Using Black To Brighten Coloring (Pencils Over Markers Tutorial)

October is here — cooler days and longer nights (and Halloween) make us think of the color black.

We personally love the dramatic effect of black. It’s one of the reasons why all the Color My Moods Mandalas (Volumes 1-3) have designs on both white and black background.

In this tutorial, black is the star. You’ll learn how black can brighten up your coloring, and how it can enhance and make colors more vibrant.

If you enjoyed our White (After Labor Day) Challenge in September, you’ll have a lot of fun trying this black/pencils over markers technique.

Experiment with it and join our October Black is Back Challenge. You can also have fun using your neon, metallic, opaque colors on our black background pages. Details will be on the pinned post of our our Facebook page:


*Shopping links are listed at the bottom of this post for your convenience

Coloring page – The one featured here is a simple-level mandala that’s included in both Color My Moods Heart Mandalas (Vol. 3)
and the Beginners’ Edition.

Heart Mandalas (Vol. 3) has simple, medium and intricate designs while the Special Beginner’s edition is a compilation of all the simple-level mandalas from Color My Moods (Vols. 1-3):

Heart Mandalas (Vol. 3) –
Beginners 62 coloring pages –
Beginners DOUBLE SIZE 124 coloring pages –


Colored pencils/black colored pencil



White pigment pen


Step 1: Color with markers as first layer.


Step 2: Shade on top using a shade darker than the marker. In this instance, Vermailene used Carmine Red.


Step 3: Layer with another darker shade, for this example, Crimson Red.


Step 4: Last layer will be black to deepen the contrast.

Scribo Tutorials

Step 5: Repeat for the rest of the hearts, following the gradation of shades, layering last with black pencil.

Scribe Tutorial

Step 6: Color the rest of the image with markers.


Step 7: Layer with pencils, following the principle for the hearts.


Step 8: Work on the background. Wet the sponge and dip on watercolors. In this case, pink, then dab randomly on the background.


Step 9: Layer with different colors of watercolors using the sponge.


Step 10: Once dry, use white pigment pen and draw white circles of different sizes on the background.


Here’s the finished product…

Scribe Tutorial

Another gorgeous colored page! Follow Vermailene’s beautiful works at:

Instagram: vermailenebarrios,


Shopping list:

Maria Castro of is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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