Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Coloring Pages Tutorial

I mentioned before that I often make photos into coloring pages for my son Aidan.  He likes to color, especially certain kinds of cars, and we soon exhausted the stock you can find online.

Then we learned that you can take a photo or illustration and edit it in such a way that it makes a decent coloring page, if you are not TOO picky.

It just occurred to me today that you could do the same thing with any illustration from a public domain book at Google Books.

.It might be useful for read-alouds and that kind of thing if your kids need a work sample or they simply like to have something to do with their hands while they listen to a read aloud or audio book. 

Here's what you do:

  1. Grab the picture you want (I recommend using one that you know doesn't have a copyright -- like your own photo, or a public domain book) and download it to your computer (right-click your mouse and choose "save image as").  I am using a picture from  Cat of Bubastes by GA Henty
  2. Now go to Picnik,   You can use it online OR download it to your computer for free.  Unfortunately the online version right now has a yucky visual tutorial on how to make your photo look horrible for Halloween.  You might not want your children near when you're doing this -- the picture creeps out mine.
  3. You upload the picture you want to use
  4. Then you go to Effects, which is the second tab from the left.  Scroll down the list of Effects until you come to Pencil Sketch.  
  5. Apply Pencil Sketch--- and you have a kind of coloring page.  It doesn't take as long as it does to read this ; ).
  6.  Go to the tab marked "Save and Share".  It lets you download it back to your computer or to whatever online photo drop you use.  Then you can print it out on your own printer.  
It seems to work best with pictures with a strong central element, but Aidan will color even the more greyish ones.   

Here's an example with a colored picture (from this site called St Francis of Assisi Blessing of the Animals, which looks like a nice site, and today is the Feast of St Francis.  

Here's the Legend of the Wolf of Gubbio, told for children. 

Happy St Francis Day! 



  1. Willa,

    what a great idea! Thank you for sharing this.

    I've only been away from the Internet for just over a week but I seem to be way behind with everyone's posts. I am enjoying reading yours. I can't believe you are having snow already. You must have a very short summer season. Your photos are beautiful!

  2. Such a simple and clever idea! I shared how to trace outlines of Famous Art Works and I will add a link to your post.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!