Make Your Own Coloring Book! A Free Tutorial

Have you heard? Coloring books intended for grown-ups are the latest can’t-miss trend in art.

Seen as an exercise in mindfulness, they’re good for the mind as well as the spirit, as well as a very fun way to develop artistic skills. But since there aren’t too many coloring books on the market intended for adults, we’re going to teach you how to make your own coloring book.

There are many reasons to make your own coloring books. For one, you can rest assured that the subject matter won’t be limited to childlike favorites like princesses and/or trucks. You can choose the subject matter and style of your coloring book and create a unique piece of art that makes a great gift.

These tips will set you on the right path to make your own coloring book!

1. Size and alignment

First, make a decision about what size you’d like to make your coloring book. It’s your project, and you can make it any size you want. But there’s a strong case for choosing an 8.5 x 11-inch final size.

For one, it’s easy: You can print out pages on your own home printer. For another, it’s an accessible size for coloring with a variety of media. Look at coloring books in toy stores or in the toy aisle of grocery stores: they’re usually around this size.

Next, decide what your alignment will be. While not a breaking point, it can be distracting to turn the pages of a book and find that some images are aligned horizontally and others vertically, so consider making a decision one way or the other and sticking with it.

2. Choose a theme

Rainbow in color

Do you want a theme for your coloring book? Deciding before you start creating art can be helpful, and help inspire subject matter.

For instance, the above series was the inspiration for the coloring book made for an example for this post. With the digital colors removed, the black and white outlines make great coloring book pages, and there is a definite theme.

Some fun themes could include drawing foods, art with landscapes or trees, illustrations of flowers or funny cartoon characters engaging in conversation.

3. Intended medium

Are you making a coloring book for kids to color with crayons? Or is it something for adults to paint in watercolor or color with colored pencils?

This can affect how large you decide to make your lines and images. Knowing what the intended medium is from the get-go can help you make a coloring book that is more enjoyable for your intended audience.

4. Page number

It can be helpful to decide how many pages you’d like before you start.

If there is a theme to the coloring book, that might dictate a page number. For instance, the example shown in this post is for coloring pages with the colors of the rainbow, so the page number would sensibly be as many pages as the rainbow has colors.

5. Composition size

You don’t have to work at the exact size that your finished pages will be, but work to scale. This will make formatting the pages easier later. Do consider your scanner size — even if you like working big, consider the effect of this later. Will you easily be able to scan these pages for reproduction?

Getting to work!

Now for the fun part: get drawing! Now that you’ve decided the size and alignment, you can start working.

6. Choose your media

Coloring book

Typically, coloring books feature bold, black-and-white pages. For this reason, if you’re working by hand, a large tip pen or a black marker are ideal media for creating your coloring book images. The pages can also be drawn digitally.

7. Begin drawing

If you’re confident, you can begin to draw freehand. But many of us will prefer to start with a pencil sketch, to help cement the composition and layout in our mind before making it permanent. Once satisfied with a pencil sketch, you can add ink on top of your pencil guide. If needed, erase any pencil lines from sketches.

8. Scan your art

Scan your coloring book images. Remember how we talked about that suggested 8.5 x 11 size? If you went with that size, bet you’re relieved right about now, since the size is easy to format and print on a printer page. Clean up the image if the scanner has picked up any dust or debris.

Didn’t use 8.5 x 11 paper? Either trim the paper to fit your scanner or scan it in multiple parts and stitch the images together with a photo-editing software.

Trim pages

9. Print out your pages

Print out your pages, making sure that they are printing the same size. If needed, trim the pages if your printer leaves a lot of excess white space around the sides. Assemble the pages in order.

10. Make a cover

Coloring book cover

This step is optional but adds a nice touch and makes your coloring book distinctly gift-able. Make a cover that shows what type of coloring book this is.

11. Bind the pages

Bind your pages so that you have a book. This doesn’t have to be high tech.

In fact, it could be as low-tech as stapling the top corner of the pages, or as involved as doing a perfect binding. Another easy solution is punching the pages for a three-ring binder. This way, you can add additional pages to your collection as you draw them.

Happy coloring!

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