My Desk

Coloring books are great for kids. They encourage creativity and control, and there are a seemingly endless array of styles, characters, scenes, themes, and complexities to choose from. Painting Lulu adds to the mix with Painting Lulu: Meet Lulu and its free companion app. The 32-page coloring book is designed for kids ages 3 and up to color Lulu and her friends—all of whom are recyclable consumer goods that represent a part of the life cycle of environmentally-friendly products.

The illustrations throughout the book are really cute—from a simple picture of Alli the Beautiful Electric School Bus surrounded by bubbles and sparkles, to Toby the Plastic Bottle and Milky the Milk Jug roasting marshmallows over a campfire under the stars, to Jill the Aluminum Can sunbathing on the beach, the coloring book is filled with adorable depictions of Lulu and her friends having fun adventures and enjoying themselves.

Painting Lulu’s pages each contain a QR scan code. When kids scan it in the free app (available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon for Android), the illustration instantly shows up on the screen of the device. Kids can use the included stylus, which looks like a chunky blue crayon, to select colors and color in the picture. Kids can save their paintings, and parents can even share them with family and friends directly from their phone or tablet.

Taking it a step further, the app lets kids use the device’s camera to capture an image of whatever they want. The image shows up in coloring book form in black or white, or in true color form. Kids can then color the image in however they want.

Kids can also select images to color in directly from the app, and parents can purchase additional Painting Lulu supplies via the online store through the app.

I like the way Painting Lulu lets kids think beyond the page and create their own images to color. It encourages kids to view the environment around them abstractly and consider things like composition, form, and perspective. With Painting Lulu, young artists can find their inner Picasso and make masterpieces by using the world around them.