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Coloring Pages by Ernst Haeckel

Updated on February 20, 2017

How to Print Art Forms in Nature Coloring pages by Ernst Haeckel

Collected here are links to line drawings by Ernst Haeckel. These drawings can be used as biology coloring pages. The line drawings were included in his publication of Art Forms in Nature, 1898.

100 natural history plates were published, followed by an explanation section of numbered paragraphs to match the preceding numbered graphics.

Some, but not all, of the intricate and colored plates also had a simple line drawing.

I became aware of this, by chance, while doing research on the Internet. I was insistently struck with the idea that they could be used for coloring. Use the drawings as a coloring page and include fact sheets, the original colored plates and biological specimens to aid in adding color or more details.

Explore the world by coloring a page from Art Forms in Nature by Ernst Haeckel.

Intro graphic from Plate 56; Ernst Haeckel, various species of crustaceans. Wikimedia Commons

Teleostei - True Fishes

Line drawing from flickr by EricGjerde

This coloring page was a learning experience for this older person. True fishes include 38 species. Some familiar names are seahorse, catfish, and clown fish.

The Animal Diversity Web by University of Michigan of Museum Zoology is a good resource for seeing pictures of fishes in this infraclass.

The number 4 graphic is a spotted frogfish. Number 1 is a seamoth from Indonesia.

Wikimedia Commons has the Ernst Haeckel plate mapped out for you. Interestingly, the squares around the edges of the plate are single scales of various true fishes.

The Wikimedia Commons page provides the name of each numbered graphic and a link to pictures of what that species of true fish is. Near the bottom of the page At the "Source" section is a link to the colored plate, a link to the explanation page by Haeckel (in German) and a link to the line drawing, if there is one.

This one marine biology coloring page and Wikimedia would be good inspiration for homeschooling ideas for biology projects.

For a Clean White Copy of the Line Drawing

The Wikimedia Commons line drawings have a gray over all background. I do not find that very attractive for a coloring page. I did locate a PDF that has clear white copies.

You can easily copy the drawings there for good clean copies. The PDF is Ernst Haeckel:Kunstformen der Natur 1899-1904 HTML-Version herausgegeben von Kurt Stuber, 1999. This PDF is made available by Kurt Stuber.

The PDF is 280 MB and it will take a few minutes to download. Be sure to save it to a file when it is done.

Ernst Haeckel's work is royality free.

More Ernst Haeckel Coloring Pages

Use these links to get The Summary information (from Wikimedia) on each, or nearly each, numbered graphic, than use the Kurt Stuber PDF for a clear line drawing.

The Wikimedia Catalog for all 100 Plates begins at Kunstformen der


I have listed here the Plates that have easy to click Wiki information on the graphics. There are more line drawings, but the information for the individual graphics would have to be researched with other resources.

Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel
Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel
This is the Prestel Publication, 2004. This book I believe has brought the name Haeckel back to the general population.

Books of Ernst Haeckel

I have the books listed below. Unfortunately, none have the line drawings. I had bought them all looking for something that could be used for nature colouring pages. Nothing has been published by Ernst Haeckel for coloring purposes only. A printable coloring pages CD of Haeckel Plates would be so exciting. I do enjoy each of the books. They each offered new information.

The big Prestel book offers all the plates as first published in 1898, plus essays, time lines and short biography. The originals were lithographs like John Audubon's Elephant Book of Birds, in a smaller size.

Short comment on each book I have read.

Haeckel's Art Forms from Nature: 608 Permission-Free Designs in Color and Black and White (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
Haeckel's Art Forms from Nature: 608 Permission-Free Designs in Color and Black and White (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
This smaller book has each plate in a smaller size and a CD that has each numbered graphic available for viewing on the computer. If you wanted the individual items from each plate this has it, and they could be easily printed
Paperfacet's Haeckel Coloring Page
Paperfacet's Haeckel Coloring Page

Here Is My First Use of the Haeckel Coloring Pages

I used some old dried up markers and purposely just scribbled and tried some basic shading. I used the conch shell I had collected from a Mexico visit for color ideas.

The approaches can be endless; use pastel, pencils, markers and black ink. The additional beauty of these pages for nature coloring pages would be the different areas of discovery that a student can pursue. That would be up to the teacher's guidance. Take an artist approach, a marine, zoology or nature angle.

Have fun with Haeckel biology coloring pages to print, of fish, of orchids, mosses, anemones and more sea animals.

Is this an idea that you will try?

If you have any questions about how to pull and print: ask below.

© 2011 Sherry Venegas

Haeckel Coloring Pages

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    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      7 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Very cool and educational coloring pages - great to use in the classroom and homeschool for sure

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Haeckel was all about teaching through his art. The coloring pages are great!

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      9 years ago

      Lensrolling this to my marine biology and nature lens. Thanks for all your hard work.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      9 years ago from Iowa

      The seashell page is lovely. I also appreciate that you offered a place for folks to clean up the gray page. Very nice and thoughtful. :)

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      9 years ago

      I have always loved Haeckel's art and have bookmarked his stuff on Wikipedia. Thanks for gathering these in one place. Adding to my favorites and adding a special blessing.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      9 years ago from Vermont

      I love this idea - I like to use old engravings and scientific drawings for artistic inspiration and adult coloring. Blessed ...


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