How to Make Coloring Pages: The Ultimate Guide

Coloring books are among the most rewarding and simple art projects to get started. You can use almost any image, whether you are the original artist or you want to color your favorite works of others. Teachers and parents often design new coloring pages to entertain and even teach young children. Visual artists use the coloring-page model as a baseline for more detailed art or artistic meditation.

Whether you're leading a kindergarten class, making a gift, or crafting your own personal coloring book, the best coloring pages are the ones you make yourself. Use a detailed image design program like CorelDRAW to craft your own original designs or expertly edit existing images to become beautiful new coloring pages.

Planning a coloring book

Start by planning your coloring pages with a coloring book design. Choose your theme and style. Are you telling a story or building a collection? Are your images of nature, abstract art, mandalas, or do they have a special theme like holidays or even learning math?

Make a rough outline of the coloring book you want to make. This will help to unify your coloring pages and flow from design to design for the one coloring your pages.

Draw or select a line drawing

Now let's dive into making your own coloring page. Start with an image that you want to turn into the bold-outline style of a coloring page. Create your own line-drawing or find a line-drawing on the internet that you'd like to work with.

The best drawings for coloring pages don't have any shading, with complete sections and simple outline details. If possible, separate the detail lines from the primary outlines into layers so you can safely work with them separately.

Bonus tip: extracting an outline

If you can't find or make an outline of the picture you want, you can use a tracing program to extract the outline of shaded and colorful artwork. Experiment with the settings to get the best bold outline and useful detail-lines extracted from the original illustration. You can even use this method to turn photographs into coloring pages.

Emphasize outline and section lines

Not all line drawings are great coloring pages to start with. In fact, most aren't. A good coloring page has bold outlines and fine detail lines inside those outlines. Tweak your settings to embolden the outer edge of each drawing outline section.  One clever technique is to create a duplicate of the outline section, drop it one layer lower, then expand it a few pixels to create a wider yet solid-edged 'shadow' of the original image. Then use your fill-tool (paint bucket) to recapture the outline at the thicker width.

Simplify & clarify detail lines

Now focus your attention on the detail-lines inside the primary outlines. These should be strong enough to see through colored-pencil and crayon coloring, but not as bold as the main outlines. They should also be simple, defining the image without breaking up the color sections too much. It's okay to remove extraneous lines and clean up too-detailed areas if you don't feel the detail is needed for the coloring page.

Remove all shading or smudges

Now clean up your image. Anything that isn't an outline or approved detail line gets wiped clear. Every tap-smudge and any lingering image shading should be erased so your printout is nothing but clean white paper and clear outlines.

Print and complete your coloring project

Now you're ready to print. Follow this process for each of your coloring book pages to create a professional-looking and totally unique coloring experience for yourself, your class, or someone special in your life. With original artwork, you can even sell your coloring books to others who might delight in your style.

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