Creating a Coloring Book – Kimberley Cooper’s Recipe

There are plenty of coloring resources on the net, but few I’ve seen that show ‘How To’ create your own coloring book. So whether you have some ideas you want to develop for pleasure or business, I’ve shown below how I did it, in the hope that it will help someone. And here’s the front cover – let me know what you think!


Right, so here’s my recipe …

  1. Make some rough sketches. Pencil, copy paper and a wet afternoon with nothing on TV. Oh, and coffee and chocolate. You know how it goes. The ideas I wanted to develop first were of mandalas, those addictive, relaxing patterns. ‘Just time to color one more before work …’
    I just love that you can take the same pattern and color it many times in different colorways and get such a different result.
  2.  Time to get the Ipad out and my trusty stylus. And start drawing. And deleting. And drawing. And deleting again.
  3. Get very frustrated that my skill level didn’t match the ideas in my head. Threaten the Ipad with extreme violence if it didn’t behave better. Oops, or was that, if I didn’t practice more. Yeah, may have been that.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for months and months, with a side-step into using paper, ruler and compass instead of the Ipad and stylus, until …
  5. … finally I had a design I liked. Scan/copy into a paint program to tidy it all up. I used Paint Shop Pro 9. Love this program, have been using the various incarnations over the years and it just gets better and better.
  6. Vectorise the design so that the lines look smooth, and it can be resized to pretty much any size without losing quality.
  7. Print out and test-color. This was the fun bit.
  8. Repeat steps 2-5 until satisfied. Is anyone ever truly satisfied with what they create. Yes? Really?  Sorry, never met them.
  9. Repeat 40 times for 40 mandalas. Also, try and go to work, look after the family and have a life at the same time. Just about managed it. Just.
  10. Copy the designs into a book template (I used Createspace for my Perfectly Imperfect Mandalas), and write the text to accompany the mandalas. Shameless plug – shortly to go live on Amazon, I’ll put the link up when it’s available.
  11. Create front and back covers for the book in Paintshop Pro, and digitally color.
  12. Upload everything to Createspace and wait until the review process is complete.
  13. Change anything that Createspace’s review process throws up.
  14. Digitally proof, and order a physical proof.
  15. Wait anxiously until the physical proof arrives.
  16. Open the proof … and sigh. My new baby. A coloring book of my own. With my  original artwork in it.
  17. Approve the proof on Createspace.
  18. Decide on pricing, blurb etc.
  19. Press the final button, releasing the book into the world. ‘Bye, little book, hope you find a new home with someone that loves you …’

So, that’s it! The work of months and months. And so rewarding, that I want to do it all again. I think I will.

Mandala on the left colored with Prismacolor Premier pencils
Mandala on the right partially colored, with Spectrum Noir marker pens


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