Coloring with Markers in an Amazon Coloring Book: Pros and Cons

Today I discovered that it is completely possible to color with markers in a coloring book that was published through Amazon.

Earlier this week a potential customer asked me if she could color in one of my Amazon-published coloring books with markers. I wasn’t really sure what to tell her. First off, I’m more of a colored pencil person and rarely use markers. Secondly, I’ve never colored in one of my own coloring books because I prefer to work from copies. It was a good question, though, and I found myself with some free time today and decided to check Amazon’s paper quality for myself so I could give her a tried-and-tested answer.

Amazon has been very good to me, but I can’t defend their choice to offer such limited options in paper stock. Most colorists prefer a thicker, more durable paper, and a lot of people have expressed frustration with Amazon’s books because of their less than ideal paper quality. In spite of the negatives, however, my experiment had some good final results. Not perfect, mind you, but better than I had expected.

Materials

For this experiment, I used Sharpie markers and one of my own coloring books that I removed from publication so I could work on it some more and just haven’t quite gotten back to it yet.

Observations

The Sharpies flowed very smoothly onto the paper. Since the paper isn’t glassy smooth and seems to have just a little bit of tooth, the marker had something to stick to, and it gave the background almost an attractive watercolor-type effect. The paper didn’t shred or ‘pill’ when I colored very heavily in some areas, so in that aspect it performed better than I had expected. The color did bleed through to the back, but I avoided damaging the other page by putting a protective sheet of blank paper between the drawing I was working on and the next page in the coloring book. In the end, the most important thing to me was how the finished product looked, and I was happy with the end result.

Results

I think it’s pretty safe to color in an Amazon coloring book with markers as long as you put a piece of paper behind it to protect the next page in the book. If you want a heavier paper stock, though, your best option is to copy the image onto the type of heavy-duty paper of your choice.

This is the finished product. I colored the whole thing, including the background, with Sharpie Markers. I deliberately over saturated some areas to see if (or how badly) the paper would bleed through.

Here’s the back of the picture. The paper isn’t especially thick, so you can see the coloring from the other side.

I put a piece of paper between the two coloring pages because I didn’t want to damage or ruin the page behind it. I was expecting large areas of bleed-through in the areas where I had deliberately over-saturated the ink, but this is how the paper looked after I’d finished the page.

End result: The ink showed through on the opposite side of the coloring page and spots of color bled through to the protective sheet, but it didn’t do any damage to the next page.

In addition to my concern about the back of the paper, I was also worried about ‘pilling,’ which is where the paper starts to come apart when it gets too wet and forms little balls, or ‘pills’, on the surface. As you can see in the extreme closeup, that was not an issue.