Turn A Photograph Into A Coloring Book (Part 2)

This past year I had a lot of fun creating the Color Me Redlands coloring book. Learning how to create the coloring pages was a 12-month journey. I hope to save you the learning curve and show you step-by-step how to make your own. For the foundational concepts, please read Part 1.

* Zentangle is a specific method of pattern drawing that has been adopted to describe a certain type of “Zen” coloring book design.

I found that the best images for coloring pages are simple silhouettes. This eliminated several of the photos I had considered using.

This is what I used: iPad with the Adobe Draw App, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, digital stylus optional (I use the pencil from FiftyThree). You’ll also need a “Zentangle” type image for the background. Click Here to download sample Adobe Stock #130780658.

Adobe Draw

  1. Place a photo onto the image Layer of Adobe Draw.
    bird-1
  2. Bring the opacity of the Image Layer down to about 50%
    bird-2
  3. Using the stylus (or your finger), manually trace the image* on the “draw layer.” One of the nice things about this app is that you can zoom in on the part of the image you want to trace.
    bird-3

    * If your original is something more architectural, the app has a full set of tools to make straight lines and curves. It may be easier to use these than hand tracing with a stylus.

    img_0550
  4. You don’t want too many details when you trace, as they will only get lost in your final image. When you’re done, the image will look something like this. You can completely hide the picture to see the final trace.

    Samples from my Color Me Redlands coloring book.
    sample

  5. Transfer the traced image to Illustrator.img_0549

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Once the file is in Illustrator, If you need to “thicken” the tracing line, it’s easiest if you do it now. Select All and select a stroke.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-29-31-pm
  2. The idea of this next part is to create a mask and remove only the parts of the image where the “Zentangle” graphic will show through. The easiest way I found to do this is to export the image, insert the image back into Adobe Illustrator and let the computer trace it.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-17-48-pm
    I use a 600 “PPI” (pixels per inch) for a high-resolution export.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-18-54-pm
  3. Personally, I find working in Adobe Illustrator confusing and it’s sometimes easier to “clean up” the image in Photoshop and remove any unintended lines. Also, check that that there are no “open ends.”  If you find one, manually close it.
    close-end
  4. Open up a blank 8.5×11 Illustrator Document and place the finished .jpg onto the page. Scale the image proportionally (by holding the shift key) so it is centered on the page.
    place-the-picture-into-illustrator
  5. Use the “Image Trace” with the “Sketched Art” option.
    sketched-art
  6. * VERY IMPORTANT * Find the “Image Trace” options and look at the “Advanced Settings.” Make sure the box “Ignore White” option is NOT checked.
    trace
  7. When the computer is finished tracing, select the “Expand” button.
    expand
  8. Even out the edges by using the white arrow and drag each handle to the corner of the page.
    clean-edges
  9. Place the “Zentangle” image into the document, resize it to the full page and send it to the back. If you haven’t already, save the file.
    place-zen
  10. Use the white arrow to select and delete the parts of the image you don’t need. Resize and move the background image around till you have an image you’re happy with.
    delete

If you delete too many parts, you have the saved version to revert to.

That’s it! Save the file, Export and you’re done.

artboard-12x

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