My Thoughts About Colouring Books For Adults (And 14 Lineart Pictures To Colour)

2015 Artwork My Thoughts On Colouring Books for adults

A couple of months ago, I was introduced to the subject of colouring books for adults. Not only did someone mention it in conversation, but there was even a video about it posted on BBC News less than a day later.

Puzzled by this bizarre synchronicity, I decided to think more deeply about this strange new genre and offer some of my thoughts about it (as well as lots of my own lineart at the end of this article that you can print out and colour in, if you want to – albeit with the caveat that you don’t post any re-coloured versions of my pictures online).

I’m ashamed to admit that my very first reaction when I heard that there were colouring books designed for adults was to laugh out loud. I mean, to me, colouring books were something I used when I was a kid but quickly grew out of when I got a bit older.

When I first heard about it, it seemed hilariously absurd.

My second reaction was to ask “why the hell would anyone want to miss out on the most fun part of making art?“. As a self-taught artist who comes from a drawing background, the most fun part of making art is actually designing and drawing the pictures that I create.

Adding colour can improve a picture and it can also be kind of fun to mix various colours and experiment with different colour schemes but, to me, it’s kind of an additional secondary part of making art rather than the main point of it.

However, from all I heard about the subject, many adults enjoy using colouring books because it’s supposed to be meditative and relaxing. I can sort of understand this, I mean adding paint to my own art is kind of the “easier” part of making art. Although most of the fun of making art comes from the challenge of thinking of something to draw and drawing it well, adding paint afterwards can be kind of relaxing.

Secondly, it also apparently allows people who don’t have the time or energy to learn how to make art to have the experience of creating art. And, well, I can’t argue with this. The most fun part of being an artist is actually making art. So, if some people have found an easier way to enjoy this, then I can’t exactly begrudge them that.

Thirdly, I guess, it’s a type of childhood nostalgia. I mean, we all still enjoy things that we enjoyed when we were younger – I still regularly play some of the computer games I loved when I was a kid and a teenager (and, yes, they are better than modern games) and I listen to the bands I liked when I was a teenager.

I was a fan of both “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” when I was a kid and I still absolutely love both shows even today. So, I guess that colouring books for adults are just an extension of this.

Finally, I was quite surprised to see that some artists have become incredibly successful just from producing these colouring books (one of these artists is interviewed in the BBC video).

On a purely cynical level, the idea of becoming a successful artist just by making a few unfinished paintings sounds like a pretty cool one. Plus, if people actually get a lot of genuine enjoyment out of this type of art – then it’s hardly a scam or anything like that.

So, in that spirit, here’s a large collection of “work in progress” lineart from my own paintings which you can print out and colour in, or you can digitally re-colour if that’s your thing. There is a little caveat though.

(Caveat: Even though I originally released many of these lineart pictures under a type of Creative Commons licence which includes a “no derivatives” condition, I give you all permission to re-colour these pictures (either traditionally or digitally) for your own private enjoyment. In other words, don’t post your recoloured versions of these pictures online. If you want to privately recolour any of my other pictures for your own enjoyment, I have no problem with this either. Just don’t post your altered versions online and/or try to pass them off as entirely your own work.)

Anyway, that said, here’s lots of lineart (of landscapes, still life pictures and cartoons) for you to colour in. Enjoy 🙂

"Bathroom Plants (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Bathroom Plants (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Autumn (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Autumn (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Practice Park (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Practice Park (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Dorset - Patchwork Landscape (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Dorset – Patchwork Landscape (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Bay Of Ruins (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Bay Of Ruins (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Dorset - Giant Garden (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Dorset – Giant Garden (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Sandown Beach Lineart" By C. A. Brown

“Sandown Beach Lineart” By C. A. Brown

"Days Of The Angel (Lineart version)" By C. A. Brown

“Days Of The Angel (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Sunset Magic (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Sunset Magic (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Patchwork Sunset (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Patchwork Sunset (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Drunk Punk Zombies On Aberystwyth Coast (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Drunk Punk Zombies On Aberystwyth Coast (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Dorset - Four Of Wands (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Dorset – Four Of Wands (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Data Tower (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Data Tower (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

"Chichester Cross (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Chichester Cross (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂 Have fun 🙂

How To Turn Ordinary Pictures Into “3D” Stereoscopic Images Using MS Paint

Just cross your eyes until you see three dots at the bottom of the drawing.

Just cross your eyes until you see three dots at the bottom of the drawing.

A stereoscopic picture is a fairly clever optical illusion which uses two slightly different pictures to create the illusion of a proper 3D image. This works because we see the world in 3D because each eye sees things from a slightly different perspective and our brain combines these two perspectives in order to create a 3D image.

Looking at a stereoscopic image is fairly similar to looking at a “magic eye” picture – you just cross your eyes until the dots below the two pictures merge together. When this happens you’ll see three dots and three pictures, the picture in the middle will be in 3D.

Although stereoscopic pictures don’t give you a “proper” 3D image (they make the image look like a series of paper cut-outs/ layers placed at various distances away from you), they’re still quite fun to make. Not to mention that they’re a really cool thing to show other people too.

If you want a more detailed explanation of the mechanics (and history) of stereoscopic “3D” pictures, then check out Wikipedia.

But, whilst most old stereoscopic pictures are photographs taken using a special camera with two lenses, it’s surprisingly easy (although slightly time-consuming) to create them from any digital image using nothing more than good old MS Paint.

It’s probably best to use a graphics tablet for making stereoscopic images, but I used a mouse when I was making this guide since the shapes in it are fairly simple.

I’ll include a copyright-free template which you can download and use if you want to (although you might have to resize it, since it’s fairly small. It’s also only in portrait too.)

This template is released without copyright.

This template is released without copyright.

It’s fairly easy to make a template in MS Paint too – just remember that the dots should be below the exact same point in the middle of your picture and they should be the same size and the same height. The advantage of making your own template is that it’s a lot easier to make it the right size for your picture (since you don’t have to re-size it to fit into the template)

This guide will be using a fairly simple drawing from one of my “How To Draw” guides and it will show you how to make a very basic stereoscopic image with two “layers”. I’m using version 5.1 of MS Paint, but I guess that the fairly basic features I’m using are probably in more modern versions of Paint too.

I’ve also set the basic “background” colour of MS Paint to bright pink in this tutorial, so it’ll be easy to see what I’ve moved. Anyway, let’s get started….

Firstly, copy your picture in the left side of the template…

Stereoscopic image tutorial step 1

Once you’ve done that, copy it into the right side of the template. If you’ve re-sized the image to fit it into the template, then select the image from the left side of the template using the “select” tool and make a copy of that. This is because it is extremely important that both images are exactly the same size.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll end up with something like this:

Stereoscopic image tutorial step 2

You only need to alter the picture on the right side of the template in order to make a stereoscopic image.

In this guide, I’ll be showing you how to make everything inside the window appear further away than the wall in front of it.

Click on the “Free-Form Select” tool and draw around the area inside the window. In this guide, I’ll be leaving a large margin on the right-hand side of the window (for reasons I’ll explain later).

Notice how I've left a gap between the right side of the area I've selected and the edge of the window.

Notice how I’ve left a gap between the right side of the area I’ve selected and the edge of the window.

Once the area is selected, you can move it to the right in order to make it look further away (this is why the margin on the right-hand side of the window is so useful – since it allows you to move it without covering up any of the window frame).

As a general rule, if you want things to be further away from the viewer, move them further to the right. If you want things to be closer to the viewer, then either leave them where they are or move them to the left (and leave a margin on the left side rather than the right side).

Once you’ve moved the window to the right, you should have something like this (again, I’ve used bright pink for the “background” behind the drawing).

I've moved the selected area to the right.

I’ve moved the selected area to the right.

Now all you have to do is to colour over the space where the selected area used to be. The best way to do this is to zoom in and use the “Pick Colour” tool on the area next to the space in order to get the colours exactly right (when you click on an area with this tool, it automatically changes the primary colour to the same colour as the area you clicked on), then use either the pencil or the brush to colour over it.

You’ll probably have to use the “Pick Color” tool several times. But, eventually you’ll end up with something like this:

Fantastic!

Fantastic!

Well done! You’ve just made a stereoscopic image! Go on, try it out (just cross your eyes until you can see three dots below the pictures instead of two or four).

Although this guide is fairly basic, this technique can be used to turn pretty much any image into a stereoscopic image.

Anyway, have fun 🙂