Adult Coloring Pages Challenge: Oh, the Traffic in My Mind!
Today is the twelfth day of my “Adult Coloring Pages” Challenge. I’ve never been super excited in all my life that I’m losing sleep. My mind is busy with thoughts of:
- what to create next
- finding time to make all of them
- the techniques professional artists use to come up with clean art
- how my coloring pages would look once colored
- how my finished product would come out
- what steps to take towards publishing at CreateSpace
- and so much more!
However, I’ve found an antidote for this traffic in my brain, which is both good and bad. That antidote is going back to my drawing board and creating my page. Just one coloring page. Nothing else. Then, I’m in the zone. And that’s what’s important.
Adult Coloring Book Pages Challenge: What Have I Got?
In twelve days since starting my journey with adult coloring book pages, I’ve created beyond what i expected. What do you think of these hand-drawn outputs:
- 8 inked women pages with one cleaned up
- 5 inked mandalas
- 2 inked floral pages with one cleaned up
- 1 inked cat drawing
- at least 4 rough sketches?
Not shabby for an aspiring coloring book artist.
What’s best is, I show no signs of slowing down despite setbacks in my vision. In fact, I’m getting so much better. I feel so much better.
My big to-do now is the clean-up part. Even if I accumulate a room full of inked drawings, it has no value for me aside for self-gratification. I have to get them to a high-resolution, printable and commercial quality that people coloring them would be happy about. If I can’t do that, I shall have failed tremendously per standards that I’ve set for myself. I can’t fall short of seeing through a published adult coloring book. Yes, people have different yardsticks of success. That’s just mine.
I have slowly moved into enhancing my coloring pages and to serve as an example, I’m working on my coloring sheet of a woman cancer survivor. What I have here is not done yet. It’s a work-in-progress but if you compare it with my first snapshot, you’ll see a big difference. Spot a major change in her if you could.
How to Clean Up Your Coloring Pages: The Basics
First, let’s define what we mean by cleaning up your coloring page. It just means you prep your image so that you end up with a finished product that’s of high quality.
Here is what a high-quality coloring page looks:
- free of blemishes like dots, shadows, dark spots and any unnecessary imperfections
- has clear, consistent, smooth, and even lines
- clean overall texture
- smooth flow of elements
- no image overlaps, distractions, and unwanted blank spaces (unless with mandalas)
- captures what you want in your coloring page (which is subjective).
Second, what tools do you use when you do your clean up? As most artists do, I use Photoshop and Illustrator by Adobe, which are paid web apps. I love them both. They are the best in the industry and despite other software companies trying to equal or outshine them, they pale dramatically.
However, you would be okay using free alternative softwares such as Paint.net, GIMP and Inkspace. I have tried the first two in the distant past. At that time, I had no use of them and didn’t take them seriously. I use Inkspace often. It has features that make the conversion of images into vectors much easier than Illustrator.
How to Clean Up Your Coloring Pages: Some Simple Steps to Guide You
I’m camera shy so, sorry, no video to show you how I do my clean-up at Photoshop.
Here are simple steps I take to clean coloring pages:
- Clean the glass top of your scanner. You don’t want dirt showing up in your coloring page or all of them!
- Scan your image based on the following settings:
- Color format: black and white
- File type: jpg or tiff. I save mine at Tiff, which, unlike standard JPEG files, uses a lossless compression (or none) and may be edited and re-saved without losing image quality.
- Resolution: Between 600-1200. I scan mine at 1200 as that’s the highest I could get.
- Brightness: 100. You don’t have to adjust to the maximum but I do to to minimize shades or unwanted blemishes. Test how it goes. If it doesn’t reduce image quality, go for it.
- Crop before scanning. This is optional but may be done so you don’t have to when editing at Photoshop or Illustrator. Be careful about cutting off important parts at the edges.
- Open a new page in your Adobe Photoshop. I open mine in 8.5″ X 11″ (letter size) at 300 dpi print resolution. You may have a different book size dimension but for high-resolution print quality, the recommended is 300 dpi.
- Open your scanned image into the new document.
- Clean your computer screen so you don’t confuse dust or dirt with your coloring page’s imperfections. This could cause you time and strain and you don’t want that.
- Minimize imperfections by brightening your image. At the menu bar on top, go Image>Adjustments>Brighten/Contrast. Adjust or play around with the brightness slider until you achieve the clean look that you want.
- Check lines or strokes and do one or all: connect, erase, smoothen, darken or rework lines when needed.
- Erase remaining blemishes, irregularities, mistakes, or just about anything that you don’t like in your coloring page. Use the eraser tool for this.
- Draw in other elements or images that you want or may have missed in your coloring page. Use your pencil or brush tool for this.
- To correct tone and color, use the levels image adjustment. At the menu bar on the top of Photoshop’s panel, go to Images>Adjustments>Level. You’ll see a histogram with a slider and three little icons - a black icon at the left, a gray icon in the middle, and a white icon at the right. At the left of the adjustment box are three eyedroppers lined up horizontally. The left is to achieve black, the middle for gray, and the white to make white even whiter. It takes time to learn this stuff but for added info, please refer to this tutorial. Play around with it and take note of your results. That’s also an excellent way to understand and master the levels adjustment tool.
- Print out a copy of your done page. If you’re satisfied with it, consider it done. It’s pretty easy to get caught in your clean-up job. For all you know, a day passes and you’ve only managed to work on one. Define a standard, stick to it and and move on to the next.
There’s another step that I’m closely studying. I haven’t mastered it yet but I will very soon because I need to.
That’s all for today. I hope you learned something from this post and are now inspired and empowered to try to make your hand-drawn adult coloring page. Work on it one page at a time and soon you’re on your way to finishing one adult coloring book!
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