Ever wanted to make your own coloring page?

Here's an example of how one of ours came to life.

Everything starts with an idea.

I planned to make a coloring page for “Talk Like a Pirate Day” 2015. So clearly, it needed a pirate. And maybe a background, to get the setting and mood for a pirate. If it can be fun too, that’s an added bonus.

When I was just about to start sketching, my youngest daughter, Puk, came by on a visit. So we decided to try to work together on it. She has a lot of great ideas. So she did this first quick sketch of a pirate boy. We talked a lot while she did it, discussing line of action, poses etc, and we had an hour of brainstorming on top of it, with a lot of doodles and laughs.

When you make your first sketch, make it fast, and don’t worry about how it looks. Mine looks just like this, when I start out myself.

Puk's first quick sketch, that was the base for the pirate coloring page
My sketch based on Puk's first sketch

The next day I made my sketch on top of hers, with small changes to the pose, to enhance the action line and some of the other things we’d talked about the day before. I do the same, when I make the coloring pages by myself. I start out with a sketch much like the one Puk made here, and then make a new one based on the first one, and making small changes for every time I redraw it. Sometimes I make 5-6 versions, before I have a sketch I like and want to move on with.

So your step here is to refine your first sketch. You might do several versions of it, before you find something you like.

I then added my first idea for a background sketch. Thought it would be fun to add in an element of surprise to him, that would have a base in a pirate’s world. So I added an octopus (because I remembered a cute octopus that Puk sent me some years ago, that she drew on the phone). This was a big one. Then to give that a reason to be there in the first place, I added a small one, so the big one would be a mother protecting her child, that this fearless pirate had conquered in “battle”.

Again, you might have to do several versions, before you find one you like or one that works.

Here's my first background sketch.

But the big octopus seemed to take over the whole picture, and the pirate vanished somewhat on all that busy background. So I explored another variation of that same idea, but made the big one a lesser part of the total picture. A more subtle addition, you can say.

I sent both to Puk to ask her what she thought, and she agreed that the first one was a bit too much, so I went to town with the second one.

If you’re not sure which one you like best of the different versions you’ve made, ask a friend or a family member. It helps to get an outside opinion on things. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.

I make my lineart in Manga Studio 5 (it’s called Clip Studio Paint on Mac). My sketches are done in an old version of Photoshop.

But you can just use a black pen. Make sure to make your sketch with a pencil. That way you can simply erase the pencil lines, when you’ve drawn your lineart on top, and bam! Your very own coloring page! Make a copy, if you want to use it over and over 🙂

More advanced techniques would be to have a light box, so you will keep your sketch. If you don’t have a real light box, you can make an impromptu light box with help from your parents (do NOT try to make one on your own). If you want to see how a light box works, you can check out this video by Shoo Rainer.

You can also work digitally – like me.
If you have questions about digital drawing, feel free to ask in the comments, and I’ll be happy to answer. It’s a big subject, and all depends on what platform you’re on.

Final version!

You can find the finished version of this coloring page here, ready to print out.

If you make your own coloring page, I’d love to see it. You can find us on all the social media sites (links below), or you can send an email with your coloring page.

Want me to draw a coloring page from your idea? Send your sketch to me on email, along with your description of what it should end up like.

Email me by clicking this link or catch me online.

Have a great day! And keep burping,


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