When I came across this colouring festival on Twitter I really couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard of it before, or that more people didn’t know about it! The #ColorOurCollections shares free colouring pages and the initiative started in 2016. It is such a fantastic resource for art teachers and art lessons that I had to share it with you.
The #ColorOurCollections colouring festival was started by The New York Academy of Medicine Library and it brings together incredible drawings, sketches, prints and print plates from huge cultural institutions around the world and makes them all downloadable – for FREE! Like I said, I really couldn’t believe I only just found out about such a valuable resource; some of the drawing pages are absolutely wonderful. Can you tell I’m excited…
Get new art resources sent straight to your email:
Each of the institutions that take part offers free drawing sheets, pages or books from their own collections, meaning the range of free colouring sheets on offer is immeasurable. Some of the institutions include:
- American Geographical Society Library – UW Milwaukee
- Bibliothèque multimédia intercommunale d’Épinal
- Eton College Library
- Captain Cook Memorial Museum
- Lithuanian National Museum of Art
- Royal Horticultural Society Libraries
So you can image the vast range of images that are available to download – the library is just huge.
Once I started looking through the different libraries and archives, I realised that I could easily spend hours sifting through the colouring sheets (and I did 😂) Most of the free colouring sheets come with information about the drawing and include the #ColourOurCollections tag – perfect to generate interest in the work, and a really great way to enrich a simple task.
To save you a bit of precious time, I have been through loads of the collections and organised the pictures into different categories, then put together PDF booklets of the images. There are thousands of free colouring pages to choose from, so I know I will have missed some beauties – but I am really pleased with the range I have selected. I chose them with students of all ages and abilities in mind.
I have categorised the free colouring pages into these groups and created a downloadable PDF for each one:
- Mythical and Magical Beasts
- Buildings and Architecture
- Patterns and Designs
- Plants, Flowers and Seeds
The cross-curricular links are amazing; the drawings are so rich and varied that there are excellent links to subjects across schools such as Religious Studies, Modern Foreign Languages, Science, Biology, Chemistry, History, Astrology, 3D Design, Music, Fashion and Textiles.
Feel free to share this page with other departments in your school!
I have put the single pages from each group into handy PDFs for you to download below – for free of course.
I plan on using these colouring pages for sub / cover art lessons, for early finishers or as extension tasks. I would love to see some of them done in surreal colours or with paints / pastels rather than just coloured pencils. Enjoy!
Animal Colouring Pages 🐶 🎨
These animal colouring pages are so varied and beautiful, I just love them. I have chosen images that I think will appeal to a range of students, and these drawings probably don’t look like any animal-style drawings students have seen before – I think they’d look great as posters.
Mythical and Magical Beasts Colouring Pages 🧚 🎨
There were some really surreal and unusual colouring pages that I just had to label as ‘Mythical and Magical Beasts’ – I really couldn’t work out how else to categorise them 😂 I think they’re brilliant! Wouldn’t these be great linked to a Mythology or Crazy Creatures art project? I know some of the boys in my classes will love them.
Buildings and Architecture Colouring Pages 🏛️ 🎨
These Building and Architecture colouring pages are obviously a great link to any art construction projects, but they could also be used to help with teaching perspective and improving rendering skills – a lovely cross-curricular link to Design Technology. There is a whole range of architectural styles from around the world too.
Food Colouring Pages 🥕 🎨
So many art projects and artists are inspired by Food, so I think these colouring sheets will be really useful. The drawings are incredibly detailed and even have labels written in different languages – more cross-curricular goodness! Why not share these with your Food / Technology department?
Pattern Colouring Pages ⚛️ 🎨
What I enjoyed about these pattern colouring sheets is that they were all so specific! Some are from the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design (perfect for any Islamic art projects!) and some even have information about where the patterns come from, such as ‘Block prints from India for Textiles’.
People Colouring Pages🧍 🎨
There were so many colouring sheets with people on them to choose from, so I have picked quite a wide variety. Some of the outfits that are shown would be great to use in Textiles lessons, and some even link to sports – perfect for a PE cover lesson with links to Art! There are some beautiful religious outfits too, imagine colouring these with metallics…
Plants, Flowers and Seeds Colouring Pages 🌿
These illustrations of plants, flowers and seeds are so fascinating, some have a very scientific quality (Ernst Haeckel), others have a lovely linear drawing style and a couple just look like works of art on their own! I can imagine them being blown up to A3 and used around classrooms when they’re finished.
Feel free to download any of the free colouring page PDF documents I have created and use them in your art lessons – I would love to see how your students get on! If you’re looking for other art cover or sub lessons, I have some great resources for easy lessons here: