I try to generally keep blog posts to hobby related projects because, well, that’s what the stated purpose of my blog is. I’m starting to realize that other fun/nerdy things might be relevant to include here because others might be interested in them–plus there are some things I’d like to keep track of for future reference.
With that said, I want to talk about coloring books. I don’t color all that much, but I do have two young children, so it’s part of my repertoire. So, while I don’t do it much, I do enjoy the practice–but this blog isn’t about coloring so much, but rather how to make coloring books.
I’m also a psuedo den-leader for my oldest son’s cub scout troop (meaning I assist the actual den leader and fill in from time to time). Well, we’re working on the badge “Good Knights” and one of the qualifications is that they need to make a shield. Simultaneously, we’re also working on the badge for “Family Stories” wherein they need to make a family crest.
The average kid is six years old, so we don’t want to make things too hard or involved. So my plan was to find crests for each of their last names and somehow convert them to coloring book pages for them to work on.
But how do you do that? I don’t readily have access to photoshop (yeah, I sort of do, as evidenced by my former involvement with stained glass windows, but that access has largely been revoked). So, how do I do photo editing without photo editing software?
Enter pixlr. This website seems to be an online (free) version of photoshop lite for dummies. Frankly, I don’t know how to use most features of photoshop, so this is plenty good for me. Then, fiddling around with tutorials online and translating them where possible, I came up with this order of operations:
- Navigate to https://pixlr.com/editor
- Click on “File” and then “Open image…” then navigate to the image you want to open.
- On the “Adjustment” menu choose “Desaturate.”
- On the right side of the screen, under “Layers,” right-click on “Background” and choose “Duplicate Layer.”
- With the “Background Copy” layer selected, from the “Adjustment” menu, choose “Invert.”
- On the right side of the screen in the “Layers” menu window, under the layer settings, change the “Mode” of the “Background Copy” layer from “Normal” to “Add.” (NOTE: If you dont see this option, click the “Layer Settings” button in the “Layers” window to get it to appear.)
- From the “Filter” menu choose “Gaussian Blur.” This will open a new slider window. Adjust the slider level until it looks like you’d like it to (don’t worry, it will get darker later) and click “Ok” when finished.
- On the “Layers” window in the right-side of the screen, right-click on “Background Copy” and choose “Merge Down.”
- To make the image darker, open the “Adjustment” menu and select “Levels.” This will bring up a new window where you can adjust the darkness. (NOTE: Adjust the sliders ont he histogram in the “Input Levels” section of this window to make the page look good).
- From the “File” menu choose “Save” and save the file in the format you’d like.
I’m by no means a master of this technique, but it produces a satisfactory output for my needs. Attached is a sample output of an older picture of a Hive Tyrant on my page, along with the output of a coloring page created from the same image. It turns out better with less complex images, but I don’t want to violate any copyrights by posting someone else’s photos as coloring book pages. I’m sure you can imagine the other various options…
Hopefully someone else gets some value from this tutorial. If not, I’m sure I’ll reference it again one day. Until then, happy coloring!