Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Coloring For Free

Like most kids their age, my girls constantly seek to be creative. They love to draw, color and paint. They go through coloring books like candy. Boxes of crayons and marker pens last only a couple weeks before its time to resupply.

Their creativity as of late has expanded into the pc world. It seems that now they can’t get enough of their online computer games. Even now they are begging me to hurry up so they can go online to their favorite kids sites. I’m always on the lookout for new learning games and puzzles so we can combine "getting a little education" with their artistic endeavors.

On several of these free kids sites you can print out coloring pages, but soon we had exhausted even those freebies. Then it occurred to me, why not make our own coloring pages?

I was playing around with Paint Shop Pro when I had my "coloring epiphany" while experimenting with the “Flood Fill” function. This feature is represented by an icon that looks like a spilling paint bucket. It works very much like that as well.

First toggle the color palette into view on the right side of the screen and select the color you want to fill into the photo.

The moment I had “my bright idea” is when I chose to start filling the photo in with white.

As soon as I saw how a few clicks of white “fill” vacated big blocks and swathes of the photo and yet still left outlines of what was there THAT’S when I knew I had come upon a way to make as many pages for coloring that my girls could ever want.
I started out with this photo of my youngest girl. I asked her if she wanted me to help her color herself and she was all for it.
Oops. A problem--the white fill bled into the face area.

The solution: Using the "paint brush" feature and dialing the tip to a proper shape and size I outlined the face to keep white from bleeding into it.
It works. I began to fill in the rest of the photo with white to turn it into a coloring book page.
I ended up having to outline other areas as well when the white fill would completely obscure their original shape. In the above case I had to outline the arm.
Let the coloring begin!
Here's another we did together. We took a picture of me standing in front of a tank at the 4th Infantry Division Museum at Fort Hood, Texas.
From that to....
Notice how we left the faces untouched, although we did moderate the tone of my youngest's face to give our work of art a kind of toned down "colored" look. If you've got kids give it a try. Mine love coloring themselves and their daddy too. I admit, I helped 'em color. Couldn't resist it... xx


Amadeo said...

Now tell me which one looks like you.

PhilippinesPhil said...


KA said...

Your girls are beautiful! Look at them! They photograph so well!

Ed said...

Right now I'm just trying to keep the little one from coloring the walls and the furniture. She already got to a fabric chair with a permanent magic marker. Fortunately it was ratty anyway and slated for the dump some day. But now when she gets a little more trust worthy with the colors, I now have a tip to pass the time away. Thanks.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Yeah, I hide all the ugly ones.

Once they get mobile, you can count on 'em to write and scribble on a wall or two. It's inevitable, unless you tie 'em up.

KA said...

Hmm... they dont like it when you tie up your kids, do they?

Phil said...

Its frowned on now, but back in the good 'ol days my mom used to keep me on a leash.