Now, if you only plan on using colored pencil on your pages, then you are good to go. For me, though, I love adding all kinds of things. I have tested numerous methods of sealing, prepping, and finishing pages to prevent bleeding, smearing, and tearing.
Even though it is good quality paper meant to be colored and written on, the individual pages are still thin, and there is writing on both sides, so even a little bit of bleed-through will show on the next page.
My number one go-to for any wet media (think watercolors, watercolor pencils, paint, ink, markers, etc.) is to prep with acrylic gesso. I have it in both white and clear. When I am going to start from scratch by drawing or painting an original image, I usually choose the white gesso. It has a finish almost like white acrylic paint and gives me a completely clean background. When there is line art already on the page, like in this example, I use the clear gesso so I can still see the lines.
I use an old hotel card to spread a very thin layer onto the page, making sure the page gets even coverage. After letting it dry (about 2 hours), I test it with a wet brush. Just swipe a little water across the page. Flip the page, and if the underside doesn't appear wet, then it is good to go. Otherwise, do a second thin coat of gesso.
Now, in the example here I used watercolor pencils. Some benefits of watercolor pencils:
- They give vibrant color
- They are easier to use than watercolor paint
- They are portable, especially if you also use a water brush
- After the image is dry, you can add more color by going over it again with the pencils
- You can use them without water as a colored pencil
- They blend very nicely with a water brush
Some things to watch out for:
- Unless you use a fixative, the color is still water soluble. This means that any time later, water will still cause it to smear or blend into the other colors.
- They don't blend well with regular colored pencils, which are wax-based.
- If you color the whole picture and then use a water brush for blending at the end, your results can be a little bit muddy.
I typically add the gesso to my pages, wait for them to dry, then turn to the next page and gesso those as well. I find that having both sides of the page prepped before I start gives the best outcome, and I know that I will be onto the next page soon anyway. That is my preference, but if you don't plan to do both pages, prepping just one still works.