
  • The MediBang Paint Pro app can be downloaded and used on iPad / iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac, which means you can use it just about anywhere, at any time on any device
  • We’ll be sharing tutorials to help you get started.

MediBang is a little more complicated than some of the other more basic coloring apps available. However, while this gives a slightly bigger learning curve, what you gain by the additional features and functionality greatly outweigh any negatives.

We’ll be posting videos showing you how to get started, so stay tuned 🙂