Step 6: Add Text
If you would like, add text to your image.
I added the name, year, and location of the original brass work that this image was based on. Use a font appropriate to your project.
I also turned the text sideways to make use of the unused vertical space to the side of the image.
Step 7: Rasterize
Lastly, convert the image to a One Bit Bitmap. Bitmaps are uncompressed. They represent an image as a grid, and the color is represented using a certain amount of color information, or “bit depth”. For example, an 8-bit image can use 256 colors. Remember the old Nintendo Entertainment System? That was 8-Bit. Super Mario and his friends were all created in 256 colors. It’s also the reason why Link in THE LEGEND OF ZELDA could only carry 255 Rupies. (255 + the number Zero is 256 possibilities) The information on how much cash Link carried was 8-bit.
Likewise, we typically now use 24 bit color, as that can represent MILLIONS of colors. JPEG images are 24-bit, but they also use a form of compression to help keep file sizes small. In this case, we will convert the image to a 1-Bit bitmap. It’s perfect because one bit is only ON or OFF. It can only be used to represent two colors – black and white. It also creates a file which takes up less data space, while still being extremely high resolution. Make sure to use 50% Threshold, and maintain the high resolution. All light colors become pure white, and all dark colors become pure black. Do NOT use “dithering” or “half-toning”, which would introduce unexpected shapes into the image. (That is a great effect for creating “wood-cut” style images though!)
Step 8: Print the Coloring Book Page
Print out the image.
A laser printer works best. A plain black and white laser printer ONLY creates black toner on the white paper. Feeding a true black and white image to a laser printer gives you a very nice, clean, crisp image.
Laser printed images also do not smear the way inkjet images can. In fact, you could even use watercolor paints on a laser printer image!
You could also make the original print on an inkjet printer, and then make photo-copies of that image.
After you have created and printed one image, go find some more and make a whole series of coloring book pages!
NOTE: If you share an image on a social media network, such as Facebook, the image will likely be automatically converted to a lower resolution, and most likely to JPEG format. The image will still print fairly well, but there may be some half-toning introduced. Whenever possible, share the original image, not some other version of it.I’ve also found that if you want to save file size, the .GIF format works well. As long as the image is originally converted down to 1-bit, there is no color information. GIF format is 8-bit, but converting to that file format won’t introduce color information the way that JPEGs can. GIF uses a spacial compression, which will reduce the file size while still keeping the image sharp, and also prints well on a laser printer. Try using the GIF format if you want to e-mail images to friends or post to a blog.
Step 9: Create a Cover Page
Every good book needs a cover!
I created a simple cover page by creating a new document at my 8.5×11″ page size. I added text in the same font that I used in the rest of the book, and I added part of an image from one of the coloring book sheets.
I printed the cover, stacked all the sheets in order, and stapled the corner.
You could also leave the sheets loose, use multiple staples, or punch the sheets and put them in a three-ring binder.
Step 10: Time to Color!
Finally, have fun coloring the sheets!
I really like using colored pencils, while my five-year-old daughter likes both crayons and markers.
These images are detailed enough to really hold the attention of an adult. I also love the history of the images. My daughter loves looking for hidden details of the images (such as animals at the feet of the people.) She also asks questions about who the people are and why the images are styled a certain way, which opens up great learning opportunities.
I also like that these are NOT commercial images. It’s fun to learn about history, instead of coloring in My Little Pony or Disney Princesses. Instead, we can color REAL princesses, knights, and clerics.
We used the same process to create a number of other images. Some of them are pretty simple, and quick to color in. Others are extremely detailed and can take a long time. All together, we made an entire Medieval Coloring book for my daughter to share with her kindergarten friends.
So what can you make? I love these images, and I bet you can find something amazing in a library book or somewhere else for you to create your own coloring book of whatever skill level your would like.
Have fun coloring, and be sure to share what you make!