I see a lot of colourists on Facebook groups asking how you store your loose pictures, or how you display them. I talk so much on this blog about colouring books, but when I very first started colouring 4 months ago I was always printing out single sheets. I still do from time to time, but I found books to be easier as there isn't reams of loose pages jammed in a drawer. That was until I found an absolutely gorgeous portfolio online that makes my work look not only amazing but professional, and gives me somewhere durable to put my individual sheets. Okay, so you can buy normal binders and plastic wallets, but when you've been working on a certain picture for a while and really proud of it, why not display it properly? When family and friends come over and ask how my colouring is going, I'll love hauling out my black leather-like portfolio. I feel like it gives my humble hobby a bit of importance, to have something I spend so much time on kept in a proper display case. Here's some pics of my portfolio at the moment.
I know an awful lot of you scan and print out illustrations on better paper stock, as colouring book paper can be unsatisfactory quality at times. Often I have people saying to me that they want to use watercolours to paint, but the thin paper in books just won't stand up to the wateriness without feathering, warping or breaking through. If you do like to use different mediums whilst colouring and are serious about the hobby, owning a portfolio like mine is a great way to store and display your works of art. That after all is what they are! We collaborate with the illustrator by finishing the pictures they started, so they deserve to be presented in the best way possible. I chose the A3 size so I would have a border around my A4 pages. You can buy wallets in packs of 10 & 20, and all of them have the black paper included as backing for your work.
Now, to tackle one of the most frustrating things about colouring- getting the lighting right! On the underside of the top of my colouring desk, I have some under cabinet lighting. This is what it looks like.
The lights are good, but because they are 3 separate bulbs I often get dark spots and find it very hard to take decent quality pictures of my work. When colouring small areas, my eyesight isn't great and coupled with shady lighting... I often end up going out of the lines. They also get really hot, so I feel like I'm baking under them during a long colouring session! That's when I decided I needed something else, something that would light up my picture sufficiently enough to see the whole thing, and wouldn't slowly cook me as I colour. A light table, if you haven't already got one, is a fantastic solution to both these problems.
As you can see, the difference is astounding. The overhead lights cast a dull, sepia colour over the paper whereas the light table displays the page in true white, so you can clearly and brightly see the illustration and the colours you're laying down. Also- no heat! No more getting hot under the lights. Another really cool feature that light tables allow is crystal clear tracing. I know a lot of people have been adding to their Secret Garden books by putting Disney characters in there, but for someone who can't draw like me, tracing is the answer. Check out how easy it is to see the image underneath in order to trace!
Really cool isn't it? The light table I have is also dimmable, so if your eyes are sensitive to brightness, you can simply dial it down to a more tolerable illumination. Physically, the light table is really light, meaning it can be taken anywhere with ease, and even used on your lap as long as you have a socket nearby to plug it into. It's so stylish on the desk; it looks like a large iPad. It's really thin too, not like those old bulky light boxes. It comes in A3 and A4 sizes, and a cute carry bag is also included for portability. They are a bit pricey at around £70, but I reckon as an investment it's an invaluable purchase. Here's a handy video showing you the unboxing of a light table and its features.
So, now you know how I correctly light and store my loose colouring pages! I hope I've given you an insight into some handy products you might not have been aware of. You can buy the same ones as I have on the links below (click through the site for other sizes). There is an offer on the Premier Portfolios at the moment whereby you get 10 free sleeves (wallets) included with your portfolio. Just as a side note, I have to applaud Graphics Direct Ltd. for their service. If you haven't shopped with them before, they're a UK based company who offer next working day postage on your items, so if you ordered tomorrow you would have them in your hands the following day! Great for impatient people like me who can't stand waiting for stuff! It's also super easy to contact the management should you need to, and they're extremely friendly and will help with any questions you have.
A4 Transotype LED Drawing Light Table
GraphicPro Premier Presentation Portfolio
Portfolio Presentation Sheets