How to create a black background (without bleed through)


How to create a black background – various methods

If you have ever wanted to create a black background in your coloring books you will soon find that there are numerous ways of creating a black background for your picture:

  •  let loose with a Sharpie or  Posca pen and color away.    The problem with this method though, is that it tends to bleed through to the other side of the paper, which you may not want, particularly if there is an image on the reverse of the page;
  • color with a normal black pencil to create a base and then color over with a Sharpie or any other black marker.      When I used this method,  the problem that I had was, that I could see the brush marks at times, which did not thrill me.
  • pull out the black Inktense pen and activate with water and create a black background that way.    Although you will achieve a rich color, the water that activates the pencil often buckles the page, leaving you with a finished piece that you may not be happy with;
  • you could use a  water based marker, like Tombow, but because you have to move so quickly to avoid tide lines on the background, it would not be suitable for large areas

How to create a black background (without bleed through)

The way that I create a black background on coloring pages and books is a hybrid of  some of the methods discussed above.        As always, make sure you test discreetly on a small part of the coloring book or coloring page to ensure that this method works with your coloring style and the paper that you are using.

I use a black Inktense pencil dry to lay down a base.     Inktense is actually dried ink and when it is added with water or even a Tombow blender pen it activates and can be used for coloring.      To create a black background with our Inktense pencil we do NOT activate the area.   Simply color in with your black inktense pencil all of the background that you wish to be colored in.    Do NOT activate it with water.

Derwent Inktense Pencil Black

Now,  grab your black Tombow marker, which  is a water based marker, and simply color over the areas that you have already colored with inktense.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Marker

The Tombow marker effectively activates the Inktense producing a smooth black background.     As the Tombow marker is water based, you will find that it does not bleed through of the other side of the paper.  You will need to work quickly to ensure you do not have tide lines, but you will find that the dry Inktense base tends to smooth out the area creating a smooth background.

In the video above I actually ran out of video storage space when filming and you will see that I quickly went over areas that I had already colored to avoid tide lines which occur when part of the marker dries before other areas.

I hope that this was useful to you.

Happy coloring x


About the author


I'm Lea and I love everything to do with coloring! If it is a coloring book, a poster or even a bookmark that you can color in, I'm all over it. Of course, a girl has to have some pencils, markers, gelly rolls, pastels and what not to make those pictures pretty and I love those as well.

Whilst my coloring style lacks skill, I am enthusiastic and focused on enjoying the moment and having fun.

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  • This is a great way to use mixed media- ive started painting my backgrounds with black gesso. I get good results with big areas. You are truly a mine of information…….Mandyx

    • Sounds like a great idea too! The black posca pen is also good as it gives you a lot of control!

        • I have the small one and the medium sized one. Sometimes with some pictures you need a small nib in order to get around all the little itty bitty details and then then the medium nib for larger areas. Hope that helps.

          • Yes thank you , it helps. I have all the tiny ended poscas, my favourite of all their sizes. 3MR are also a good nib to use for filling in. I have tried many white pens and find the posca the best of all. Kind Regards Mandyx

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