Supplies: Black and white glossy photos, colored fine point Sharpies
Time: 5-15 minutes per picture
I think deep down every adult still loves coloring. What could be more relaxing and also provide a pretty picture when you’re done? You feel focused, but your mind is completely free to wander. If you ever need to calm down and get a quick therapy session just sit down with some paper, your preferred coloring mechanism, and your favorite songs. The point is, I love to color.
About a month ago I saw an episode of something on HGTV where the designer went to an artist who taught him how to hand paint color onto black and white photos. I looked it up, but since I couldn’t remember anything about the show (except that project) I didn’t find anything. I read a few things about using tinting markers and various paint products, but I thought I’d save some money and see if I could use what I already had in the house.
I started with a few of my favorite photos printed in black and white at Walgreens for under two bucks.
I knew right away I wanted to try coloring the picture of the inside of my neighborhood R train from when I lived in Brooklyn last summer.
I printed a color version too, just for the sake of these pictures. If you’re doing this at home you can just look at the colored file on your computer. If you used film just reference your memory.
I was so excited to try this picture because 1) there are lots of good memories involved and 2) the colors are perfect! The seats are vibrant and the rest of the car is kind of dull. Unfortunately, I don’t think they make Sharpies the mustardy color of a yellow subway seat, so regular yellow had to work. I really like the way it turned out.
The combination of the extra bright colors, slightly imperfect hues, and black and white surrounding makes these look kind of trippy. I love how this one looks! While you’re coloring keep in mind that you’ll be looking at these from a distance. The yellow covers beautifully, but if you look closely at the orange it looks like this:
You can totally tell it’s colored. But look back up at the other one. Looks good, right? So don’t lose heart. By the way, how crazy does that picture looks?
I colored several others. A couple didn’t work for various reasons. The one of the little kid didn’t work because the colors I had weren’t quite right. The “Bump Your Ass Off” (classy bumper car sign at Coney Island) picture didn’t work because the first two words printed completely white against a white background when I got rid of the color even though it was originally blue on yellow. Just a note: the more solid white you have in the shape you’re coloring the more your marker lines will show up.
Here are my other ones:
The top picture was taken by my dad in Salida, Colorado. There’s a copy hanging in their downstairs bathroom.
The top one is the Maroon Bells near Aspen, CO. It’s my least favorite, but it looks okay. I wanted to see how a landscape would work. You almost can’t tell the mountains and water are in black and white in this picture.
The bottom picture was taken in front of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York. I left a few of the yarn stripes in black and white just for fun. I might have colored the taxi too if I had the right color.
This is a great project for anyone to do! As long as you’re able to color inside the lines you can do this. I already have a regular print of the yarn pole framed on my wall, but I’m going to switch it out for this one! Take some time and get a little coloring therapy. You’ll feel great when you’re finished.