Are Coloring Books Idolatry?

Q. I signed up for an adult coloring class at the library and they gave me a graven image to color, so I started thinking about it what kind of coloring book I would design for a child. What is the Orthodox belief in this regard?

A. Thanks for your question. If you were coloring a page and not a sculpture, then you weren't coloring a graven image (unless you mean to say that you were coloring a picture of an idol, though that would be surprising on a number of fronts).

When it comes to the prohibition of making images of people, there are a lot of different opinions. I haven't taken a survey so I hesitate to say that it's the predominant opinion among all of Orthodoxy, but I think you can safely rely on the opinion that the prohibition against making images only applies to three-dimensional representations; this would certainly appear to be the predominant practice in "modern Orthodox" communities. Some "ultra-Orthodox" communities might object to drawings of human faces. There are similarly different opinions when it comes to making representations of the sun or of angels. Some people have the practice to mar a child's doll in some small way because of this issue, but not everyone does so. In short, there are numerous opinions in this area, but you need not be concerned about a two-dimensional image of people. (If they actually gave you a picture of an idol to color, that may in fact be problematic.)

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