Use a Creative Fabrica Colouring Book in Affinity Publisher
Hi everyone! I’m going to teach you how to use Affinity Publisher to open and edit KDP colouring pages that can be downloaded from Creative Fabrica!
You will learn:
- How to use Master pages to set up repeating elements that appear on all pages
- How to use Publisher’s studio link to move quickly into Designer persona and colour the pages using vector brushes
- How to edit vector brushes to create new brushes
- How to use Affinity’s swatches panel
You will need:
At the time of writing, the colouring pages are 80% off making them only 1$ and The Affinity suite is all at 50% off with a full 90 day free trial period.
Let’s jump right in and get started!
Once you have downloaded and extracted the colouring pages, open Publisher and dismiss the new document dialogue that appears. Go to File > Open, and browse to where you saved the colouring pages and open the pdf document. You will notice in the Pages panel to the left that the PDF opens with extra blank pages, so the first thing you need to do is to delete them. To make this a little easier, click on the little hamburger button that looks like horizontal lines at the top right of the Pages panel, and choose Medium as the thumbnail size
Place your pointer on the left side of the Pages panel and it will turn into a double-sided arrow. Pull out the side of the panel until you have two rows. Hold Ctrl on a PC, or Command on a Mac, and select all of the extra pages. Make sure to keep all the extra pages selected and right-click on one in the Pages panel, then select ‘Delete 31 pages’ in the context menu that pops up.
Now that you have removed all the extra pages, the next step is to add a Master page. To do this, at the top of the Pages panel it will say ‘Master Pages’ and you will see 3 buttons. Click the left button to add a Master page. Now you have a blank Master page.
You are going to add two things to this master; a background that you can recolour and a layer for colouring on.
First, you will add the background. This background is going to be the same size as the outline border. Double click a regular page in the page section of the Pages panel. On the toolbar select the rectangle tool *note – if the rectangle tool isn’t showing and you see a different shape, click the little white triangle next to the shape and select the rectangle from the list of shapes. Make sure snapping is turned on. Click the magnet icon on the top bar, make sure it appears depressed. Click and drag with the rectangle tool and let it snap to the outline border – don’t worry if it covers it, it’s not going to stay there and it will appear underneath at the end.
Once you have drawn your rectangle, make it a pale colour. Any colour will do for now, I chose a pale grey-blue. Ctrl+ X to cut the rectangle to the clipboard, then click the white triangle next to Master Pages to open that part of the panel. By default, your Master page that you created will be labeled ‘Master A.’ Double click the thumbnail to open it for editing and Ctrl+V to paste the rectangle. By default, it will paste right into place.
Layer for colouring
Next, you need to add a new layer to colour on. Do this by clicking on the ‘Add Layer’ button right next to the little trash can button and this will create a new layer. I like to keep my layers organized and easily identifiable, so click each of these layers you just added in the layers panel to highlight, and then click the layer’s label to edit it. I called the empty layer ‘Colouring Layer’ and the layer with the rectangle, ‘Background.’ Before you start the next part of this tutorial, this is a good time to save your document as an Affinity Publisher file.
You are ready to choose a page to colour. For this tutorial, I have chosen page 8 to colour but you can choose any you want. However, because of the way the PDF was created the outlines actually aren’t outlines, they are vector shapes so you can’t actually colour these pages in Publisher alone. That’s where Designer comes in. You need to have both Designer and Publisher installed for this to work.
At the top left of the program interface, you will see the Persona buttons. If you have all 3 apps you can use these buttons to switch to Designer or Photo persona. For this tutorial, you will use Designer. Click the middle of the 3 buttons (the one with the designer icon) and instantly your toolbar changes and you are in Designer Persona.
Studio link doesn’t actually put you into Designer but it gives you a large amount of the tools and panels available in Designer. You will see that the Pages panel has now become Assets or Appearance, depending on what you have set up. Your toolbar now shows vector tools and menus will have different items pertaining to Designer.
You will be colouring this with vector brushes, there is quite an assortment that come with Affinity and many more can be downloaded from various locations from other Affinity users. For today, you will be using one that comes with Affinity. It can be found in the Brushes panel under the Category pens. Choose the first brush in the list – it is a simple solid brush with pressure settings. You can use it as is but I’m going to show you how to adjust the settings and make an additional brush for your collection.
Double click the brush in the Brushes panel and the ‘Edit Brush’ dialogue appears. Before you make any adjustments, down at the bottom of the panel click ‘Duplicate’ and a copy of the brush will be created at the bottom of the brushes list. Select the copy and make sure you are editing the copy. Make the following adjustments. Set brush width to 30px, set size variance to 80%, and leave everything else the same. Close the Edit Brush panel and your new brush is ready for use. You can change the name by clicking the three horizontal lines at the top of the brushes panel and choose ‘Rename Brush.’ I named mine ‘Solid pressure thick’.
Time for colouring! Select the Master page and expand it in the layers panel. With the Master page still selected, you see some edit buttons up on the context toolbar at the top. Click ‘Detached’. You will see an orange bar at the top which indicates you are editing in detached mode and that you won’t affect any other pages.
Choose the vector paintbrush from the toolbar on the left side and select your new brush. You are ready to begin!
First, open the swatches panel and click the hamburger button, and choose Add New Palette > Document Palette. A new unnamed Palette will be created. Click the hamburger button again and select ‘Rename Palette’ and give your palette a name. This palette will be a part of the document and will be available any time you open your coloring book up.
Use the colour wheel to pick a colour and start colouring. To save your colour for use again, make sure your palette is open in the Swatches Panel and right-click somewhere you have coloured with it, then choose Add to Swatches > From Line. Your colour will appear in the palette. By saving colours into the palette, you will build up a set of colours as you go and anytime you use the colouring book, they will be available. Now have some fun and colour away your stress!