Have you seen our free digital coloring pages and want to give digital coloring a go, but not sure how? In this tutorial we’ll walk you through how to use our free coloring pages in apps such as Procreate, Affinity Photo/Designer, Photoshop or any of the plethora of free graphics apps for ipads and tablets as well as desktop devices.
What’s a Digital Coloring Page?
Let’s start by looking at what we mean by digital coloring pages. Our digital coloring pages have been designed specifically for coloring in an app such as Procreate. While you can, of course, print the coloring pages and color them using pens or pencils, we have created these pages for digital use.
Our digital coloring pages have been saved as transparent PNG files. This means that everything that would be white is transparent. This won’t make any difference at all when printing a page, but it makes a HUGE difference when coloring using an app. Having transparency in the page means you can use all sorts of exciting coloring techniques which would be impossible using a black and white jpg file.
In the image below, we can see how the opaque white that we’d see in a JPG file obscures the pink squiggle we can see on the transparent PNG on the right.
High Resolution Images
Although our files are designed for digital use, we are providing HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGES to allow you to print the final colored version. Often, when images are designed for digital use, this means low resolution or small files – however our files are 3000 x 3000px which will give you great quality prints even at larger sizes.
This gives LOTS of room for trying different techniques and coloring styles. We can also use blending modes to get different effects – but don’t worry about that now, that’s something we’ll dive into later 🙂
How to Use Our Free Digital Coloring Pages
Our digital coloring pages can be used in any app or program which allows you to upload your own files and which uses LAYERS. The ability to use layers is hugely important and all the main drawing, image editing and digital painting, both free and paid for, include layers. This includes packages such as Procreate, Affinity Designer/Photo, Photoshop, Clip Studio – and free apps including Photopea (excellent broswer based app), Ibis paint, Medibang etc.
Upload the Coloring Page
To upload the coloring page you will first need to download it from our website, then unzip the file. Go to the graphics application of your choice and upload the file as you would any other image. I will be publishing detailed tutorials in the future showing how to do this using the main apps detailed above.
Add a New Layer UNDERNEATH
After opening the coloring page in the app, create a new layer UNDERNEATH the coloring page. You may find the app creates a new layer on top, if so, simply drag it underneath so the coloring page is the top layer.
Now start coloring! However, if this is the first time you have used a digital coloring page, do a experiment and see how it works.
Use any brush and quickly color a patch on the new layer – this will show you how the end result is going to look. You will see the transparency does a lot of the shading work for you (however, there’s still the opportunity to add more!). The color you have added UNDER the coloring page layer is affected by the shading in the coloring page.
Some of our coloring pages have more shading than others to allow you to experiment with different techniques.
Change the Background Color
I always change the background color before I start. Any color will do – the main purpose of this is so I can see if I’ve missed anything. If the app you are using doesn’t allow you to change the background color, draw a colored block and drag that to the bottom of the layers.
Block in the Shapes
I block in the shape of the different elements of the coloring page on different layers. As you will see in layer panel on the right in the image below, I have a different layer for the body, hair, horns, eyes etc. Each single element is on its own layer. This means I can quickly change the color or add patterns or texture with ease.
Is There An Easy Way to Block in the Shapes when digital coloring?
Well, the not particularly helpful answer is ‘it depends’! In the image above, you will see there are no strong black outlines, and therefore it is impossible to flood fill as you would a coloring page with solid black lines. To block out the shapes in the image above, I use a big brush to cover the whole shape I want to detail, and then use the fine eraser brush to remove any color from outside the lines. This is more time consuming, but it’s not too onerous and the effect we get from the shading and less strong lines – for me – is worth it.
With our digital coloring pages with strong outlines completely enclosing the shape the process is quicker. The alien below, for example, has strong lines outlining the shape, therefore it would be easy to block the shape on this one by using the magic wand tool to select the transparent pixels outside the shape and then invert the selection (don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense, we’ll be covering all of this in further tutorials).
However even with images like the alien below, I would split the elements onto different layers ie have the head, eyes and body on different layers.
Finishing Your Coloring Page
How you go on and develop your coloring page is up to you! You may be happy with how it looks with just the blocks of color – however, if you want to get more creative and customize the page more, how about adding shading or patterns.
The left image below is just color blocks with no additional shading. The image on the right I added shading to the image to give it some extra depth.
Try using different brush effects – or even use other images to create completely unique effects!
In the image below, I filled the layers with the different shapes with other images to create this look.
The key thing is to experiment and have fun. There are no rights and wrongs when it comes to digital coloring – and the great thing is, if you don’t like it, you can easily paint over a layer or change the color.
More Tutorials Coming Soon!
We’ll be adding to our digital coloring tutorials, come back soon to see what we have for you 🙂
Before you go…
I would LOVE IT if you tag me on Instagram or your favourite social media site if you use these pages #makebreaks #digitalcoloring 😀
If you would like me to share your finished artwork on the site or social media, you are very welcome to send me a finished copy of your project (you are welcome to watermark it). Send it to email@example.com with any info about how you would like me to credit your work and website or social media links.
More FREE Digital Coloring Pages
Don’t forget to check out our growing list of free digital coloring pages. You’ll find them HERE!