If you have to color with a kid, you might as well crush it. Because once you start, you will want to dominate. You know it, admit it, coloring is not just a fun bonding project with a kid; it’s a chance to prove your value to the child and your worth to the world. So if you screw it up, you’ll be pissed.
So don’t. Don’t screw it up. Focus. Plan. Know what to do, and how to do it. Read this blog post and be prepared to amaze yourself, your friends, your family, and most importantly, this child of yours who’s expecting you to be a leader. There’s room on that fridge for both pics.
1. Use the right products
Use quality crayons. Never. I mean never, buy generic. Don’t price shop, and don’t visit the dollar store. Just make a b-line to the name brand crayons. Generic colors leave behind thick chunks of wax. They also break in half just by hearing your voice. And some don’t even include the name of the color on the paper wrap!
Don’t use just any old coloring book. Choose the book, and the page, carefully. Avoid those narrow lines that are too easy to color outside of. And choose pages without micro-sized areas like dots on dresses or lemon slices in cups. Keep it simple. Keep it large. You want to color well, but you should NOT be spending enough time practicing to be able to perfect the narrow lines on Strawberry Shortcake’s tights. So, instead of coloring her whole outfit, choose to color the page with that one big-ass strawberry. Now that’s more like it.
2. Protect your work
The two-year-old in your life will aim to destroy your masterpiece. So distance yourself. Put her on the opposite end of the table. Or better yet, play hide-and-seek color-time; place her in the kitchen, and you in the living room. If you want to spend this time bonding, do so at your own risk! But, you can attempt to put a box of colors as a border wall between you. Or you can use books as the barrier. Whatever it takes, make it impossible for those foot-long arms of hers to touch your shit, or her rainbow scribbles will slice through the eyes of your brilliant Elmo art.
Also: occupy her. Assuming she’s coloring with you, close her coloring book before handing it to her. Make her open and look through that shit. This will buy you at least a minute. Then, be prepared to also nod your had and mumble when she yaps at you. You’re old now, you should totally have the advantage over this Toddler when it comes to faking conversation. Also: Stickers. Get this girl a sheet of stickers and you will have the most privacy you’ve had since her last nap. WARNING: if you have no barrier between you and the kid, prepare to see those stickers land squarely on your work.
3. Stay in the lines
“Yeah, no shit,” you say. Well, it’s easier said than done. You must plan. See Tip #1 above and start with a thick-lined coloring book — or at least a thick-lined page within the book. Swallow your pride, for God’s sake. We’re looking for something hangable here, we’re not aiming to build up some sort of internal bravado. No one will call you out for using a thick-lined page. They won’t know you put this much thought into it.
4. Don’t use white crayons
The color white shouldn’t even be included in the coloring box. Who’s idea was that? Surely they’ve been fired by now. It’s obvious that white does not contrast enough with the color of the paper, yet it frustratingly contrasts too much with the black lines. There is no way to use white and win. Avoid it, like some sort reverse racist coloring Nazi.
5. Use white
Stick with me here. It’s the perfect way to add a different tone to the same color on the same object from a different angle. For instance, boots. Or 3D buttons. Or lion noses.
6. Never use a color sharpener
Seriously. If you do, you’ll never be able to properly color those seemingly easy, large areas. They’ll never be consistent shades if you use a sharpened crayon. And that’s the second most obvious way to fail at this task of crushing your coloring job (it’s second only to coloring outside the lines). To ensure consistent coloring of large areas, it’s up to you: you must manually angle your crayons’ tips while coloring or scribbling on a meaningless separate page. Be meticulous with this. The angling of the color tip is the most under-rated coloring advice you’ll ever receive. Since you must avoid sharpening with a sharpener, but keep the color sharp, you must proactively and continuously angle the color tip so there’s a large area to color large areas. And then by default there will be a sharp tip for the small areas.
7. Sign it
You worked your ass off. You read this blog post, twice. You even printed or bookmarked it. So get your credit. Teach your daughter that quality matters. Show the family who the boss is. Don’t be forgotten, and beam with pride when you notice your masterpiece each time you grab yourself a beer.