Make Kid’s Art from Coloring Book Pages

April 19, 2012Allison Murray

A couple of  years ago, my oldest nephew “commissioned” a painting from me. It, of course, was based on a cartoon character that he was currently into. This little project wound up becoming a regularly occurring incident, where my nephews order up paintings I gift them for reaching goals and accomplishing great things.

There’s not much that’s cuter than a five year old explaining to you, in detail, how he wants a painting of the “Looney Tunes”. They can get very serious about their orders.

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A couple of years later and one kid has a room with Batman and Joker paintings, and the other Clifford the Big Red Dog, Looney Tunes and the Smurfs. The paintings are always a lot of fun for me and the boys love them.

If you have a projector, these paintings are as easy as coloring, but with paint!

For this project, you will need:
A canvas of any size, a projector, a coloring page, pencil and eraser, and painting supplies.

The first thing you’re going to need to do is find a coloring page you want to replicate. It’s important that it isn’t too plain and it isn’t too detailed. If it’s plain, it’ll be big expanses of solid colors and it won’t be too impressive. If it is too detailed, it will be a pain to trace and to draw.

When you find your image, shrink it down to fit within the window of your projector. Mine has a 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch window and I scale my pic down to where the longest side is less than 3.5 inches.

Step 1: Set up your projector in a room that you can make dark. I like to place my projector on a TV tray and point it at a wall in my bedroom where I have thick curtains. This way I can use them to make the room nice and dark if I’m doing this during the day. Place your print out under the projector and push and pull it around until you get the whole image coming out. Use the scope to get the image as in focus as you can. You can also move the table back and forth to help with this. Very rarely do I ever get the image to be really crisp and in focus, but even fuzzy it works out.

Step 2: Hang your canvas so that the picture is visible inside. Sit down on the ground and begin following the lines lightly with a pencil. Be sure to have an eraser on hand for mistakes. Be careful not to use too much pressure with your drawing hand. If you do, you can wind up distorting your image. Since kids are constantly looking at their cartoon favs, they are going to notice if their face is too long!

Step 3: If you have area around the canvas that the projection didn’t reach, you’ll need to make up some of the details. You can always extend the horizon or skyline or add more clouds.

Step 4: Using whatever paints you have on hand, begin painting. I use Liquitex acrylics and highly recommend them. If you won’t be doing much painting, I wouldn’t recommend buying them as they run about $7 a tube. Instead, I would purchase regular crafting acrylic paint like folk art. If you have trouble mixing colors, purchase the colors you are planning to use. I have a tube of paint that is used exclusively for Smurf flesh as I have never, ever been able to get a good, consistent blue! Paint only the color areas, leaving the outlining alone for now.

Step 5: Make sure that your painting is fully dry and begin outlining your painting. Remember that cartoons tend to have pretty heavy dark lines – but be sure to follow the norm for what you’re painting. If you have a hard time painting a clean line with a brush and black paint, you can always use a sharpie marker. If you go marker, you’ll have to do a couple of coats, and note that the finish will be shinier that it will with regular paint.

Now you have a painting that will mean the world to your little ones! Enjoy and prepare to be inundated with orders for others! :)

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