Photocopy favorite book illustrations to create coloring pages

Printable coloring book pages — we've talked about them here before. They're popular because kids prefer coloring pictures of characters and scenes they already know and love.

For better or worse, my kids love the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. At first I found the potty jokes and prankster glamour irritating, but having a seven year-old boy requires opening one's mind to new forms of humor, and I'm now a big Pilkey fan myself.

Pilkey's illustrations are bold and cartoonish, perfect for coloring. But, like many, I have a built-in revulsion to my kids scribbling in their "reading" books. So, I photocopied a few two-page spreads using our HP All-In-One printer (printer/fax/copier…the greatest piece of hardware in the world), and now my kids can scribble to their heart's content on pictures they really care about. Bonus: it helps their reading skills at the same time.

The ink usage is high, so if you find yourself doing this often, it's worth a trip to Kinko's or similar photocopy shop.


  1. C Brannon says

    If you scan them into your computer you can convert them into better coloring pages by cranking the contrast up in your photoeditor, may also want to increase brightness to wash out the greyscales. I also sometimes use the “convert to black and white (1-bit)” feature.

    Another trick is to use the Edge Detection processing tool, this can sometimes simplify complex colored drawings to make good coloring pages.

    Finally, if you use your computer, you can print using “fast draft” mode and not only is it fast, but it saves a LOT of ink and it’s still perfectly good for coloring pages.

  2. L.Morea says

    I watch my nearly two year old grandson 3 days a week, he is just starting to show a prefrence for different shows and books. Just today we Googled a couple of the shows I let him watch and both the sites had printer friendly coloring pages and other games and printables. Di$ney ha$ a nice enough $ite if ya can $tand the mou$e. I would be careful trying to copy any licensed character at Kinkos. Capt. Underpants looks easy enough to draw, but heres a link to his page and some printable pages too—>

  3. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Ben: against the law to copy pages for your own personal use? Distributing the photocopied pages (printed or scanned), no, but copying them to color yourself? I’m okay with that in this case, especially because we’re big Pilkey buyers.

  4. Melissa says

    I sincerely doubt that photocopying some pages for kids to color on is against the law. It’s not like you’re selling them as a coloring book or copying the photos to use in your own book, or using the photos in a public display.

    Also, I’d recommend buying a laser printer over inkjet. ink printers are a rip off, and don’t last nearly as long as a good laser printer does. ink prices are utterly ridiculous.