Make a Coloring Book With Your Own Photos

Digital photography has opened the door to all kinds of creative possibilities, even for those who don’t think they’re particularly creative or all that tech savvy. One such possibility is your own personalized coloring book. That is – a coloring book that uses your own photos as the subject. Kids love coloring books (as the pile of half-used ones under my feet attest) and they love looking at photos of themselves or friends and family. You can combine these two passions quite simply. Here’s how:

Photoshop

Via PhotoJojo, you can create your pages using a photo editing software like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Using the “photocopy” option in the “filters” menu will turn a normal photo into a pencil sketch. Simply save that filtered image, print it out, and there’s your coloring book page.

If you want, you can go a step further and blur out offending pieces and distracting background with the paint brush tool. This will give the book a cleaner look, but it entails more effort. (Personally, I like a minimalist approach and I’m sure your kids won’t mind a few extra lines to deal with.)

When you’re ready to print, be sure that you use plain paper – not a glossy photo paper – and give the print a minute or two to dry completely before handing it over to eager children.

What If You Don’t Own Photoshop?

Don’t despair, there’s still a coloring book in your future. You can download FotoSketcher, a free program that lets you convert your digital images into sketches. It can actually create a wide variety of cool sketch effects, but for our purposes, its black-and-white option makes for a good coloring book base. After you’ve converted your images, simply follow the steps above: save, and print on plain paper, giving the prints a few minutes to dry completely.

There’s another very simple  - and kid friendly – way to do it via Crayola’s Lights, Camera, Color web application.  The site allows you to upload an image and convert it into a sketch. You can save that sketch to your computer to print it out. The catch: to print, you’ll need to enter in a code from Crayola (it’s on select boxes of their crayons).

Another alternative, if you’re artistically inclined, is to draw your own design and scan it into your computer. Better still: have your kids drawn their own sketches, scan those in, and print out as many copies as you like.

If you own an Epson printer, you can make a coloring book no matter what software you own with the printer’s on-board templates. They function a bit like FotoSketcher, in that they can instantly convert regular color images into black-and-white sketches. This video shows you how it’s done.

Alternatively, if you own an Olympus camera, check to see if it has an “art filter” option in the menu. Some higher-end Olympus digital cameras can instantly convert photos into sketches, so you don’t have to do any of the converting yourself in software.

Author:Greg Scoblete

Greg Scoblete is the editor of Your Digital Life. He has been covering the photographic world for the past ten years for a variety of publications including PDN, This Week in Consumer Electronics and Digital Photographer.