A Free Shakespeare Coloring Book: While Away the Hours Coloring in Illustrations of 35 Classic Plays

From the people who brought you the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive comes an Illustrated Shakespeare Coloring Book--a coloring book featuring illustrations of 35 different Shakespeare plays. (All illustrations come from a nineteenth edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare.) The coloring book's creator, Michael Goodman, tell us: "It's obviously free to use and I hope in these days of home schooling parents might find it a simple way to engage their kids with Shakespeare." Access the coloring book here.

You can find more free coloring books in the Relateds below.

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While Away the Hours with a Free H.P. Lovecraft Call of Cthulhu Coloring Book

While Away the Hours with a Free H.P. Lovecraft Call of Cthulhu Coloring Book

Unlike his devotee Stephen King, whose novels and stories have spawned more Lovecraftian film and television projects than any writer in the genre, H.P. Lovecraft himself has little cinema credit to his name. Given the abject terror evoked by Cthulhu and other terrifying “primal Great Ones"—as the author called his monsters in the story of the octopus-headed god—we might expect it to be otherwise.

But Lovecraft was not a cinematic writer, nor a fan of any such modern storytelling devices. He preferred the Victorian mode of indirect narration, his prose full of hearsay, reportage, bibliography, and lengthy description of experiences once or twice removed from the teller of the tale.




These qualities (and his extreme racism) make him a poor choice for the plot-driven medium of feature film. Lovecraft’s expansive imagination, like his buried, dreaming monsters, was subterranean and submarine, revealing only the barest glimpse of nightmares we are grateful never to see fully revealed.

The endlessly suggestive psychological terror of Lovecraft has instead become the source of an extended universe that includes fan fiction—written by professionals and amateurs alike—fantasy art, comic books, and RPGs (role-playing games) like the Call of Cthulhu series made by Chaosium, Inc. for over 35 years: “the foremost game of mystery and horror,” the company touts. “For those brave enough to uncover its secrets, the rewards are beyond comprehension!” If this sounds just like the thing to pass the time during these days of social distancing, look over all of the Chaosium Cthulhu offerings here.

For those who prefer Lovecraftian immersions of a more solitary, meditative nature, allow us to present Call of Cthulhu: The Coloring Book, the first of many “fun and engaging diversions,” the company promises “we can enjoy while staying in, working-from-home, in quarantine, or in self-isolation….. While away the hours in lockdown coloring an amazing array of scenes, with striking images from H.P. Lovecraft’s stories—and the Call of Cthulhu RPG his imagination inspired (Horror on the Orient Express, Masks of Nyarlathotep, The Fungi from Yuggoth and more).”

While these many Lovecraft spin-offs may be unfamiliar, hints of their harrowing scenes always lay in the murky depths of Lovecraft’s fiction. See how award-winning artist Andrey Fetisov has imagined these encounters with ancient terrors. Then color his Moebius-like drawings in, and enter your work in a Call of Cthulhu coloring competition by sharing it with the hashtag #homewithchaosium. There will be prizes, sure to be surprises, though we hope the ruthless Elder Gods don’t have a hand in choosing them. Download all 28 eldritch scenes here.

via Boing Boing

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums: Download & Color Hundreds of Free Images

There are many roads to wellness. Meditation, yoga, exercise, and healthy diet are all effective therapies for bringing down stress levels. But we shouldn’t discount an activity we once used to while hours away as children, and that adults by the millions have taken to in recent years. Coloring takes us out of ourselves, say experts like Doctor of Psychiatry Scott M. Bea, “it's very much like a meditative exercise.” It relaxes our brain by focusing our attention and pushing distracting and disturbing thoughts to the margins. The low stakes make the activity easy and pleasurable, qualities grown-ups don’t get to ascribe to most of what they spend their time doing.

Reducing anxiety is all well and good, but some art and history lovers can’t accept just any old mass-market coloring book. Luckily, a consortium of over a hundred museums and libraries has given these special customers a reason to stick with it. Since 2016, the annual #ColorOurCollections campaign, led by the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), has made available, for free, adult coloring books. The range of images offers something for everyone, from early modern illustrations like the cat at the top, from Edward Topsell’s Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes (1607)—courtesy of Trinity Hall Cambridge; to the poignant cover of The Suffragist, below, from July 1919, a month after U.S. women won the right to the vote (from the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

There are, unsurprisingly, copious illustrations of medical procedures and anatomy, like that below from the Library at the University of Barcelona. There are vintage advertisements, “canoe-heavy content” from a Canadian museum, as Katherine Wu reports at Smithsonian, and war posters like that further down of Admiral Chester Nimitz asking for “the stuff” to hit “the spot,” i.e. Tokyo –from the Pritzker Military Museum. “The only commonality shared by the thousands of prints and drawings available on the NYAM website is their black-and-white appearance: The pages otherwise span just about every taste and illustrative predilection a coloring connoisseur could conjure.”

One Twitter fan pointed out that the initiative provides “a great way to get to know some of the collections held in libraries around the world.” Their enthusiasm is catching. But note that few of the institutions (see full collection here) have uploaded a large quantity of colorable images. Most of the “coloring books” consist of only a handful of pages, some only one or two. Taken altogether, however, the combined strength of one hundred institutions, over four years (see previous years at the links below), adds up to many hundreds of pages of coloring fun and relaxation. If that’s your thing, start here. If you don’t know if it’s your thing, #ColorOurCollections is a free (minus the cost of printer ink and paper), educational way to find out. Grab those crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils, etc. and calm down again the way you did when you were six years old.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Download Free Coloring Books from 113 Museums

One can only color so many floral-trimmed affirmations before one begins to crave something slightly more perverse. An emaciated, naked, anthropomorphized mandrake root, say or…

Thy wish is our command, but be prepared to hustle, because today is the final day of Color Our Collections, a compellingly democratic initiative on the part of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Since 2016, the Academy has made an annual practice of inviting other libraries, archives, and cultural institutions around the world to upload PDF coloring pages based on their collections for the public's free download.

This year 113 institutions took the bait.

Our host, the New York Academy of Medicine kicks things off with the aforementioned mandrakes, and then some.




Medical subjects are a popular theme here. You’ll find plenty of organs and other relevant details to color, compliments of Boston’s Countway Library’s Center for the History of MedicineLondon’s Royal College of Physicians, and the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (aka the Mütter Museum).

The coloring book of the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center at the Davenport Public Library is a bit more all-ages. They certainly remind me of my childhood. The work of native son, Patrick J. Costello, above, figures heavily here. Either he deserves a lot of credit for developing the School House Rock aesthetic, or he was one of a number of hard working illustrators tapping into the cartoon-y, thick-nibbed zeitgeist

The Andover-Harvard Theological Library’s coloring book has some divine options for those who would use their coloring pages as DIY 16th-century bookplates or alphabet primers.

Those who need something more complex will appreciate the intricate maps of the Lithuanian Art Museum’s coloring book. Coloring Franz Hogenberg’s 1581 map of Vilnius is the emotional equivalent of walking the labyrinth for god knows how many hours.

As befits a content website-cum-digital-National-Library, the Memoria Chilena Coloring Book 2019 has something for every taste: flayed anatomical studies, 1940’s fashions, curious kitty cats, and a heaping helping of jesters.

Check out all your options here.

Once you've had your way with the Crayolas, please share your creations with the world, using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

Participating Institutions 2019

The New York Academy of Medicine Library

Royal College of Physicians, London

OHSU Historical Collections & Archives

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Special Collections

Swarthmore College Libraries

South Carolina State Library

Shenandoah County Library, Truban Archives

Biblioteca de la Universidad de Zaragoza

Christ's College Library, Cambridge

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

University of Waterloo Special Collections & Archives

Wageningen University & Research

Brunel University Special Collections

Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

Washington State Library

Saint Francis de Sales Parish United by the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish History Archives

Getty Research Institute

Auckland Museum

Loyola University Chicago Archives & Special Collections

Seton Hall University Libraries

Bibliotheque interuniversitaire de Sante, Paris

Digital Library at Villanova University

West Virginia and Regional History Center

Bass Library, Yale University Library

University of Kansas Libraries

Medical Heritage Library

The Ohio State University Health Sciences Library

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives

University of British Columbia Library

National Library of Medicine

Science History Institute

Ricker Library of Architecture and Art at the University of Illinois

Chautauqua Institution Archives

Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Quebec

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden

Auburn University Special Collections and Archives

Open Museum, Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures

Les Champs Libres

Lithuanian Art Museum

Memoria Chilena

Barret Library, Rhodes College

Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF)

Royal Anthropological Institute

Delaware Museum of Natural History

James Madison University Libraries

Utah State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives

Stevens Institute of Technology / Archives & Special Collections

Waring Historical Library of the Medical University of South Carolina

Bernard Becker Medical Library at Washington University in St. Louis

University of Puget Sound

Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections

Queens' College Library, Cambridge

Stadtbibliothek Koeln

Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Rare Book and Manuscript CRAI Library at University of Barcelona

Newberry Library

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Lambeth Palace Library

Folger Shakespeare Library

University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections

John J. Burns Library

Biodiversity Heritage Library

The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa Digital Library

Tennessee State Museum

Center for the History of Medicine, Countway LIbrary

Russian State Library

South Carolina Historical Society

Library Company of Philadelphia

The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Pratt Institute Archives

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, University of Minnesota Libraries

Washington University Libraries Julian Edison Department of Special Collections

Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary

Leonard H. Axe Library, Pittsburg State University

Susquehanna University, Blough-Weis Library

Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library

Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy

Findlay-Hancock County Public Library

Northern Illinois University

Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatan

Lake County Public Library

United Nations Library Geneva

Jeleniorskie Centrum Informacji i Edukacji Regionalnej Ksiaznica Karkonoska

Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago

Grand Portage National Monument Archives Collection

Jagiellonian Library

Botanical Research Institute of Texas

University of North Texas Libraries

Lehigh University Libraries Special Collections

Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Massachusetts General Hospital Archives & Special Collections

Clark Special Collections, McDermott Library, USAFA

Bibliotheque nationale de France

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Archive & Library

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

British Library

Western University Archives and Special Collections

Europeana

Denver Botanic Gardens

MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society

Grinnell College Libraries

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

National Library of Russia

Eastern Kentucky University Special Collections & Archives

Numelyo

Louisiana State University Special Collections

New York State Library

North Carolina Pottery Center

Royal Horticultural Society Libraries

Library of Virginia

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  See her onstage in New York City this Monday as host of  Theater of the Apes book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Download 150 Free Coloring Books from Great Libraries, Museums & Cultural Institutions: The British Library, Smithsonian, Carnegie Hall & More

coloring book 1

A news alert for fans of coloring books.

You can now take part in the 2018 edition of #ColorOurCollections–a campaign where museums, libraries and other cultural institutions make available free coloring books, letting you color artwork from their collections and then share it on Twitter and other social media platforms. When sharing, use the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.




Below you can find a collection of 20 free coloring books, which you can download, print, and color until you can color no more. Also find a complete list of 150 coloring books over at this site maintained by The New York Academy of Medicine Library.

To see the free coloring books offered up in 2016, click here. And 2017, here.

The image up top comes from The British Library.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

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The Dune Coloring & Activity Books: When David Lynch’s 1984 Film Created Countless Hours of Peculiar Fun for Kids

David Lynch's Dune, the $40 million cinematic spectacle based on Frank Herbert's science-fiction epic, faced more than its fair share of challenges: Lynch's lack of artistic control, elaborate but not quite successful special effects, source material so unsuited to feature-film adaptation that audiences had to read glossaries before the first screenings. In an attempt to get ahead of bad buzz, the massive advertising and merchandising blitz had begun well before the movie's Christmas 1984 release, but none of its flanks seemed to understand the enterprise of Dune any better than most of those viewers did.

Case in point: the Dune coloring and activity books, evidence that, as Comics Alliance's Jason Michelitch writes, "what Universal Pictures wanted was a Star Wars of their very own — a whiz-bang space adventure for eight-year-olds that they could merchandise the heck out of to the wide-eyed kids that just a year previous had wheedled their parents into buying plush ewok dolls and toy lightsabers. Instead, Lynch and producer Dino De Laurentis provided them with a dark epic actually fit for consumption by thinking adults. Imagine their chagrin."

Meredith Yanos at Coilhouse offers a more detailed writeup of the hours of fun on offer in these tonally bizarre books: "First, there’s the Dune Coloring Book, 44 pages of lurid scenes featuring conspiratorial characters from the film. Then there’s the Dune Activity Book. 60 pages of puzzles and games, mazes and more pictures for coloring," including a recipe for “No-Bake Spice Cookies” that substitutes common cinnamon for Dune's Spice, a  "wacky awareness spectrum narcotic that controls the universe." Other volumes contain Dune-themed paper dolls, Dune-themed word puzzles, and even Dune-themed math problems.

Though Dune remains primarily remembered as one of the worst flops in cinema history (and even Lynch himself usually refuses to discuss it), a few fans have also come to its defense over the past 32 years. Some of them have no doubt wanted to pass this revisionist appreciation down to their children, a task the Dune coloring and activity books may (or may not) make easier. If you buy them on Amazon, you'll have to pay between $45 and $75 each — nothing compared to the cost of anything in the actual production of Dune, of course, but still, you may want to keep an eye on eBay instead.

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Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums: The Met, New York Public Library, Smithsonian & More

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums: The Met, New York Public Library, Smithsonian & More

Calling all coloring book lovers. You can now take part in #ColorOurCollections 2017–a campaign where museums and libraries worldwide will make available free coloring books, letting you color artwork from their collections and then share it on Twitter and other social media platforms. When sharing, use the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

Below you can find a collection of free coloring books, which you can download and continue to enjoy. If you see any that we’re missing, please let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to update the page. To see the free coloring books that were offered up in 2016, click here.




Color Our Collections is organized by The New York Academy of Medicine Library. So please give them thanks.

Looking for free, professionally-read audio books from Audible.com? Here’s a great, no-strings-attached deal. If you start a 30 day free trial with Audible.com, you can download two free audio books of your choice. Get more details on the offer here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

The First Adult Coloring Book: See the Subversive Executive Coloring Book From 1961

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