Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition & Coloring Book

I’ve been coloring ever since I could hold a crayon in my hand. Over the years, I’ve learned various tips and techniques that have helped me improve my coloring skills with colored pencils. Today, I will be sharing what I’ve learned from using Prismacolor Soft Core Colored Pencils, in the best selling coloring book Magical Jungle, by Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford. Her popular coloring book collection has sold over 16 million copies worldwide. Check out her free downloads, you can print straight from home! Look for Johanna’s newest release, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly coming this fall.

I personally prefer Prismacolor over other brands. My father who is an artist himself, introduced me to these pencils, when I was a young teenager. Prismacolors are wax based pencils. The soft core makes them ideal for shading and blending. The high quality pigment shows rich color. The results are stunning!

The only downside I have to report about Prisma’s is, the possible breakage. Fortunately, I haven’t come across too many defective pencils, but sometimes no matter how much you sharpen the pencil, the tips will break off. This is because the lead inside the pencil is broken, or cracked for some reason or another. One cause of broken leads is, if you drop the pencils on the ground. Use caution when transporting. Check out Carrie’s tips for repairing broken Prismacolors.

My coloring tips for Prismacolor Soft Core:

  • If you’re a beginner, I recommend starting with the 72 count set
  • Use light pressure. These pencils have high pigment, therefore, little force is needed for the color to be seen.
  • Color in circular motions, to avoid visible pencil lines.
  • When layering color,s I start with the lightest color first and the darkest color last. Shading and blending is my favorite part of coloring!
  • I hardly ever use the colorless blending pencil, but there is one available, if you need help blending colors.
  • Unsure which colors to use for skin tones? Consider purchasing the 24 count portrait set.
  • I own various manual pencil sharpeners. I have found that a simple metal sharpener works, just as well as the others. However, I don’t recommend the black Prismacolor sharpener. The plastic is cheap and has acquired several cracks from daily use.
  • For white accents, I use a Uni-ball Signo gel pen.
  • I use the Faber-Castell Eraser Pencil for simple mistakes, such as, slightly coloring outside of the lines. Erasing a larger area calls for a hard eraser, like, the Prismacolor Magic Eraser.
  • Feeling uninspired? Search Pinterest or Instagram for ideas.
  • Always test colors on a scrap sheet of paper before applying to the main design. I use this color chart as a reference. It may take a while to fill in all the colors, but it’s worth it! I used to spend a lot of time deciding on a color palette, until I discovered a color chart.
  • Challenge yourself to a limited color palette. For example; use several different shades of the same color, or stick to 3 of the same colors throughout the entire photo.
  • Do you find yourself favoring a certain color and quickly run out? Don’t worry, you can find open stock individual pencils for sale at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby & Blick Art Materials.
  • Take your time. Don’t rush to finish a photo in one sitting. Great pieces are made with time and effort.
  • preserve your completed colorings. Make them last forever by using a fixative spray. Once you are 100 percent sure you have nothing more to add, spray your finished photo with fixative.
  • If you’re wanting to store your pencils in a portable pencil pouch other than the tin they come in, I recommend this BTSKY Case available in different sizes and colors.
  • Create a fun display of pencils for easy daily access using glass jars, novelty coffee mugs, or candle holders.

This piece below is one of my favorites! For this butterfly, I used 3 shades of orange; yellowed orange, orange, cadmium orange hue and black. The colors of the flowers are sunburst yellow, yellow ochre and outlined with goldenrod. The background is shaded with Chartreuse, spring green, lime-green and grass green.

TIGER color: cadmium orange hue, black

Leaves: chartreuse, yellow chartreuse, spring green, grass green

Night sky: Black, white uni-ball signo gel pen

The illustration below reminded me of the popular baby hippo, at The Cincinnati Zoo. You can follow the adventures of baby Fiona on The Cincinnati Zoo Facebook page. 

I used several of the same colors for this cute simple design.

HIPPO colors: salmon pink, nectar, henna, chestnut, warm grey 20%, warm grey 50%, warm grey 90%

Pond colors: pale sage, yellow chartreuse, lime-peel

Green leaves: Pale Sage, lime-peel, dark green, yellow chartreuse

Leaf petals: Orange, poppy red

Lily pads: yellow chartreuse, moss green, chartreuse, dark green

Flower petals: Yellow chartreuse, orange


If you need further visual help, check out Chris Cheng’s step by step video tutorial. Finding yourself not enjoying Prismacolors? Try a comparable brand like oil based Faber-Castell Polychromos. The results are similar to Prisma’s. Poly’s are more expensive, but if you have it in your budget, why not try them?

If you followed my use of colors, please give me a credit mention and use my social media hashtag #coloralongwithamber Follow me on Instagram @ A.Creative.Newmie to see more colorful creations. Gather your pencils and let’s begin!

Enjoy the week ahead and smile!











3 thoughts on “Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition & Coloring Book

  1. I am going to get some of the Prismacolor pencils and the uni-ball gel pens to enhance my coloring. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions to make my coloring projects better. I’d love to have one of your pictures to hang proudly on my wall! Your work is fantastic! I have a poster to color and I am going to use your techniques to make it wall worthy! I love you Amber!

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