Colouring Glossary 

I will update and add terms to this as needed, but please enjoy and share with anyone you think would enjoy it! 

General Terms 

WIP – Work In Progress

Tooth – The amount of texture on a page – the more textured a page is, the more tooth it has. Generally, more tooth is considered better, particularly for coloured pencils. 

Paper weight – Thin paper will not hold many mediums very well and may bleed through to the next page, bed, indent or shred with wet mediums. The thicker the paper, the more it will be able to hold.

Cardstock – Very thick paper, used mostly for covers. Used in very few books for pages, although there are more coming out recently.


Blending – Mixing two or more colours to create and effect or different colour.

Shading – Using a different colour to create the illusion of shadow, depth and realism. 

Layering – Colouring the same area multiple times with one or more colours to create a denser colour and/or better coverage.

Burnishing – Filling the ‘tooth’ of a page. When the page has been layered as much as it can be, the layers take on a shiny look. This is used to create shine in some pictures (for example a window, mirror or key) and used to create a glossy, photo like finish in others.

Pointillism –  Creating a picture or an element of a picture using dots. Most frequently done with pens, but can be achieved with a firm,well  sharpened pencil.

Crosshatching/Hatching – Using multiple strokes in one or more directions to create shadowing. 

Scumbling – Colouring in a circular motion to avoid lines and streaks in the finished product. 


Pencils – Sometimes referred to as pencil crayons. 

Pens – Can be used to refer to colouring markers, ballpoint pens, writing pens, artist pens, or fineliner pens.

Markers – A colouring tool filled with ink. Used to achieve a more vibrant colour than pencils, although markers are harder to blend and layer. Easier to apply than pencils.

Textas – An Australian term for markers, often children’s markers.

Crayons – Generally referring to wax children’s crayons. An unreliable, although easy to apply medium. 

Fineliners – Refers to a marker that has a 0.8mm nib or smaller, these markers generally come in sets of less than 30 and are wonderful for colouring intricate spaces.

Alcohol markers – Markers that have alcohol in their ink. These markers are usually more vibrant, although generally unsuitable for colouring as they do bleed through one or more pages when used. EG Sharpies and Copics.

Water based markers – Markers that are unlikely to bleed when used normally on medium thickness paper or above. These markers are also water soluble. EG Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Faber Castell Connector Pens, Crayola Supertips

Pastels – A medium consisting of pure pigmented powder and a low colour binder. 

Pastel pencils – Traditional Pastels in a wood case, making application and finer details easier.

Soft pastels- Also called chalk pastels, fine, highly pigmented powder in a stick/bar or pencil form. Easily applied and blended.

Oil pastels – Oil paint pigment in pastel form. Much harder to control, used often in painting rather than colouring. 


Polychromos – Faber Castells’ artist brand of oil based coloured pencils. Available in a range of 120 colours.

Prismacolor – A very popular wax based pencil, renowned for the incredibly soft core.

Inktense – Derwents’ unique style of water soluble pencils. Different from watercolour pencils in that the pigment is acrylic ink. When water is applied, the pigment is much more vibrant than traditional watercolours and dries permanently, as pen ink does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s