Creating Coloring Books One Step at a Time

Almost exactly a year ago, I began creating my first coloring books. It was a series of three pocket sized coloring book journals with a 12 step, recovery theme.

Why three at once? With all of the information and art I wanted to include, I thought one would be too long and I felt like the content split naturally into three distinct segments. It was kind of fun to work on them together, as I learned the process of self- publishing.

I now have 13 published coloring book journals with one more in the works. My themes include inspiration, self-love, jewelry, travel, gratitude, recovery, mandalas and even my cats. The book I am currently working on is a large format coloring book with an assorted theme.

So, how did I do it? See my steps below.

Sure this is a super abbreviated list but I think it will give you an idea of the main steps I take when creating one of my coloring book journals on the self publishing platform "CreateSpace". They have all been pretty much the same process.

I am happy to answer any questions. You can see all of my books on my website

Until next week,

  1. I pick a theme, topic or category for my book. For me, I stick to things that interest me or have special meaning in my life.

  1. I research my subject and compile a long, loose list of drawing ideas. I try not to be too limiting in my list and include ANYTHING that might go with my theme, no matter how random it may seem. I would rather end up with too many ideas, than not enough.

  1. I decide on the particulars for the project,  like the finished book size, number of pages and any added features like journal pages or dedications. This will tell me how many main images I will need to create and also any other smaller art for things like title pages.

  1. I create simple pencil sketches for each page to layout my design and adjust proportions. This is loose but clean, so that I can see the balance and tell where more or less detail is needed.

  1. I tape tracing paper over the pencil sketches and "ink" the final drawings using the pencil sketch as a guide. Sometimes I slip a blank white sheet of paper in between the pencil sketch and the tracing paper to see where I may need to add more details.

  1. I remove the tracing paper and add any additional details or patterns. At this stage, I am looking to make sure there is an assortment of difficulties and a mix of shapes.

  1. I scan the inked images into my computer at a high resolution and save them in my "Dropbox". I started using Dropbox as a main storage area for current work about 6 months ago (along with other methods of back-up) and I have really liked having access to my current work across all of my devices.

  1. I open each image in Photoshop where I clean up any rogue marks, adjust the size, add borders, correct components and save as a finished piece of art. I save the finished art in both a layered Photoshop file and as a JPG file.

  1. I download a formatted interior book template from CreateSpace for the size book I am creating and fill it with my art. It is then saved as a PDF.

  1. I upload the complete document to CreateSpace and follow the simple, step by step directions on the CreateSpace site to finished the project. This includes setting a price, listing keyword tags and choosing distribution channels.