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How do I make my coloring page stand out?

Coloring pages are a fun and creative way to express yourself, relax, and tap into your inner artist. But with so many coloring pages available online and in books, how can you make sure yours stands out from the rest? Whether you’re designing coloring pages for your own enjoyment or to share with others, a little planning and effort can go a long way.

Choosing the Right Subject

The first step in creating an eye-catching coloring page is to choose the right subject. Consider the following factors when deciding on a subject:

  • Popular themes – Certain imagery like animals, nature, mandalas, and fantasy characters tend to be perennial favorites.
  • Unique concepts – Come up with an unexpected theme that will intrigue colorists, like steampunk fashion, exotic foods, or astronomy.
  • Current events/trends – Capitalize on what’s current like a popular movie, TV show, holiday, or news event.
  • Nostalgia – Tap into good memories with retro themes like classic cartoons, vintage ads, or old school toys.

While the subject should resonate with your target audience, it’s equally important to choose something that inspires your own creativity. If you enjoy drawing whimsical animal characters, for instance, start there rather than forcing yourself to come up with rugged monster trucks or something else outside your wheelhouse.

Simplify the Design

Resist the urge to include too many tiny details in your coloring page. Simpler designs are more appealing to colorists because:

  • They’re easier to color cleanly within the lines.
  • There’s more open space for creative shading, patterns, and color combinations.
  • The main elements and subjects stand out better.

You can still make a simple design lively and interesting through your choice of subject, pose, facial expressions, and other artistic touches.

Use Thick, Defined Lines

Bold lines that fully enclose each area to be colored help create crisply defined coloring zones that are easy to see. Consider using line weights of at least 2-3 points. If your lines will be printed very small, go even thicker. Other tips for great outlines:

  • Use curved, organic lines when appropriate to complement straight edges.
  • Vary your line weights – thicker for prominent edges, thinner for adjacent or background areas.
  • Make sure lines fully join up and close off sections.
  • Refine lines so they’re solid and uniform instead of sketchy or broken.

Maximize Contrast

High contrast between the coloring page lines and background helps the main design elements stand out. Here are some effective approaches:

  • Print lines in dark ink on white or light paper.
  • Display lines as white or colored on a solid black background.
  • Have lines and background complement each other – light on dark or vivid colors on black.
  • Ensure lines and adjacent spaces have distinctly different values.

Leave Open Areas for Creativity

While clearly defined areas allow colorists to stay within the lines, too many small details and compartments can limit creative options. Include some open spaces like:

  • Blank backgrounds around or within a subject
  • Flowing areas like water, sky, or grass
  • Abstract shapes and freeform designs

This breathing room allows colorists to add their own backgrounds, textures, and color blends.

Add Creative Elements and Texture

Take your coloring page beyond a simple line drawing by incorporating interesting visual elements like:

  • Patterns and textures – dots, stripes, bricks, wood grain, flowers, etc.
  • Dimension – perspective, shading, shadows, highlights
  • Movement – action lines, flowing water/hair, active poses
  • Whimsy – fun shapes, silly characters, playful settings

These details add visual interest and offer even more coloring possibilities while retaining defined zones.

Create a Balanced Composition

A balanced, well-arranged composition is pleasing to the eye on a coloring page. Some tips include:

  • Anchor the focal point but don’t center it – use the rule of thirds.
  • Spread out key elements evenly rather than clustering things together.
  • Lead the eye through the page with overlapping shapes, lines, and position.
  • Fill the frame but leave some negative space for contrast.

The goal is an organic, flowing layout that keeps the eye engaged as it moves around the coloring page.

Choose the Right Size

Coloring page dimensions should correlate with their intended use. Standard sizes include:

  • Full page (8.5 x 11 inches) – for printable pages
  • Half page or quarter page – for younger colorists
  • Square images – ideal for posts and apps
  • Mini images – good for cards, bookmarks, stickers

Scale your design to fit the target format. Allow for borders if printing. Produce printable pages at high resolutions (300 dpi) for sharp detail.

Use Quality Materials

For physical coloring pages, use thicker paper stocks like cardstock whenever possible to prevent marker or crayon bleeding. Choose paper with some tooth to hold color. Other quality materials include:

  • Acid-free and archival paper – lasts longer
  • Perforated edges – for easy removal from books
  • Laminates – protect finished works
  • Single-sided printing – stop bleed-through

Higher paper weights and coatings allow for richer, more vibrant finished coloring.

Add a Frame or Border

A border or frame finishes off your coloring page nicely and fixes focus on the central imagery. Try these options:

  • Simple solid color border – contains the image
  • Delicate frames – decorative accent
  • Related motifs – vines, flowers, butterflies, etc.
  • Simulated natural edge – as if torn from a book

Keep borders and frames minimal to not distract from the main subject. Keep ample white space between the frame and central image.

Enhance with Effects

Special printing effects can make your coloring page pop. Consider:

  • Metallic/shimmer inks – for accents and details
  • Embossing – subtle raised texture
  • Die cutting – custom shapes
  • Spot UV – isolated glossy areas

Use sparingly as focal points so these don’t overpower the overall clean design.

Add Creative Text

Text can complement your coloring page in fun ways while providing key information:

  • Title your page in an eye-catching font.
  • Describe the theme or subject – “Fairy Forest” or “Cupcakes.”
  • Make it interactive with prompts like “Color Me.”
  • Leave a blank space for names.

Text should be large, simple, and informal. Place carefully to not distract from the main imagery.

Include Your Branding

Don’t forget to integrate your logo, website, and other branding if designing for business purposes. Options include:

  • Small, discreet watermark of your logo or stamp
  • Your brand name and/or website
  • Social media tags and hashtags

This allows people to find and credit you as the original artist while enabling link backs.

Offer Multiple Versions

To extend the appeal and uses of your coloring page, provide assorted versions such as:

  • With and without text
  • Line art only and fully rendered
  • Color and black and white
  • Complex and simplified
  • With and without frames
  • Horizontal and vertical orientations

This allows colorists to choose the style that suits their needs and preferences.

Format for Your Medium

How you’ll present your coloring page determines specifications like file type, colors, and resolution:

Medium Recommended Format
Printables High-res PDF or JPG (300 dpi+) in CMYK color
Online post/blog 72-150 dpi RGB JPG or PNG with sRGB color profile
Social media 72-100 dpi RGB JPG optimized for web
Apps and eBooks PNG with transparency, 72-150 dpi RGB

Test different file types and compressions when exporting to find the optimal balance of image quality and file size.

Promote Your Coloring Page

Once your coloring page is complete, get the word out to your target audience! Promotion ideas include:

  • Offer free downloads on your website and social media.
  • Sell printable PDF bundles on Etsy or creative marketplaces.
  • Post on coloring forums and Facebook groups.
  • List on websites devoted to printable coloring pages.
  • Include in eBooks or printable collections.
  • Run social media contests for colorists.

Cross-promote new coloring pages across all your platforms to maximize visibility. Enjoy seeing how people interpret and color your unique design!


With mindful design choices and quality presentation, you can create coloring pages that will delight colorists of all ages. Assemble eye-catching themes, simplify elements, use bold outlines, maximize contrast, and compose balanced layouts featuring fun accents. Format for your intended medium, add branding, and promote on social media and relevant sites. Your imaginative, well-crafted coloring pages are sure to be a hit!