How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Page (Part 2)

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.
  2. Bring the opacity of the Image Layer down to about 50%
  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.

    * 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.

  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.

  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.
  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.
    I use a 600 “PPI” (pixels per inch) for a high-resolution export.
  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.
  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.
  5. Use the “Image Trace” with the “Sketched Art” option.
  6. * VERY IMPORTANT * Find the “Image Trace” options and look at the “Advanced Settings.” Make sure the box “Ignore White” option is NOT checked.
  7. When the computer is finished tracing, select the “Expand” button.
  8. Even out the edges by using the white arrow and drag each handle to the corner of the page.
  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.
  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.

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.



How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Book (Part 1)

How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Book (Part 1)

This past year I had a lot of fun turning my photos into the Color Me Redlands coloring book. I’m super-pleased with how it turned out. But learning how to the 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. Some background first:

To start, I tried over a dozen iPhone Apps, computer programs, services, and read several blog articles that would show how to turn a photograph into a coloring page. I even hired several artists from to create my coloring pages. While there are many talented artists, I wasn’t able to get the quality, consistency or the “look” that I was after. Plus, at $25-$30 an illustration, with the 25 images I wanted to include, it was going to cost a lot of money to have this project outsourced.

I then tried creating my own iPad App and Illustrator workflow. I was happy with it, but after getting some feedback from a friend and actually trying to color the images, I found that most of the ends did not “close”, which is a MUST for a coloring book. I found myself going back to the drawing board.

In researching the adult coloring pages, I was trying to describe the “look” that I liked and came to discover it was called Zentangle. * Zentangle is a specific method of pattern drawing that has been adopted to describe a certain type of “Zen” coloring book design. I’m not an illustrator and I can’t draw…but I knew I could purchase the images on Shutterstock or Adobe Stock.

Months had gone by with no progress and I was getting frustrated. Thinking I would never figure out how to turn my photos into a coloring page I happened to be visit to my parents, thumbing through my mother’s Food Network Magazine when I had a “lightbulb” moment.

All I needed to do was create the outline of a picture (silhouette shapes work best), then insert the zentagle image behind it.

squashOnce I had the concept, I was off to the races. I’m going to demonstrate this technique twice…once using a simple shape to show you the concept, and again with the exact method and tools I used to turn a photograph into a Zentangle adult coloring book.

Example 1 – A Simple Shape Coloring Page.

Needed: Adobe Illustrator, background image. (Click Here to download sample Adobe Stock #130780658)

    1. Draw A Star
      star gif.gif
    2. Draw a Rectangle covering the entire page.
    3. Make sure the rectangle is filled white, then send it to the back, behind the star.
      send to back.png
    4. You want the page to be a mask and the star to be “see-through” with the Zentagle image showing through the star. (ie. subtract the star shape from the larger rectangle.) “Select All” to make sure you have both shapes selected, then use the Pathfinder option in Adobe Illustrator and select “minus front.”
    5. Give the selected image a stroke of 5 pts. If you move the newly created shape, you will see that you now have a rectangle with a star shape missing in the middle.
      Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 6.29.17 PM.png
    6. Place the Zentangle image into your Illustrator file and send it to the back.
    7. You can now move and/or resize the background image until you are happy with how it looks.

That’s it! You now have a coloring page of a simple image. This technique also works great with text that has been converted to outlines.


Click Here to read my next blog post where I’ll show how to turn a photograph into a coloring page.

Design Portfolio

One of the great benefits of working in a church environment is that you get to work with a variety of ministries, covering the entire spectrum of ages (infants to senior adults), all church activities and special projects. Graphically, it’s challenging to follow trends, keep everyone happy and keep things looking cohesive. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had a great team that has stretched me and made me a better designer*. I trust they can say the same about me.

Video Wall

Selfie Sunday #TrinityFollowMe (Part of an all-church Follow Me Campaign)

Drummer Boy

This We Believe

End of Year Recap



* Working in such a tight-knit team environment, it’s hard to say every element of these designs are 100% mine. These are all projects where I took the lead, and like everything else in the Communications Department, was responsible for oversight and implementation. 

Vote For Pedro

I am entering a local photo contest and would appreciate your vote! 

There are five photo categories (Environment, Architecture, People, Community and Altered) and I have entered all five! You can see all the entries here. There are some really nice photos this year!

The simplest way to cast your vote is by clicking the link below. The link will open an email with all the appropriate content filled in for you. All you have to do is type in your email where it shows “My email is: ______________” and hit SEND.


You can vote between September 5-12, 2015. Unfortunately, you can only vote by email once…But you CAN vote from more than one email account (ie. his and hers, home and work, etc) if you are so inclined. Winners should be announced on September 25.

You can also VOTE By Facebook

To VOTE, leave a comment under my photo. You many “like” as many of the other photos as you wish, but you many only vote (ie leave a comment) under one. These links take you to directly to my photos.

Category #1 – Environment- skylines, open spaces, parks & wildlife-> 

Category #2 – Architecture- urban design, cityscapes, landmarks & infrastructure->

Category #3 – People- portraits of residents participating in city sponsored events & classes->

Category #4 – Community- scenes of education, volunteering, street/nightlife, celebrations, arts & cultural events->

Category #5 – Altered- photos manipulated for artistic purposes.->

Thanks in advance for your support!

PS. If you prefer to vote manually…or for someone else…here are the instructions.


Contestants and members of the public are invited to cast their votes online to select the About Redlands Photo Contest “People’s Choice” awards by September 12. It’s easy!

  • An image can be selected only once and in its proper category (1-5)
  • Voters must include their email address to have their ballot counted
  • Complete only one ballot per person
  • Click on the PDF link above to view each category & choose only ONE favorite per category
  • Enter the photo’s ID number (example: 100 or 110; 211, 314, etc.) on the ballot
  • You may also copy the portion below, fill in your selections & email the ballot by September 12 to

Email Subject line: ABOUT REDLANDS PHOTO CONTEST People’s Choice Awards


Voter’s email address:


  3. PEOPLE ___
  4. COMMUNITY ___
  5. ALTERED ___

People’s Choice winners and professional Judges’ Choices will be announced by September 25 through a MailChimp email to all entrants and voters, as well as, on the About Redlands Facebook page. Winning images will be displayed in the About Gallery in October.

About Redlands Photo Contest

Why Flat Design Will Fail


Flat design is a minimalist UI design genre, or design language, currently used in various graphical user interfaces (such as Web sites or Web applications).  More>>

A skeuomorph /ˈskjuːəmɔrf/ is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues from structures that were necessary in the original. For example a software calendar that imitates the appearance of binding on a paper desk calendar. More>>

I know I’m a little late to the table on this (Fast Company wrote about it here and here) but as I see companies “doubling down” on this design language (think Windows 10 and iOS9) I want to give three reasons why I think the shine on flat design will eventually fade.

  1. Flat Design was a initially introduced as a “product differentiator” – When Windows came out with Windows 8 in 2012, the radical flat design look was new and exciting and there was a lot of buzz. Apple legitimized the idea in 2013, incorporated flat design into iOS7. Since then, everybody and their brother has jumped on the bandwagon and skeuomorphism was declared dead.

    When “everyone is doing it”, someone is going to look for a way to differentiate away from flat design.

  2. Flat Design only taps one artistic tool – When it comes to getting the best, you need to draw from the largest talent pool. Flat design really only taps the expertise of vector designers.

    “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”  – Abraham Maslow

    You can ignore the entire range of artistic design tools for only so long, before someone gets a clue that maybe other artistic disciplines can offer some good ideas to your user interface.

  3. The higher the pixel resolution, the more the eye will appreciate visual complexity – I recently heard the quote “God does not design in straight lines.” Our creator gave us an amazing capacity for appreciating complexity. Flat design is nothing but perfectly straight lines, elegant curves and perfectly proportioned icons. The amount of detail in nature is amazing. The closer in you zoom, the more complex things get.

    As we move from retina display, to 4K and beyond (think virtual reality and the Oculus Rift), I predict the trend will be back to more texture and realism. 

I’m not saying, flat design doesn’t have it’s place…or that some companies aren’t doing a good job with it. In fact, as backgrounds and virtual worlds get more textured and complex, a clean flat white UI would stand out nicely. In the mean time, the pendulum has swung too far toward flat design, and will eventually swing the other way.

Case in point:

May I introduce you to the Apple Watch…skeuomorphism on steriods.

Quality Comes Through Quantity

What are you going after…quality or quantity? The underlying assumption is that it’s an “either or” proposition. I remember reading this story years ago and the lesson it teaches brought a new perspective on the debate.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. More>>

Quality Comes Through Quantity…

The more you do, the better you get. Now it doesn’t mean you need to showcase everything you do…that’s where careful content curation come into play. But the underlying principle holds…practice (with reflection, correction and coaching) makes perfect. Don’t get so hung up on making your work perfect, that you never deliver.

As the “scariness” and “newness” of the process of production wears off, I found you are able to mentally turn your focus more on the work, then the process of doing the work…and there is a natural uptick in quality.

There will always be “one more” thing you can adjust, tweak, make “better.”

Don’t be afraid.

As one of my favorite bloggers and authors Seth Godin says, at some point you’ve got to “Ship it!”

OCR to Formatted Word Document SOLVED

This afternoon I was handed a three ring binder with 100 printed pages and asked if I could put it in Word so it could be edited. When I inquired about the original Word.doc , I was told that the file was a year old old, two states and three secretaries removed, and that the original file was nowhere to be had.

online-ocrNeedless to say, I was NOT looking forward to this job. Many years ago I had used software that would both OCR and keep the formatting, but it was expensive, flaky and I no longer had access. I did a Google Search for “OCR to Word” and the first listing was “FREE Online OCR.” So I clicked it.

According to their website:

“ is a free web-based Optical Character Recognition software (OCR) that allows you to convert scanned PDF documents (including multipage files), faxes, photographs or digital camera captured images into editable and searchable electronic documents including Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Rtf, Html and Txt.

If you have a scanned document and want to avoid retyping your document, Free Online OCR service is the fast way to do it.”

That sounded like me. They had a free option so I uploaded a single page. It turned out nice. I registered and sent a few more…these were really nice. I purchased 100 pages for less then $7 and within 10 minutes had all 100 pages converted, ready for editing. They turned out beautiful…just like the original.

It formatted the paragraph text, indended text, text in columns, bold, italic and underlined text. It even correctly placed logos and footer formatting!

This service saved me literally HOURS of work. If I ever need to OCR a scanned document again, I’m going here first.

Multi-Page PDF Thumbnails

One of the frustrations I have when viewing an Adobe Acrobat PDF document, is that you don’t know for sure you are viewing all the pages. On more than one occasion I received a PDF, printed the document, then later came to discover there was more than the one page that had printed.

Show The Thumbnails

The best way to let someone immediately know they are looking at a multi-page document is to give them a “visual que” by show the thumbnail preview when the PDF opens. Unfortunately this is not a default in Acrobat**, so it has to be set manually.

PDF Thumbnails

Change The Initial View

I make two changes to the initial view that I use EVERY TIME I post or distribute a multi-page PDF. Fortunately, both changes are on the same properties tab.

Open your multi-page PDF in Adobe Acrobat and click on File, then Properties.

PDF File Properties

This will open the Document Properties dialog box. Click on the Initial View tab.

PDF initial view

1) Pages Panel and Page

Change the Navigation tab option to Pages Panel and Page. This will show the thumbnails when you open the document.

PDF Navigation Tab

2) Adust the Initial Magnification

One of my pet peeves is when you open a PDF and it looks like it’s zoomed in 1000%. This is especially the case if you have an extra large wide screen monitor. Your best bet is to always show the entire document and let people zoom in as they desire.

To change the initial Magnification, use Fit Height for documents that have a portrait orientation (ie most 8.5×11 documents) and Fit Width for documents that have a landscape orientation. If your PDF is mixed with both portrait and landscape documents, pick page 1 and use that orientation has your setting.

PDF Fit Height

 Close and Save

When you have completed these two changes, close the dialog box and save the PDF. To check your work, immediately reopen the PDF. If you did it right, everything should see something like this.


PDF fit visible right

It only takes an extra minute, but it helps reduce frustration for everyone viewing the PDF.

** I haven’t figured out a way to make this the default settings when creating a PDF directly from inDesign. I have a $25 Starbucks gift card waiting for anyone who can show me how : )

Creating Photo Mosaics

I’m sure you’ve seen them around. A photo mosaic, when you are far away, you see one picture, but as you move in, you see that the picture is actually made up of hundreds (or thousands) of smaller pictures. These can easily be overused, but I find for special occasions, anniversaries and celebrating big events these can be a great way to create an image that impresses virtually everyone.

The best program I’ve found for creating photo mosaics is AndreaMosaic.  The price is right (free),  and the results are stunning.

The was a special edition Connections Magazine cover I made highlighting our Mexico Ministry. March Connections Cover
I gave this to Pastor Gary Inrig as a going away present. A picture of him preaching, made of entirely of pictures of him preaching.Gary Inrig - Preaching Mosaic
Celebrating 20 Years of our Halloween Happenin' outreach, make of pictures of the last 7 years of Halloween photos.Halloween Happenin' 2005 067 Mosaic06 - saturation

There are two things you need to make a successful mosaic.

1) The Big Image

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish, but I find the best pictures are the same pictures that would work well as a silhouette. If you are selecting people make sure they dominate the frame.  Details tend to get lost, so make sure you have a very dominate image to start with. Your photo should be colorful. This picture from Moscow made for a good silhouette, but the colors in the sky were monochromatic and the software selected the same images pool over and over and it wasn’t as interesting as I was hoping.

100_0488 Mosaic

2) Lots of Smaller Images

For best results, you have access thousands of photos. (This is one reason I like to make these after a mission trip…typically you have lots of photos that can make up your images.) AndreaMosaic lets you select what folders to pull the images from. It then does a quick scan of each photo to determine its color and shape. Depending on how you setup the software, you can tell it to reuse an image…or flip it. Without this option, you may run out of individual images and have “holes” left in your mosiac.

100_2842 Mosaic

If you’ve never made a photo mosaic, definitely, download AndreaMosaic and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

FOLLOW ME: Components Of An All Church Campaign

Recently our church did a 7-week focus using the Follow Me material by David Platt. For those of you who are not familiar with David Platt, he is is an impassioned speaker who has a passion for making disciples…and seeing others share their faith.

The goal was to get get the entire church involved…everyone from our upper elementary (4th grade) to our Senior Adults. In addition to the Sunday morning message, we wanted to start new small groups, Sunday morning and Sunday evening classes for people to watch the DVDs and interact with the material.

Oh, did I mention people had to buy their own study material?

People watch what you DO as much as what you SAY.  As I wrote in Sometimes Volume Speaks Volume, if you want to let  people know something is important, sometimes you have to over emphasize. If you don’t go out of your way to make something a big deal, why should they?

Here is a list of the some of areas that the Communications Department contributed to help support this all church campaign.

Branded Graphics

The series came well branded with the spotted cross and tan background. While we considered it, rather than developing our own look, we went with what came in the Follow Me Church Kit. For added flexibility we did trace the graphic so we had an vector Adobe Illustrator file.

FollowMePlatt_web graphic


To help brand the campus and let people immediately know that something was different from the moment they drove on campus, we printed large signs that were hung at all of the entrances. These stayed up for 7 weeks. I was pleased how they held up under the sprinklers and UV sunlight. We did have to clean off the bird poop once a week.

IMG_6571 (Medium)
Yes,  I accidentally installed this sign upside-down. Yes, I fixed it right after we snapped this picture : )

IMG_6098 (Medium)

IMG_6097 (Medium)


There is no better way to help get people to share your message and “buy in” to your cause, than selling T-Shirts. To save money (and up the cool factor) we went with two colors on a black shirt.

IMG_6427 (Medium)

Stage Design

We made a custom GOBO to shine behind the preacher and worship band.

gobo (Medium)
gobo 2 (Medium)

Special Sundays

To keep things interesting, and to help make the weeks different and fun, we added some special elements to help people get involved at a different level than a normal Sunday.

Selfie Sunday  – Let people show they are participating in the Follow Me study in a fun way. To help encourage participation we offered prizes for the top three selfies and had our high schoolers available to help people work their camera phones. We also had a special email ( ) so people could send us their photo or they could use the #TrinityFollowMe hashtag on Facebook or Instagram.

Suit-up Sunday – We are a very casually dressed Southern California church. To mix things up we decided to dress up for Mother’s Day!

Selfless Sunday – To balance out Selfie Sunday and to think beyond our church walls, we partnered with YouthHope and collected “backpack food” for at-risk teens.

On Selfless Sunday we also commissioned all our summer short term mission trips.

Sundae Sunday – In celebration of the completion of the Follow Me series, we enjoyed ice cream sundaes between services!SS

Social Media #TrinityFollowMe

From the get go, we settled on the hashtag #TrinityFollowMe. We preloaded Facebook  (which automatically feeds our Twitter account) to post a quote from the days reading. On Sunday we we posted the bible verse.


Even our Spanish ministry, Fuente de Vida, joined us on our Follow Me journey. Since the graphics that came with the church kit were only in English, we needed to come up with our own Spanish graphic.

FollowMePlatt_WFCov_SPANISH - square - Copy (Medium)

Spotify Playlist

spotifyTo help us focus and worship, Worship Ministries created this Follow Me playlist. People could download the songs individually on iTunes or listen for free on Spotify!

Let’s Be Beautiful by Tim Timmons
All That I Am by Rend Collective (n/a on Spotify)
Gladly Would I Leave Behind Me by Sovereign Grace
This Changes Everything by Matt Papa
Lift High the Name of Jesus by Keith & Kristyn Getty
Christ is Enough by Hillsong Live
Lay Me Down by Chris Tomlin
Follow You by Leeland & Brandon Heath
You’re Worth it All by Gateway Worship
I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin
My Life is an Offering by Sovereign Grace Music
Come What May by Matt Boswell (n/a on Spotify)
Now is the Time for Us by Worship Central
Like Incense/Sometimes by Step by Hillsong Live
Hear the Call of the Kingdom by Keith & Kristyn Getty

Digital Wall Paper

photo 4 - webWe created these FREE Follow Me wallpapers for computer, phone and tablet.

Mac/PC Wallpaper

iPhone/iPad (best used as a graphic for your lock screen)


Memory Verse Bookmark

To help encourage people to memorize the scripture that went with each lesson, we passed out bookmarks with all the verses.

Follow Me Verse BookMark

Blank Check

One of the examples David Platt uses is offering God a “blank check”, symbolizing your willingness to surrender your life to Him. To help drive this point home, on the last Sunday we gave everyone a blank check that they could sign and put somewhere that would remind them of their commitment.


Recap Video

Created with Animoto, we showed this video the last Sunday of the study.

So How Did We Do?

Only eternity will truly tell the impact this series had on our church. That said, to try and translate Follow Me into numbers:

  • We sold over 670 Follow Me Study Books
  • 140 T-Shirts (SOLD OUT)
  • Over 50 Follow me DVD sets (that people would share with another group)
  • 140 participated in the Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening groups
  • Over 90 home small groups all over the Redlands, Highland and Yucaipa areas.