The Grayscale Category in Pigment.

We at Pixite are excited to bring grayscale coloring to Pigment! While Pigment has long offered the ability to import photographs and other images, (a process that renders them in shades of gray and allows artists to reintroduce color using Pigment’s tools,) we’re thrilled now to offer a new category of themed coloring books, full of gorgeous, high-resolution images that have been carefully selected for their responsiveness to the special techniques of grayscale coloring. Since the term “grayscale” can refer to several things in the art and coloring world, we’d like to take a moment to go over the term and talk more about what awaits artists in the app.

“What is grayscale?”
Simply put, it’s complicated—But don’t let that scare you. The experience of grayscale coloring could become your next creative obsession once you give it a try! The best place to start is to understand the term and the different, but related, things it refers to. “Grayscale” can mean any or all of the following:

  • The literal definition of the term which is the gradient, or expression of the range of shades and tones, between pure black and pure white. Johnny is using a grayscale palette—his “colors” are all just differing intensities of black and white.

  • The general category of images that are rendered in this gradient format, which often includes but is not limited to photography. Johnny’s favorite kind of pictures are grayscales—whether it’s a photo of a dog or a sketch of a tree.

  • The specific category of coloring pages, both analog and digital, that are rendered in this gradient format. Johnny’s favorite kind of coloring books are grayscale coloring books…he just loves the realism grayscales inspire!

  • The techniques and processes associated with introducing color to these images. Johnny has a lot of experience with grayscale coloring.

  • The literal definition of the term which is the gradient, or expression of the range of shades and tones, between pure black and pure white. Johnny is using a grayscale palette—his “colors” are all just differing intensities of black and white.

For the purposes of advanced/adult coloring, the term “grayscale” most often refers to the namesake category of images and the techniques involved in coloring them. While any image can be turned into the familiar black-and-white by stripping the color information away, that does not necessarily result in an image that will provide the best canvas for grayscale coloring. Great grayscale coloring starts with a great grayscale coloring page and that requires a unique balance of darker and lighter areas, both in quantity (the overall amount of black and white in a picture) and in quality (the intensity of those black and white areas—that is, how dark or how light those areas are). The images we’ve curated for you in Pigment are perfect for grayscale coloring because they represent that critical balance of light and dark that will help you make your grayscale colorings look their best.

“How do I add color to a black and white image in Pigment?”
Since grayscale images are much more complex than the line art images that have historically filled the Pigment library, they do not respond to the “automatic” and “advanced” coloring modes. Those modes rely on simple, clear black lines that separate white areas from one another. With grayscales, there are no obvious black lines or pure white areas to separate from one another, so the best mode to work in is Pigment’s “freehand” mode. This mode is also the most realistic coloring mode since it mimics analog coloring by placing no restraints on where color is deposited when touching the “paper” (screen). We’ve made things a little easier by ensuring that when you open a grayscale coloring page from one of our grayscale books, you’ll automatically be put in “freehand” mode so you don’t have to remember to switch over. Just like paper coloring, you’ll be free to move across the page and place color anywhere; there are no lines to color in or outside of which means you’ll be in charge of making sure color goes where you want it to go. The great thing about digital coloring in Pigment is that if (oops!) color goes where you don’t want it to, you can always undo your stroke or use the eraser tool. You can also color directly over another color and eliminate any mistakes you might make that way. How cool is that?!

“Is there a right or wrong way to color grayscales?”
Nope! However, there are some tools that will work better than others for coloring grayscales in Pigment. There are also some techniques that you can use to get the most out of grayscale coloring and maximize the “wow factor” of your finished images.

The tools:
In general, the basic brushes (such as pencil, marker, airbrush, paintbrush, and oil brush) and basic fills (such as plain fill and pillow fill) will give you more control and result in a better grayscale coloring experience than the patterned brushes (like the wood brush) and patterned fills (like the floral fill). Also, keep in mind that since you’re working in freehand mode, all fills will literally fill your entire picture because there are no boundaries between areas like you see with simpler, line art images. This can be useful if, for example, you’re coloring a grayscale portrait where most of the image will be skin tones—you can use the plain fill tool to deposit an entire layer of color and then go in with one of the brush tools and refine that color by adding light and dark versions of different colors, (check out the instructional video here to see what we mean: How To Color Grayscale).

“Can I import my own grayscale images?”
You can. We’re making it easy to enjoy grayscale coloring by curating gorgeous, high-resolution images that we know will respond well to grayscale coloring techniques…something that isn’t always true of imported images. We’re also simplifying things for you by making sure you’re automatically placed in the correct coloring mode when you’re working on a grayscale image from the library. You’ll still be able to import images and color them just as before, but we invite you to take advantage of our themed, curated collections and see if you have as much fun experimenting with grayscale coloring as we do.

We can’t wait to witness the creativity grayscale coloring inspires amongst our community of artists. Be sure to share your work in the Gallery and we’ll see you there!

Art painted by: @AmeliahMariah, @Chr22840, and @brady via the Pigment Gallery.

Pigment - Adult Coloring Books

Cayce Garrison