As a coloring book artist, I think it’s important to color your own drawings, so you understand the experience.
It’s why I create lots of different kinds of coloring books. Some people want big, bold areas to color. They want to complete them in one sitting.
Others want tiny, detailed areas, and pages that take a long time to complete.
And some want a mix of both in every coloring book.
My “Good Vibes” coloring book is a mix. This video shows one of my more detailed designs, and how I colored it. (It was a stressful, not-enough-sleep week, and coloring this was a way for me to get the tension out.)
I’ll post more videos like this, as I color my own pages. They may give you some ideas for how you’d color them… or, hey, maybe how you wouldn’t! LOL
Also, I was using three brands of coloring pencils: Pluqis, Prismacolor, and Staedtler.
I was impressed with Pluqis. For the low price, I expected very hard leads that wouldn’t blend well.
Instead, I love them. They’re not as brilliant as Prismacolor colors, but I often use Pluqis first. Then, I add dazzle with Prismacolor coloring (lightly) over the Pluqis areas, or using Prismacolor for highlights & shadows.
Tip: Prismacolor leads can be just slippery/oily enough that it’s difficult to color over them… unless you’re using another Prismacolor pencil, that is.
So, I usually sketch in my color ideas with Pluqis, first. If I don’t bear down too heavily on the paper, I can usually color over Pluqis with Prismacolor… but not always vice versa.
Prismacolor pencils are pretty much the top of the line for most coloring book enthusiasts. They’re soft, they blend well, and… yes, the price can be daunting. I bought their Manga set, which is priced fairly low at Amazon.com, and it includes some good, juicy brights and subtle darks.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a coloring book binge, this past year.
Christmas is no exception. So far, I’ve created two Christmas coloring books. They’re filled with ornaments you can color, cut out, embellish, and display. Each is designed to hang on your tree, your Christmas wreath, or as part of a holiday mobile or something.
(Of course, if you celebrate holidays other than Christmas, these ornaments still work. The designs are entirely abstract.)
These Christmas coloring books start taking my coloring-ish books in a slightly new direction. I’m including more craftsy ideas in them.
These books include four pages of how-to ideas to do more with the ornaments… like fasten them to paper garlands. Or scan them, print them on fabric, and make quilted ornaments with them. (Or even use them as centerpieces for each square in a quilt.)
A preview of 2017…? Maybe.
For 2017, I’m starting to focus on different, creative projects. Things that take me back to my artsy-craftsy roots.
See… a few decades ago (it sounds SO weird to say that), I used to create monthly, full-page crafts pages for Lady’s Circle magazine. Each of my pages would include a simple pattern for a creative project. And then… I’d go wild with lots of ideas to use that pattern in a variety of ways.
It all started when I created a simple teddy bear design, and turned him into a “no-sew” crafts project. It involved natural herbs that repelled moths, and teddy would become an ornament-sachet to hang in your closet.
He was a huge success. Lady’s Circle readers responded with enthusiasm.
And… I kept creating designs (and myriad ideas for using them), month after month, until the magazine changed editorial direction, a couple of years later.
I loved creating those projects, and I think I want to get back to that for 2017. I’m still thinking about it.
In fact, I’m re-reading Amanda Palmer’s book, “The Art of Asking,” and Cory Doctorow’s book “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free,” to reconsider my business models.
My hippie impulses are kicking in again, hard. And, I’m looking at ways to make lots more treats available, free… while still being able to earn a living.
So, my websites may start looking very different in 2017.
Meanwhile, back at ye olde Christmas drawing board…
I’m working on these Christmas ornament coloring books. The first two are in Amazon right now. (At least one more may follow, in the next week or so.)
Each book includes:
Over 180 unique, round ornaments in different sizes and styles. (I haven’t counted, but I know the number is over 180, and I’m pretty sure it’s over 200.)
All designs are printed on one side of the page. So, there’s no bleed-through of ink… unless you’re using really juicy markers, I suppose.
Every ornament is designed to color, cut out, and hang on your Christmas tree or wreath. (Or tape to your window. Or iron onto a tee shirt with the appropriate — or inappropriate — holiday greeting. Go ahead. Have fun with this.)
Also: Four pages of decorating and crafts ideas, to get the most from these ornaments. (That’s what I referred to, earlier in this article. It’s a “sneak preview” of what I’m considering for 2017.)
Bonus: Two Christmas wreaths to color and decorate. Cut ’em out. Tape them to your dorm or apartment door. Or to your cubicle. Instant Christmas spirit!
Plus: Additional pages of Christmas ornament coloring pages. Most started as experiments, as I designed my holiday books. (Some worked out better than others, but I figured all of them were good enough to share, anyway.)
And sample pages from a few of my other coloring books.
Both books are suited to family activities. I tested them with children as young as three years old, and with adults. Everyone enjoyed them.
So, you can color your ornaments now, and display them at your home or office.
OR, you can plan this as a family activity, during holiday get-togethers. (They’re also ideal for classrooms and Scout meetings, “girls’ night out” activities, etc.)
So far, Volumes 1 & 2
The coloring designs in Volume 1 (black background cover) are more ornate and detailed, but still in my usual “hippie style.” If you liked 1960s art by Peter Max, and the designs in the Beatles’ film, “Yellow Submarine,” this is the book you’ll want.
(Not sure? See the freebie sampler page, linked below.)
And, remember: My coloring books are priced super-low, and each books’ copyrights include my formal okay to copy for personal use. So, go ahead and share these ornament pages with your students. Or your friends.
Okay, I’m enthusiastic about coloring books. And, I’ll admit I’ve been carried away by the success of my “Bold and Easy Coloring Pages” series.
This series has wider lines that are easier to see if someone has a vision challenge. And, in most cases, the coloring areas are larger. That makes them easier to color by anyone with dexterity issues like arthritis or difficulty holding a coloring pencil, marker, or crazy.
(The cover at right shows the most complex coloring design in this book.)
They’re ideal for special education teachers, seniors with some disabilities, and anyone who wants a book that’s easier to see and has bigger areas to color.
But… last week, in my enthusiasm, I accidentally uploaded the wrong interior for “Bold and Easy Coloring Pages 4.” And, besides having designs I hadn’t planned to include in the final edition, one page actually had an error on it.
The word “embarrassed” doesn’t begin to describe how I felt when I made the discovery.
Fortunately, I found it so quickly, only one person had bought the book. (The book now selling at Amazon is the correct one.)
If you’re that one person who bought it, please contact me and tell me: What country you purchased it in, when you bought it, and how much you paid.
In return, I’ll send you an Amazon gift certificate so you can replace that book, and buy another one of my coloring books (or anything else you’d like to use the certificate for).
Okay, I’m so hooked on coloring books, I may need a support group soon. (I am kidding. I can’t imagine wanting to be pried away from my art… ever!)
My latest is Lovely Designs 1 (now out of print), and it’s a little different from my previous books. In addition to the 26 coloring pages (printed on one side of each page), I’ve included six “DIY” (do it yourself) pages.
When I draw my coloring pages, I don’t sketch anything ahead of time. Instead, I go right to work with a large pen or brush-style marker. I make broad, sweeping strokes to indicate the main areas of the design.
Next, I scan those drawings, so I can clean them up a little in Photoshop. That’s partly to erase any truly impossible lines I’d included. However, it’s even more useful to get a fresh look at the art… in a different scale (small), and in a different context (on my monitor).
It’s similar to how I used to explain my online diary, back when people thought that was weird. (Long before “blogging” became a trend.)
I used to explain how much easier it was to see what I was doing well — and not-so-well — in my life. On the computer monitor, it was like reading someone else’s story, not my own. (That may not be easy to understand, but — in those days — people weren’t so deeply enmeshed in social media and in each other’s lives. So, to read a “story” online was like reading a news story or diary by someone else altogether.)
Anyway, after I tweak my initial drawing, I print it so I can add embellishments and details, by hand.
Six of those un-embellished scans became part of Lovely Designs 1, along with three illustrated pages explaining how I embellish them… in case anyone else wants to try their hand at this kind of art, but needs a “head start” to gain more confidence.
Also, Lovely Designs 1 contains two mandalas and two repeating patterns based on the same drawings.
For my left-handed friends, I’ve also created a left-hand edition of Lovely Designs 1. (I’m trying to do this with most of my coloring books. In my opinion, nothing about art should be inconvenient, ever. That includes having to reach across a coloring book, just to color the picture.) That’s its cover, on the right. (See the double-L logo at the lower right side of the cover, indicating a left-hand edition.)
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.
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.)
My next coloring book was 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.
Like when you really want to color in the middle of the night, but don’t want to turn on a bright light.
Or for people who don’t like to wear their reading glasses while they color.