Q&A with a colourist: Diane Lloyd

I often see my colouring page designs brought to life by very talented artists, and of course, I’m in awe of the level of detail and thought that goes in to them. The different types of colouring styles, and individual take on things, really does blow me away! Diane Lloyd, despite her modesty during our conversations, is one of those people.

She’s very kindly participated in a Q&A session for us, and I hope this gives you a little dose of colouring inspiration! If you’d like to see more of her work, you can find her on Instagram @di.lloyd.

Q1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. How long have you been colouring for, and what inspired you to start colouring as an adult?

I’m a 53 year old mum and nan (3 children and 5 grandchildren). I’m also a hairdresser, but very part time. Most of my days are geared around the family.

I’ve always enjoyed colouring. Even years ago, way before it was popular for adults to colour, I would search the shops for colouring books. Back then, I would buy pattern source design books that weren’t even meant to be coloured in, but they were all there was, unless you bought children’s books with horrendous paper!

Q2. What are your favourite tools or supplies for colouring? What colouring medium(s) have you used for these pictures?

My favourite tools are pencils. I have hundreds of them, but my favourites are . I love too, as they blend so well.

I also have a whole set of which I hardly ever use as they don’t layer and blend.

For these pictures I used pencils. For the brunette, I used mostly , and for the blonde I used Prismas.

Q3. How did you learn to colour, blend and shade so well? Do you ever follow tutorials and have any you’d recommend?

The ability to blend and shade is a recent ‘skill’ I have only picked up since the adult colouring craze took off.

Before then, my colouring was purely block style and done with felt pens; but this was because there weren’t all the beautiful books available and I was totally unaware of YouTube tutorials.

Now I watch tutorials all the time, and study artists pencil drawings to see where they have laid highlights and shadows. I am no artist. I can’t draw a straight line but I am fascinated by the process of bringing a picture to life with colour.

I don’t follow one particular artists tutorials – I lap them all up. I probably spend more time watching tutorials and studying pictures than actually colouring!

Q4. How did you choose the colour palette for these pictures?

I always start faces with the eyes. Once the eye colour is done, it tends to influence the rest of my picture.

If I choose brown eyes, I usually make the lady a brunette or give her black hair. If she has blue eyes, I tend to make her fair. I think I lean towards brunettes as I find dark hair easier to do, and so it was the brunette girl I did first. When you mentioned to me that the Taurus Girl reminds you of Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, I decided to colour her again as a blonde.

I have to say, I am delighted by how different the same girl looks with different colouring.

Q5. Are there any fellow colourists that inspire you, or you draw inspiration from? If so, who are they?

Yes definitely. There are some incredible colourists on Facebook that constantly amaze me with their talent. They are true artists who produce work I could only ever dream of emulating. People like Maria Pain, Davlina Art, Alta Stern….too many to name.

Since I cannot draw, I accept that there is a limit to what I will ever achieve with my colouring. I cannot add backgrounds or enhance a drawing to make it unique. I have to deal with the picture as it stands. But, having said that, I am still learning all the time and that keeps me interested in the hobby.

Q6. Which colouring book illustrators do you admire? Can you remember the first book / colouring magazine you ever bought, and do you have an all-time favourite?

Of course I have to say a huge thank you to Johanna Basford. She really is the queen of adult colouring. I remember the first time I saw in Waterstones, I was immediately in love with the exquisite illustrations. Finally, there was a book I could colour that wasn’t aimed at children and didn’t include a series of mundane patterns!

Since then of course, there have been a flood of adult colouring books. My personal favourites are , and .

Q7. What are 3 top tips you’d give to someone who wants to improve their colouring skills?

  1. Watch every tutorial you can find. Not just colouring tutorials but drawing ones too.
  2. Find a medium that suits you. I have grown to love pencils but if you prefer gel pens then great.
  3. Be patient! Accept that sometimes you’ll be pleased with the results and sometimes you will want to rip it out the book. Learning any new skill takes time and hard work – colouring is no different.

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 colour on the sofa in the lounge. I have a lap tray and I colour while my hubby watches tv. It’s where I feel most comfortable and I can spread all my colouring ‘stuff’ out beside me.

I rarely colour up at a table or anywhere else. I see people colouring on the beach or by the pool on holiday and it horrifies me. What if they get sand on their work? Or suntan lotion? Or water?

My books are precious to me. I couldn’t risk spoiling them. I do take my colouring on holiday with me, but I tend to buy a magazine and take cheaper pencils.

Q9. What is your favourite thing to colour and why?

I am obsessed with colouring faces at the moment. I love watching them literally come to life as you colour the eyes and give them realistic features, but before I had overcome my fear of skin, I loved colouring scenes.

Q10. Name one thing you love about colouring

It gives me a sense of accomplishment. Yes, it’s just a picture, but it gives me pleasure to make it look pretty.

Q11. Name one thing that bugs you about colouring

I hate books with cheap paper. There are some artists that have produced stunning books but I haven’t bought them because I don’t like the paper they are printed on.