In a Facebook message. a new colorist asked me which medium is best for coloring animals like dogs and cats. (And of course, it depends!)

The new Anita Jeram designs from Colorado Craft Company were too perfect a chance to show the comparison. They are SO DANG CUTE. #justsaying

So in today’s hop, I’ll show you three ways to color the same stamps, and you can decide what YOUR priority is!


Tutorial: Advice for new artists – coloring mediums for dogs and cats

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Alcohol marker

Not high on my recommendation list for new colorists, because, well, they’re expensive, and it takes getting a few trios or pairs before much can be accomplished. By the time you spend on that, you might decide that maybe you didn’t really like the look or the process anyway. But if you’re totally attracted to the look and you have a budget? Go for it! I have a few free charts with suggested colors to start with here.

Then get yourself some Neenah cardstock and either stamps with a Copic friendly stamping ink or a multiliner (Copic friendly) pen, and get busy making art! Then there’s always a Copic Jumpstart class that might help out too. A hex chart is a help too!


Though it’s a favorite medium for me, it’s tough to learn if you’re trying for realism; loose splashy color is fine but once it comes to mixing, water management, etc, it can be rough going. Don’t go buying a gajillion tubes to get started though – folks who have palettes with 36 or 48 colors paint no better than someone with 6! Learn to mix from the start and you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars in $10+ paint tubes. Daniel Smith has an excellent set of 6 essentials colors – 3 warm, 3 cool. Simple. In the Watercolor Jumpstart class you’ll learn some basics of mixing colors and make charts to show yourself  how to achieve colors without buying lots of tubes. (Later you may want particular colors for ease of painting or techniques – but don’t start out buying them all!) 

Also start with good paper. I know it feels counter intuitive and you want to save money. But honestly, it’ll make a difference in your practicing. Decent brushes for beginners are the Silver Brush Black Velvet line, try a round 4, round 8, round 12.

#1 recommendation: Colored Pencil

The new artist wanted to know about dogs and cats — and realism. So this is one of several reasons this is my best recommendation. The subtlety you can get, the fine points with a good sharpener (handheld or electric)  – much to be said about them!

Pencils are something we’ve all used since we were children, so holding a pencil requires no special training. You can get a lot of colors without spending a ton (I recommend Prismacolor – a good artist brand, and has the best neutral range for animals). Colored pencils are also adaptable – trying out blending solutions and powdered pigments can give you lots of options inexpensively to achieve a lot of effects.

The Colored Pencil Jumpstart class is another that teaches color theory at the start so you get a good footing. You’ll learn about solutions and stumps and powdering your pencils – lots of techniques that’ll send you off on a coloring adventure. Pick up a hex chart here.

Pattern Stamping Class

The class I talked about that teaches how to make stamped patterned paper with Art Impressions Watercolor stamps…’s so much fun! Distress inks and stamping in the Pattern Stampinc Class. 

The rest of the CCC release!

I didn’t have time to fully develop cards, due to lots of unforeseen things coming at me this week (watch the Superpower or Thanks videos for more on all that. Remember that purchasing using my affiliate links also helps with the goal I’m working on, I appreciate your help in meeting it!)…..but I did find a little time to at least color up the images! Tap on any of them to enbiggen.


I expanded the tree, there’s just something about not “finishing” a scene that makes me crazy 🙂


Again, expanded the background. Also changed a cat into a raccoon, eliminated the picnic basket.


A simple scene – note that putting a shadow WAY under the dog’s feet makes him look like a real leap-er!


This tree NEEDED to be bigger, and darker, so the birdhouse took the stage. Imagine Pink Panther theme music!


Here I pictured Tsuki and Punch out by the pool, chilling out! I may need to add a scene to this one before mailing it.


These are the ittybittiest! What would be your sentiment recommendation for this card?


I combined two stamp sets, with the dogs stamped partway off the page.

You can imagine their conversation! They often are chasing and wrestling – then suddenly they’re both sitting very very still catching their breath, giving each other the stinkeye. It’s so hilarious!

Something to note on the grasses: I colored the mass of greens first, and the greens stopped a bit low—the grass in my back yard is in desperate need of mowing, so I added some tall and going-to-seed blades of grass to bring the level up higher. Which looks more like what my puppers are doing when out in the grass!

Shop the new CCC release


Check out all the creations in the hop…..with 2 giveaways! The commenting for the contest will end July 12th at Midnight eastern time and will be announced July 14th on the CCC blog.

  1. One complete bundle or equal value gift card to one winner. The winner will be randomly drawn from orders placed that use a designer’s affiliate link.
  2. Giving away one stamp set on MY blog. CCC will randomly select the winners from the comments and will notify winner.

The bloghop list:

  1. Adrienne Kennedy CCC
  2. Amy Tsuruta
  3. Amy Young
  4. Daniel West
  5. Emily Midgett
  6. Jenn Shurkus
  7. Jennifer Kotas
  8. Jessica Frost-Ballas
  9. Kassi Hulet
  10. Kelly Griglione
  11. Kelly Taylor
  12. Nancy Sheads
  13. Sandy Allnock <— that’s me!
  14. IG:
  15. Adam Karle
  16. Jenn Gross
  17. Joe Sysavath
  18. Laura Inguz
  19. Mansi Bhatia

What would YOUR best recommendation be for a new colorist?

Think about someone brand new – needing to buy everything AND learn everything. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Why or why not? Leave me your feedback, I’d love to hear your answer!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

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  1. Becky Gregory

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I love the cards and am grateful to learn new techniques! You explained everything so well!

  2. Christine S Schmitz

    Love all Anita Jeram..Thanks for showing the different mediums. All so cute.

  3. Bo Gilmore

    Hi Sandy. I would put the sentiments inside the card.
    I am so happy you attached a video to your blog post. It is relaxing to watch you color. I love that you made the same card with 3 different mediums. These cards would make a beautiful gift set. The bow finishes the cards perfectly.
    I love Great Pyrenees. They are so playful and full of love. Their hearts are as large as they are. Thank you for all the extra information about picking out supplies. I am new to your blog and channel. I am a first-year crafter and I appreciate the help you offer on what to purchase and encouragement I get from you in your videos.

  4. Nancy Kruger

    Great tips for scene making and coloring.

  5. Carmela Hubler

    Love all the different techniques you shared. Beautiful work!

  6. Dixie in Montana

    WOW Sandy–you really took us to wonderful school showing us all the different techniques for coloring, showing us the different effects we can get. This is another fabulous release from Anita Jeram and you certainly did her proud as you always do! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  7. Dorothy Ayotte

    It’s so fun to see the different products you used for coloring this darling card. I like how you used the different background paper.

  8. Debbie Mason

    Thank you for sharing the 3 coloring mediums. I really like the look of the colored pencils, but I always forget to use mine. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Patty Deren

      Thank You for all the coloring tips and links I just live these furry little fur friends.

  9. Rebecca

    Where to start? Speechless! I absolutely love the description of your dogs in the backyard playing! I have 4 myself and I could watch them all day long. I had to giggle when you said the grass was in need of mowing and so you added that in your design!

  10. Susan

    Sandy, I’ve colored for years and found so much to try out and learn in this video. Thank you!

  11. Gail Spresser

    Loving this new CC Anita Jeram Release and absolutely love your cards! Thanks for sharing!

    • Janice Hixon

      Such a ton of good information, and I think you are spot on. Your cards are all lovely and I would definitely put the sentiment on the inside so the art work can be framed if desired. Thank you for the great video!

  12. Melissa Dare

    I adore these stamp sets and absolutely love how you did your work. Very talented and nicely done!

  13. Jan Francis

    Sandy, YOU are “the bomb”!!! I am forwarding this post to my crafty friends who are wanting to improve their beginner skills! Excellent stuff here! And while I’ve got your attention…I never thanked you for inventing and sharing your hex charts. I’d be lost without them so THANK YOU! ❤️

    • Sandy Allnock

      Thank you—and you’re most welcome!

  14. Wendy C

    Sandy – these are just beautiful cards! Thank you for the video showing each technique. I love your handmade pattern paper layers too! Just gorgeous!

  15. Donna Tuschoff

    These are just beautiful!

    • Anne Rifat

      Super sophisticated and yet childlike endearing. Love your work.

  16. Jenny Watson

    The coloring, the bows, the backgrounds – PERFECT!

  17. Marlene

    Your projects are simply amazing. Love each and every one! Thank you for all of the detail you have provided in your post.

  18. Darlene Clark

    Do love your water color work. Your instructions are so helpful.

  19. Shawna j eddy kissell

    I love your pencil work. I will definitely come back and sign up for the coloring classes

  20. Sue D

    I like how you colored these cute images. Thanks for all the tips. I agree with you.

  21. Jean Marmo

    So cute! Love the tips!

  22. Dee Earnshaw

    wow your cards are stunning – the coloring is pure perfection:)

  23. Susan Duffy

    I’m definitely not a beginner, but still thoroughly enjoyed your video on the various techniques. It’s never too late to learn something! TFS

  24. Jennifer Swietkoski

    Wow! The scenes you created with these stamp sets are amazing!The cards are so pretty and I love the way you colored all of the images! And all the different tips and advice you are giving in This blog post is great too! Thanks so much for all your hard work.

  25. Carol E. Wortman

    Wow, again speechless. I swear there is real fur on the carpet too. Wow….wow. there will never be another SA!

  26. Allison Cope

    Three stunning cards Sandy! I love each one of them! Love that you teach everyone how to create in multiple mediums. Beautiful work as always.

  27. Kristin Rigsbee

    Beautiful cards and I loved the tutorial and seeing how they looked colored in different mediums. Thanks

  28. Terri Walkington

    The dog licking the cat is so precious. Love your card Sandy!

  29. Ann Ito

    Just beautiful! I strive to get better at coloring by following your tips. It’s definitely a process with lots of practice!

  30. Karen Parker

    Exquisite cards as always! Love how the patterned paper backgrounds pick up the colour you used on the images. Love Anita Jeram’s work ~ so, so sweet!

  31. Kim Bosworth

    I always love the scenes you create!! So creative & inspiring! I agree with starting out with pencils too. I think I even started out with the Crayola pencils before I dove into Prismacolor.

  32. Lauryne Cunningham

    Fantastic cards! Thanks for all the coloring tips- I love colored pencil detailing!

  33. Kim Anning

    Wonderful cards, great to see G&V amongst the critters. My advice is to watch some of Sandy’s videos & take a class her teaching is invaluable, then practice & play

  34. Vickie S Davis

    Oh My Goodness! Wonderful cards. I got lost in your video.

  35. Denise Bryant

    Fantastic scenes with these charming critters! Love the way you colored the fur and feathers to look so textured! All of the designs are so fun! I’m on team cats!

  36. Helen F

    Your colouring is always amazing regardless of the medium Sandy! I love to watch you work and havr learnt so much. This is such a useful post to help those starting out on their colouring journey. Love your sweet images. Especially your 2 pups in the backyard!!! If only we knew what they were thinking!!!

  37. Susan Barr-Millard

    You are so very good at what I consider to be a true artist! Anita Jeram has this new sets “knocked out of the park!” And I want them ALL!

  38. Sue Ellen Sherer

    I am always in awe how you take the stamps and create a story/scene with them. So wonderful to see!

  39. Robin Pender

    Thanks for sharing the coloring tips. This release is great. Love your cards.


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