Using colored pencils, crayons, paint, and the like.

Using colored pencils, crayons, paint, and the like.

Coloring is what makes Creative Progress Maps both a tool and art of your own creation. So, it's natural to have questions and preferences about what to use. I provide my own coloring recommendations based on my own experience and tastes, but freely admit that there are lots more possibilities. I think that's a good thing.

I wanted to share some of what I've tried out myself for those of you who are curious about using something beside permanent markers to color your map. Above is an early sample I tried coloring with a few things I happened to have already around the house.

I'll share some details on those mediums and also speak to a few others that I've been asked about.

Colored Pencils

The short answer is I have no idea. I haven't tried it. Mostly this is because I prefer the bolder, richer color of permanent markers. I would guess that the higher quality the pencil, the better luck you'd have. Not sure that the pencils will look as good if you color back and forth over the black and white design—I'd recommend just coloring the white spaces. If you give this a go, please send me pictures and let me know how it goes!

Non-Permanent Markers

This is probably too vague a category, as there are so many pens out there, but I can share what I've learned so far when testing out Mr. Sketch's scented pens aka Smelly Pens. They are in fact the pens I've used for my original Creative Progress Map, though I wouldn't use them again. Here's a close-up on how they look on the museum-quality print.

What I noticed is that the pens seemed to not play all that nicely with the paper. It was splotchy and uneven. There's a bit of smearing as well, which makes me nuts. Just wasn't impressive to me, which is why I don't recommend them for mapping. Despite how much I love the smell. 


I had some crayons at home (because every adult should) and tried them out on the print as well. Here's a close-up on that too.

Really didn't like how waxy the crayons look on the print. Especially as they go over the black lines of the design. Also, the color doesn't pop as much as I'd like it to and is uneven, so I don't recommend them. If you were able to use them only on the white space, I imagine it'd look better, but I'm just not a fan of using them for mapping.


Again, super vague category here. I haven't experimented with paint of any kind for coloring maps. I'm concerned it would be hard to control, a bit tedious to pull out on a regular basis, and depending on the type of paint, hard not to go all over the lines of the design. Granted, it might be significantly easier if you went for a larger size print. If you decide to try this out, please let me know how it goes!

Other Mediums

My vaguest category yet! I anticipate that some of you lovely humans will be adventurous and want to try out coloring mediums that I haven't mentioned here or maybe haven't even thought of yet. If you choose to try other mediums on the print material, I highly recommend you grab a color tester before you commit to coloring your map. And as always, please tell me how it goes and take pictures!

I'll do my best to update this blog as I learn more and hear from you.

Happy Mapping!