Fine Art Coloring

According to Wikipedia: A coloring book (or colouring book) is a type of book containing line art for a reader to add color using crayons, colored pencils, marker pens, paint or other artistic media. Coloring books are generally used by children, though coloring books for adults are also available. They cover a wide range of subjects, from simple stories for children to intricate or abstract designs for adults. The golden age of coloring books is considered to be the 1960s.

Coloring books are where most kids start to develop their artistic dexterity. They are available relatively cheap, they are often related to cartoon characters or objects familiar to very young children. They provide guidelines for children who are learning to control their hand movements by “coloring inside the lines”.

The first coloring book, “The Little Folks’ Paint Book” was published in 1879. Crayola introduced the crayon in 1903. And the average American child spends 28 minutes a day coloring and wears down about 730 crayons by the age of 10. Between parents and schools, roughly 2.5 billion crayons are purchased each year.

Just like reading stories in picture/illustrated books with their children, parents often use coloring pages to teach children and stretch their imagination. Standard coloring pages provide outlines within which children can color, but some art educators believe that free-form pages are an even better tool. A good example of these coloring books can be found at CreativeColoringBooks.

Occasionally, you’ll find official cartoon or TV character sites (such as PBS programs) will make available coloring pages for free to their fans. And there are many other sites that distribute coloring pages of those copyrighted characters. Sounds like dangerous legal ground …but, surprisingly, I’ve never heard of any of these sites being prosecuted for copyright infringement. So they’ll probably continue to make them available.

A well-categorized coloring site is a great resource for teachers and parents, as well as for kids themselves. And the best sites have preformatted the pictures for easy printing. My favorite coloring site features two different kinds of coloring.

First, there’s the click-to-color pages, where very young children click on the color they want, then click on the part of the picture where they want to apply the color. This site features some 140 animals images that can be colored in this manner.

Secondly, there are the downloadable, printable coloring pages…organized into categories such as bird species, cat breeds, dinosaurs, dog breeds, generic animals, holiday & seasonal images, insects, medieval, mythical, music-related, ocean life, people and their jobs and wonders of the world.Not only do these pages “scratch the itch” of very young artists, but they can also double as quality clip art images.

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