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Guide to Greyscale Colouring: Unlock the Shades Within

Updated: Feb 16

Welcome, budding artist, to the world of greyscale colouring! Colouring isn't just for kids; it's a form of art, relaxation, and even therapy. And while vibrant hues may be the first thing that comes to mind, there’s a whole spectrum in-between: greyscale. Before you dive into our free downloadable mindfulness colouring pages, let’s walk through the serene and sophisticated world of greyscale colouring.

An artist's hand painting a flowers with a greyscale background

What is Greyscale Colouring?

Greyscale colouring is the technique of applying colour over a black, white, and grey image. Think of it as adding life to a black-and-white photograph. The underlying grey shades guide you in adding depth, shadows, and highlights, creating a three-dimensional look.

Why Greyscale?

Greyscale colouring has gained immense popularity in recent years, and for good reason! Here are a few reasons why people love greyscale colouring:

Depth & Realism: Greyscale images provide a pre-shaded foundation, helping even beginners create depth and realism.

Black woman smiling next to greyscale wall art

Mindfulness Boost: Focusing on the subtleties of shades enhances mindfulness. It's a calming experience that anchors you in the present moment and has been found in some studies to reduce anxiety and depression.

Flexibility: It offers a guideline, but there’s no "right" or "wrong" way to colour greyscale. You’re in control.

Simplicity: Greyscale colouring simplifies the colouring process by eliminating the need to choose and blend multiple colours. With greyscale, you have a limited palette, allowing you to focus on shading and adding depth to your artwork.

How to Master Greyscale Colouring:

First and only rule: Light colours over light greys, dark colours over dark greys, medium colours in between to seamlessly blend light to dark - but remember, rules are made to be bent 😉.

  1. Choose Your Palette: Start with a limited palette. Think about the mood you want. Cool blues and purples for a calming scene or warm reds and oranges for something more vibrant.

  2. Start Light: Begin by applying your lightest colour first. This allows you to gradually build up depth and ensures you don’t overwhelm the image initially.

  3. Layering: Greyscale thrives on layers. Gradually build your colour, deepening the shadows and enhancing the highlights.

A sequence of greyscale images showing the process of greyscale colouring

4. Blend: For a smooth transition between shades, blending is key. Use colourless blenders, white pencils, or even your fingers to gently merge colours.

5. Experiment: The beauty of greyscale is that there’s room for experimentation. Try different colours on similar shades of grey and see how it transforms the image.

Tools You'll Need:

  • Coloured Pencils: Preferred by many for their precision and control. That said other colouring materials such as markers and charcoal work great too.

  • Soft Pastels: Great for larger areas and creating a soft, dreamy look.

  • Alcohol Markers: Provide a smooth finish, but be sure your paper is thick enough to prevent bleed-through.

  • Blenders: These can be colourless markers, white pencils, or blending stumps.

Final Thought:

Partly coloured Illustration of a violin with a greyscale background. Relaxation Greyscale colouring page.

The journey into greyscale colouring is a voyage of discovery, mindfulness, and artistic expression. It’s about seeing the myriad possibilities within the shades of grey. So, as you embark on this artistic journey, remember to breathe, relax, and let your creativity flow.

Dive into the calming world of greyscale with our free downloadable mindfulness colouring pages. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just looking for a peaceful escape, there’s a page waiting for you.


Koo M, Chen HP, Yeh YC. Coloring Activities for Anxiety Reduction and Mood Improvement in Taiwanese Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020 Jan 21;2020:6964737. doi: 10.1155/2020/6964737. PMID: 32063986; PMCID: PMC6996682.

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