How I create coloring books.
By no mean this is a rule set in stone it’s just the way I do it. I want to share my process and give you a little look behind the scene.
Step 1. Pick a theme.
This step is not necessary but I find it so much more easier to come up with the drawing ideas if they are within one theme. But you can go without any theme. My first coloring book was just bunch of random girls thrown together. In later books i made drawings according to the themes like “Dark beauty” or “Russian traditional outfits”.
Some people might be interested in coloring only certain themes. Like the one who prefers coloring fairies may not want to color creepy spooky witches and werewolves.
Step 2. Sketches.
There are two ways you can make sketches: traditional (on paper) and digital (using graphic tablet).
I prefer to make sketches on paper using graphite pencil. Either way is totally ok, it’s just my preference. Also, I try to minimise the time spent staring at the monitor so this way if transfering a little but if work away from computer. Besides, I tend to make majority of sketches away from home, so caring around my computer and graphic tablet is not an option.
By the way, traditional artworks require a little bit more of effort while turning them into a coloring book but we’ll get to it in one of the next steps.
Step 3. Lines art (or inking).
Lineart is making a trace over your sketch with smooth lines. Do not forget to make variety in the thickness of lines. Main shapes should be lined more thick than insignificant lines within these lines. And, if possible, try not to break the lines marking the borders of one shape – not to confuse the possible colorist.
If you make digital sketches, this leaves you with no choice but make a digital line unless you want to print it out and trace using light table, which is totally possible but heck a lot if work.
If you make traditional sketches, this leaves you with two ways of making lines – digital, when you scan your pencil sketches and trace it in graphic editor program. And traditional with actual ink and pens.
I tried to make both and they have their own advantages. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that traditional linearts require cleaning after a scan copy is made where you need to look very close for any potentially uneraised pencils, earasir strokes clung to paper, dust dots or whatever small fragments may stick to your sheet of paper. Everything should look clean and smooth.
I prefer to make line-arts traditionally on paper. I usually use sakura pigma micron multiliners and sometimes copic multiliners to ink. However, in my 5th coloring book most of lines are digital.
Step 4. Pdf
Alrighty, you’ve finished all you drawings. Now they look clean and pretty. It’s time to slap our book together. Depending on the format of your choice you may use different templates where I strongly recommend to mark margins for yourself to avoid any lines go over the edges of printable area or the borders which would be cut off when the actual book is printed.
At this step you need to keep in mind that the book itself must have images printed only on one side to avoid bleed through the page. Don’t forget to place blank pages after each drawing. Since we are discussing amazon kdp here, the paper they use for printing is rather thin and it is better to have drawing on one side of the paper. If you use any other company for printing your coloring books, which allows to have thicker paper, go ahead and place images on both sides of the paper.
Do not forget about additional page for isbn (which you could purchase or use kdp publishing isbn) and other information in the beginning. Also you may throw some blank pages on the back for people to test their coloring materials.
Some people like to duplicate their drawings in coloring book twice. I personally don’t do that but consider trying this out one day.
Convert all the pages into PDF file and combine PDF pages together using any PDF redactor of your choice.
Step 5 the cover.
Cover requires a special template depending on the size and page count. You can download template from your KDP account. Don’t forget to leave the space where bar-code would be placed on the back!
Step 6 . FInal!
Upload. Order physical or download PDF proof-copy. Check it for any mistakes.
Enjoy! Your coloring book is ready. You can put it on sale or use as a gift to your friends and family if they enjoy coloring. I used my coloring books as gifts for my nieces. They were from 6 to 9 years old and they totally loved it. I also have my coloring books available on Amazon and printable PDF version on gumroad.
Recently I’ve been working on creating my new coloring book – “Realm of Elves and Fairies. Manga girls”. So, I’ve recorded video footage of some parts of the process and combined it together. Here is the video: