iPad Coloring Book

«To the wise and understanding reader, wisdom is to a man an infinite treasure for she is the breath of the power of god.»
Lady Mechanika

To be honest, I’m not the type to color, but I’m a fan. It can be nice to shut off the brain for a while. But if you want to color, you need paper and color pencils (good ones). They deplete and you have to carry them around.

Much easier to just use an iPad Pro — or similar tablet with a digital pencil.

There are a couple of ways you can easily create a small coloring book on the iPad — I’m looking here at using GoodNotes and a real sketching App (like Autodesk SketchBook). In both cases you should prepare the image first.

Preparing the images

If you google, you find lots of images that can be colored digitally, or you buy a coloring book (e.g., these ones, which are great and I’ll be using for this example) and scan the pages (in black and white). Next, take the digital image and turn the white background transparent (usually via the tools, something like transparency or alpha channel).

Turning the white background transparent (here in GraphicConverter) is important if you want to color below the image layer. Graphic from the Lady Mechanika Steampunkt Coloring Book.

It’s really important there aren’t any colors but black and white in the image, so everything that is not a black line is turned transparent. Transfer the image (e.g., as .png file, which keeps the transparency) to the iPad.

Coloring with GoodNotes

If you use GoodNotes, simply add the image to a page. You can then use the Highlighter to color the image or even the fountain pens. However, the highlighters are more forgiving if you don’t work exactly, and you don’t really cover the black lines of the image.

Coloring in GoodNotes. The Highlighters are semi-transparent and work well. You essentially carry lots of pens on your iPad. Graphic from the Lady Mechanika Steampunkt Coloring Book.

Coloring with SketchBook

Coloring is more fun with a sketch app that supports layers — and here the transparency of the image is important. Use, e.g., Autodesk SketchBook and open the image. Lock this layer. Then add another layer below the locked image layer and color on this layer. As everything on the image but the lines is transparent, you can color away and the lines (on the layer above the colored layer) will always be visible. No matter the pen, you can’t color over them. And there usually are lots of different types of pens.

Using a sketching app with layers is more fun. Notice that you color on the layer below the image with the transparent whitespace (locked) and over the white background. So the lines will always be visible. Graphic from the Lady Mechanika Steampunkt Coloring Book.

Works like a charm 🙂