I absolutely love Pixlr, a completely web-based image editing program that you can use anywhere that has many of the functions of Photoshop and other high-end editors. Recently, I used Pixlr to create coloring book style versions of historical images from UNCG’s Digital Collections, like this one. Students are back at UNCG this week, and apparently they love coloring! Luckily for me, fabulous staff members from UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives had already created coloring book versions of historical images, but I also wanted to figure out how to do it on my own.
After much Googling and testing out of different options, I came up with a good workflow using Pixlr. In the spirit of using Pixlr, get ready for lots of pictures below!
- Visit Pixlr.com and choose Pixlr Editor.
- Select Open image from computer.
- If you’ve used Photoshop or other similar products, the workspace will look familiar to you.
- Once you’ve opened the image you want to work with, click on the adjustment menu and select “desaturate.”
- Now, in your layers menu on the right side of the page, right click and duplicate this background layer.
- Next, go back to the adjustments menu and select “invert.” Your image should now look like a photo negative.
- We’re in the home stretch now! Back on the layers menu, select the icon in the bottom left (it should say “Toggle layer settings” when you hover over it). Once you’ve clicked that, change the mode from “Normal” to “Add.”
- Your picture now looks like a blank white canvas. Don’t worry! It’s supposed to!
- Now, click on the Filter menu and select “Gaussian Blur.” Adjust the slider so that you get the level of detail you want.
- And now, you’re done! You should have an image that looks something like:
For our coloring station, we provided a table, a chair, some crayons, colored pencils, and markers, and we printed the images on 11×17 paper. It’s been a hit!
-Jenny Dale, Chair, TNT RoundTable
Come back next Friday, September 2nd, for our next installment of Free Fridays!