Coloring Book

The Florida Keys Coral and Reef Fish Coloring Book

I finally finished a working-draft of the fish coloring book! What began as a simple idea to make a kid-friendly version of my fish journal has morphed into a massive – and ongoing – project that I hope to improve upon over time. At the end of this post, you’ll find two downloadable versions of the most recent edition of the coloring book: a printable version and one for digital use.

The idea for this coloring book grew out of my plan to take my niece snorkeling in the keys and to teach her about all the reef fish we would see. When I go diving or snorkeling, I like to jot notes, observations, and other details in my fish journal in order to help me remember what I saw and learn key fish ID characteristics. I wanted my niece to have her own fish-journal.

Obviously, she can’t write in a journal yet, but I thought she would enjoy looking at all the little sketches I’ve made to help me remember physical details. What if i gave her a collection of fish sketches that she could color in? This would be a really fun way to learn about all the different fish we see snorkeling. Thus the fish coloring book idea began.

I collected my best and favorite fish photos and quickly began creating sketches from these. I admit, I did have to reach beyond my own collection of photos but I hope to amend this over time by trading these out for sketches from my own photos. This is especially important because after running a few tests with friends, I realized the written descriptions on the back of each page are not as helpful as I hoped they would be. Ideally, I would like to replace the written descriptions with a tiny color photo of the fish in the corner as a guide.

In the meantime, you can click on a link below to go to an earlier post with photos of almost every fish included in the coloring book.

Update after the snorkeling trip;

The snorkeling trip was a ton of fun! Although our boat snorkel trip got cancelled due to weather, we did get to do a brief beach snorkel to test out our gear and then two amazing snorkeling adventures at the Florida Keys Aquarium.

I overestimated how much time and energy we would all have after snorkeling so we didn’t have time to talk about the fish we saw during the trip. However, the coloring book has been a great activity we can do together during our virtual hang-out sessions – we color and talk about the fish that live in and around coral reefs. The image below is one of my niece’s works of art that she has given me permission to share with you here.

Downloadable Coloring Book Files

The first file is a PDF with all the content pages assembled for digital use – my niece likes to use this version for coloring on an ipad. No paper waste and she can re-color images as many times as she likes.

This second file is a printable version set up for 2-sided printing with binding on the long edge; the margins and back pages are adjusted and reoriented to accommodate this layout. You will see blank pages inserted where there is no back-page content.