In a time where it feels like there’s no control, there’s a comfort to having a world to dive into where it feels like you’re the boss. In video games, you have the controller in your hands, and with that, the fate of the characters is within your decision.
Those decisions are yours to make, and some will be easier than others. However, as much as I love video games, I know there’s a time to step away from the screen and do something else.
How can we combine a love for video games and something offscreen? Coloring.
Though geared towards kids, coloring is not just for the youngins anymore. De-stressing by coloring has become a pastime for those of us above single-digit ages. It’s fun to have an outlet that gives us the ability to combine gaming with coloring to feel young again. You’re never too old for video games and certainly never too old to color.
Personally, if I’m going to break out my colored pencils or markers, I want to be filling in a page of a character or a scene that I have some kind of personal attachment to. One such game? Legend of Zelda.
It doesn’t matter which installment or iteration; I know that Forest Green will be used to help Link’s tunic compliment the silver tones of the Hylian shield. Though I aim for a more realistic color palette, therein lies the beauty of art: there is no right way to do it.
Color Link in as though he is making his way through the Fire Temple on Death Mountain. The world is your oyster. Color it!
I decided to go through and find the pages I would like to color most when I want to relax without my screen. I typically color with your basic colored pencils, but I’ve been known to occasionally branch out into marker territory. It depends on the day.
My top pick is Majora’s Mask for the detailed simplicity among the lines, but amusing nature of the picture. The mask itself has simple line work, but as it sits on the face of the Skull Kid, reclined in a familiar pose to all the times he taunted us at the top of the Clock Tower on the Third Day, we’re given more to color, and that’s perfect.
My Top Picks
- Character Detail: Legend of Zelda Coloring Page
- TriForce: Triforce Coloring Page
- Young Link: Young Link
- Young Zelda: Young Zelda
- Adult Link: Adult Link Side
- Adult Zelda: Adult Zelda
Now, For Your Coloring Pleasure
Legend of Zelda Coloring Page
You will be busy here; I don’t know what else to tell you. The intricacies are plentiful but also crucial. Creating a work of art takes time, and this piece is something that speaks to that philosophy. Made for the more skilled hand to stay within the lines, but then again, it’s your creation: color how it feels best.
- Very detailed
- Lots of intricate designs to color
- Will keep you busy for a while
- A chance to break out the fine-tipped markers
- Not good for kids
- Not great for crayons or other thicker coloring utensils
Triforce Coloring Page
Once again, a lot of detail here and plenty of room for colorful experimentation. The amount of maneuverability that this page gives you is incredible. Try contrasting colors to round out the Triforce look.
- Excellent representation of the intricate details of each of the components of the Triforce
- Detailed design lends itself to hours of entertainment
- Great for adult colorers
- Not a quick piece
- Limited manual dexterity will likely cause frustration
- Linear thinkers who would like to align to the exact colors as seen onscreen may have a harder time replicating the shiny effect of the video game
A cartoon-style Young Link screams Windwaker, but don’t let me be the one to tell you how to color the little Hylian Hero. Young Link lends himself to an easier color palette and perhaps a quick color project or something good for the kids.
- Quick coloring page to release some stress
- Good for young colorers
- Made for crayons and markers
- Kid friendly
- The Hylian Crest isn’t to scale
- Some shading has already been done
Young Zelda has more detail but still holds on to the young vibe as you go about coloring in her garments and creating the beautiful princess she is.
- Fun and fast for kids
- Different areas of her dress allow for shading with the same color
- Opportunities to learn about depth in color
- Some of the symbols aren’t drawn correctly
- Eyes are already colored in
- Potential frustration with smaller lines to stay within on dress piping
Adult Link Side
Adult Link is an edgy dude. If you had gone through everything he’s been through in that short amount of time, you’d probably look perpetually annoyed too; even from your side profile.
Who can blame him? A fairy on his shoulder who doesn’t know how to shut up, a seemingly unobtainable goal, and something around every corner that either wants to kill him or at least cause gross bodily harm. I would be on edge too.
- Different view allows for new coloring ideas
- Detailing the sword handle and in Link’s sleeves give an opportunity to create a different look from his usual green tunic
- Here’s your shot to work on blending color tones in Link’s hair
- No full face view
Full of vim and vigor but still behind the palace walls, Zelda looks stunning in her garb, decked out with all the sparkle and shine you want to see in a princess. Perhaps that’s why Link looks so edgy: trying to match vibes with the person you’re saving and/or aiding has to be difficult.
- Super intricate allowing for a nice chunk of time to be used to color Zelda in
- She has a variety of symbols from different games on her costume, allowing for thematic variation
- Great for fine line-work
- Endless options of color choices
- Not great for kids with limited manual dexterity
Deku Shield Link
With the mischievous glint in his eye, Young Link has his Deku Shield and is ready to go. Let’s not forget that this is a shield we can lose to battle or fire. Color with care and proceed with caution. It’s dangerous to go alone, yes, but I’m starting to think carrying that fire hazard is equally as cumbersome.
- Detailed Young Link is like carbon copy from Ocarina of Time
- Eyes are open to color to give him the most realistic vibe
- Drawn to scale very well, so there’s no guesswork as to which series he’s from or which age bracket he falls into within the franchise
- Deku Shield is already partially colored in
- Belt is already colored in
I didn’t think it was possible to be able to hear a coloring page scream, but when I look at Young Link here, his victorious voice resonates in my head as it does within the Temple walls.
The Master Sword is a pivotal moment, and this coloring page allows the artist to take liberties with how the walls are colored and designed while still giving creative control to capturing Link in his glory.
- Very detailed for fine coloring
- A picture in action made to color can be hard to capture but it was done very well here
- The depth of the rising walls create a stunning visual waiting to be colored in
- It’s not looking like Link is wearing tights, and for the youngsters in the audience with a cheeky sense of humor, this could get interesting
I see that side-eye. The Hylian Hero has a little attitude, perhaps captured in his teen years while growing pains besieged any boy becoming a man faces… while carrying the hopes and dreams of society on his shoulders. Never too much for Link! Make sure you capture his earring: it’s got some real pizazz.
- This is at least an hour if not more to get him appropriately colored in
- Lots of detail to keep you busy
- Edgy Link is back and ready for another close up
- Stylized to make it so finer tipped pencils and markers are the best implements
- A little rougher around the edges
Royalty? Yes indeed. Everything about her outfit screams palace upbringing with a hint of fierce independence. We love that for any royal member. The look on her face has to be captured correctly because if colored incorrectly, the look Zelda is giving off loses some luster along the way. Make sure to follow the lines here; it’s important.
- Good for something like a car ride or even a flight, this is going to be time consuming
- Line-work is clean
- She looks as real as she does onscreen
- Incredible intricacies in her garb
- Not for kids
Anyone who tells you they didn’t want to have Link’s slingshot is a liar. Look how far that branch-centric contraption could launch a Deku Seed at a moments notice. I promise you, if I had one, I would have been much cooler in elementary school. A little bit cooler. It would have been fun to own, coolness level affected or not.
- Great for kids
- Open space to color
- No extra detail put in to create a need to color compromise
- Linework is a little confusing in places
- I still don’t own that slingshot
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is there a Trick to Finding the Right Coloring Pages?
Answer: I hopped around a bunch to find printable pictures that didn’t have a giant licensure watermark across the page; I wanted to make sure that the images I found were appropriately accredited to their designer.
Art is intellectual property, and it would be a shame to see that hard work be taken and discredited. The trick is to look in the right places and websites, and to know what to look for.
Question: What are those Websites?
Think of a Creative Commons-type situation, but make it for coloring pages. That’s what you’re looking for. Look for free pages that don’t have a hidden paywall, and any checkered background behind the image means it isn’t meant for you to print out and color and that’s okay. Sharing is caring, but only when it’s allowed.
Question: Does it Matter what Kind of Implementation I Use?
Answer: By and large, it doesn’t! Whatever strikes your fancy. Crayola Colored Pencils 100ct is a great place to start. Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers are another must-have for the avid colorer. Start there and as you feel ready, keep going. Crayola has a little bit of something for everyone. Check it out, and have fun!
There are no shortage of printable, colorable pages online for the right artist to get ahold of and create something brilliant. For me, the selection came down to pictures and moments that made me remember something or feel all-encompassing of the part of the story I was reliving in the picture.
One factor I think a lot of people fail to realize about video games and art going together: the nostalgia factor.
Every player remembers the pivotal moments in a game or when the newest version of our favorite character was available in a new iteration. We are a beautiful community of people, the wide world of gamers.
Taking that love of the game outside the screen can be difficult, especially when moving mediums to put pen (or in this case, probably colored pencil) to paper to create what you see in your favorite games and in your minds-eye. If it doesn’t come out exactly the way you think it should, that’s okay too. Herein lies the beauty of the do-over.
We get them in video games, and so infrequently we get them in life. However, when finding a hidden gem within an artistic endeavor, there’s room for a do-over if it feels right. And if you’re worried about it, don’t worry, I won’t tell.
From one artist to many others, enjoy this break from the screen and downtime to pursue something new. You might love it. I know when I put down the controller and picked up a pencil, new doors started opening up. The best is yet to come.