Tonight I’m unveiling my latest creative endeavor: a Paris-themed coloring book. It takes about 50 hours to draw one of my books. I start with printing the lettering on heavy weight drawing paper, followed by sketching the main pictures in pencil. Then I go back over those in ink, erasing any stray pencil marks. Next, I use an ultra fine sharpie to draw in all of the designs that fill the page. When all the drawing is done, I scan them into the computer and create a quarter-inch border to frame them out.
Filling the page is actually one of the elements that sets my books apart from others; I fill the paper without repeating the main design over and over. (Yes, there is repetition in background elements like flowers, hearts, grids, etc., but even these are varied somewhat.) Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great coloring books on the market (I’m particularly fond of Creative Cats by Marjorie Sarnat), but many others leave me nonplussed. For example, I love some of the mandala books, but I dislike that half the page is empty white space. (I know, using the negative space is a design element. I just don’t like all of that emptiness when I’m coloring because it feels like wasted paper to me, so I usually end up drawing in a bunch of doodles around the center image to fill up the page.) I’ve also seen some coloring books that fill the page, but do so by repeating the same design over and over. While a theme is fine, I prefer some variation. I love seashells, but I don’t want to color 12 of them that are exactly alike lined up in rows on my paper. (I guess my creative side rebels against that level of organization.) Of course, this perfect repetition also makes me feel like the image is computer generated, or perhaps an artist drew the first one, scanned it in, and then tiled it to fill the paper. Either way, it’s just too perfect for me.
Another element that sets my books apart is the paper. The covers are made from 90 lb. recycled cardstock while the inside pages are printed on 70 lb Rainforest Alliance Certified
Vellum. I’ve tried several kinds of pens, markers, and watercolor techniques with good results. (Only the Sharpies really show through to the back of the paper, but even they don’t bleed on to the next page.) In addition, the binding is always on the short side or top of the page to allow more room for moving your hand around and getting to small areas of the design.
As you can see, a lot of thought goes into creating a coloring book around here. So without further ado, here are some pictures to give you an idea of how the new book turned out. If you’d like to see this book (or other themes: Cats, By the Sea, Bugs and Butterflies, Angels!) in person, we will be at the American Legion Cruise-In for Vets car show on Saturday, March 5 at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley. Books are also available on the “Color Your Own” tab of this blog or by contacting me via email (email@example.com) or on Facebook.