DIY Coloring Pages from Photos

This is a great tutorial for anyone looking to turn a favorite photo memory into line art for coloring. Any image can easily be transformed into a blank coloring canvas with the help of X-Press It Transfer Paper!

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If you're like most artists, you have wonderful pictures that you would just love to render with Copic markers or other coloring products. Often, however, you may feel unsure about your ability to just get the linework down on paper. It can be scary to put that first mark on a clean white page! But fear no more because the Transfer Paper by X-Press It the perfect tool for transforming an image into line art for coloring.

Generic Supplies

  • Photocopy of image you would like to translate into line art
  • Sheet of high-quality rendering paper
  • A red ballpoint pen

Imagination International Supplies

  • Sheet of X-Press It Graphite Transfer Paper
  • Copic Colors for Flower: R35, R37, R43, YR02, YR04, V22
    • Opaque White
    • 0.5 / 0.3mm Multiliners in Warm Grey
  • Copic Colors for Background: G00, YG67, YG91, YG93, YG97
    • Colorless Blender


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Step one: Stack Your Sheets

Take a sheet of X-Press It A4 Graphite Transfer Paper and a sheet of paper for your marker rendering. In this case, I’m using Copic sketch paper.

Next, turn the gray side of the paper down so that it’s facing toward the sketch paper. Take the image you would like to copy and turn that face-up so that you can see the image.

So, now we have a sandwich with Copic Sketch Paper at the bottom, Transfer paper (gray side facing down) in the middle, and your photocopy at the top (facing up so you can see the image you want to transfer).

Step two: Hold It Together

Take a little Scotch tape and gently tack the top edges of the transfer paper and the photocopy down onto the sketch paper. 

Step three: Outline your design

Now grab a simple ballpoint pen. Red is perfect because you can easily see the line you have made on the photocopy. Now with a firm hand (not too heavy), simply trace the linework on your image. The pressure of the ballpoint pen is enough to imprint an image onto your sketch paper.

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If you want to see how you are going (just in case you think you may have left off a few lines), with the photocopy and transfer paper tacked down on the top edge, you can just lift up and check out your work. The red ink on the photocopy also makes it easy to check your progress on the top sheet.

Step four: The Big Reveal

nce you have finished transferring the image, simply remove the Scotch tape to remove both the photocopy and the transfer paper, leaving behind the final linework on your sketch paper ready to be rendered. 

While it’s not absolutely necessary, I recommend taking a kneadable eraser and gently pressing the linework to remove any excess graphite before you commence your rendering. 

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Step 5: Render Away

Once you have finished transferring your image, you can start rendering (or coloring) with Copic markers and more!

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In this case I wanted to use the colors on the photograph as a guide.

My Copic color palette is noted above. In addition, I have also used a little blender ink on a cloth for texture, some Copic White on the water droplets, and 0.5 / 0.3mm Multiliners in Warm Gray to line out some areas of the image.

That's it! Enjoy creating more art by using this Transfer Paper technique.


Tutorial by Nigel Gough

Nigel Gough is a Registered Architect, Industrial Designer and Concept Designer that and has been working in the industry since the mid 1980’s. works with Imagination International as an educator creating classes on architectural and product design. In addition to his position at NGI he has also been an active member of the Australian design visualization community as a long standing Lecturer in Design Visualisation at the Queensland University of Technology and as an Executive Member of the Australian Association of Architectural Illustrators AAAI Inc. As testimony to his experience and passion for design visualisation he has received a number of national and international awards including numerous awards of excellence in the renowned Architecture in Perspective Competition run annually by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators ASAI .