If you know me in real life — and possibly even if you don’t — you probably know that I draw. And draw. And draw.
It’s something I’ve done all my life. I draw on shopping lists. I draw on church bulletins. I even draw in the margins of my Sudoku pages as I complete each puzzle.
So, when I saw an opportunity to share my drawings with others, I jumped on it.
I’m talking about coloring books.
This is kind of “how I spent my summer vacation.” Since somewhere around the middle of July, I’ve been assembling my latest drawings and creating new ones for coloring books.
When I started out, I thought, “Sure, this looks easy.”
* headdesk *
Boy oh boy, was I wrong. Coloring books…? Not so easy, after all. Not if you’re a perfectionist like me.
- I want every drawing to look “just so.”
- I want every book to be available in right-handed and left-handed versions.
- I want each book to be the perfect size for the illustrations. And so on.
I put together five coloring books (under another name, so not to embarrass my family) before I felt like I was finally getting the hang of this. (They weren’t awful books, but they weren’t up to my usual standards, either.)
Things I learned:
- If my one-year-old granddaughter likes a design well enough to grab a crayon and start coloring it… it’s a good design.
- Testing some of my designs with adults: some people like big lines. Others like fine lines. Some like big coloring areas. Some like super-intricate designs. And so on. It’s best to focus on books that will make many people happy, but expect criticism.
- I’m far more finicky about how my books look than the pre-press guy assembling them for publication. Sometimes, my requests drive him crazy. (In this case, that “pre-press guy” is my husband. He does this kind of work for a living.)
- And… when I use software to create mandalas, the results aren’t always what I expected. (More on that, in a minute.)
But finally (cue the drumroll), I have three books to talk about. Each is for a different kind of coloring enthusiast.
My current favorite is a coloring book that fits in my purse. At 5 1/4″ x 8″, it’s just a little larger than a standard paperback book.
It’s Pearls, Swirls, and Stars, a Coloring-on-the-Go coloring book, and it contains 50 kinda-sorta hippie coloring pages.
I had a lot of fun with this book, because I’ve been drawing these kinds of pictures since my early teens. They make me happy, and I’ve always liked coloring them myself. I hope you’ll feel the same way.
This coloring book offers a lot of variety… simple drawings (like on the cover), mandalas, and repeating patterns.
Some can be colored quickly. Others might take a few hours (depending on how many colors and how much detail you like).
Each design is printed on just one side of the page. (I still recommend putting a sheet of paper underneath the page you’re coloring, just in case the ink seeps through.)
Like all of my coloring books, it’s available in two different editions, one for right-handed people and one for left-handed people. (I hate to reach across a page to color, and I’ll bet other people do, too.)
The next is Bold and Easy Coloring Pages. It’s a collection of coloring designs with bigger-than-average coloring spaces and bolder-than-usual lines.
I created it when my daughter & I realized my granddaughter really liked easy-to-color pages. Then, as we talked about it, we thought of other situations where bold, easy coloring pages might be really helpful.
So, it became a book. Like my other books, this one is also available in right- and left-handed editions.
And finally, with some embarrassment, I’ll admit that I created Rather Sexy Mandalas.
It started as a collection of mandalas I rejected because people might see something rude in the images. After I had about a dozen of those coloring designs — and on a day when I was tired and my inner 10-year-old seemed to emerge — I added more (possibly) vulgar designs, to create a book.
I began with some of my swirly, hippie-style designs, and used software to create mandalas.
I blushed when I saw the results.
Most people probably won’t see anything “dirty” in the mandalas. In fact, they’re pretty designs, based on artwork in my Pearls, Swirls, and Stars book.
However, if you look at them “just so” and color them to highlight suggestive shapes in the mandalas… well, the cover image will tell you whether it seems kind of rude, or not.
So, that’s what I’ve been working on this summer.