I’m hot off my book tour and a bona fide published author! This time last year, Edible Paradise: A Coloring Book of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables (Universe) was just a twinkle in my eyes. And now it has got a life of its own in the hands of whoever is lucky enough to color it in (please tag your progress #EdibleParadise16 and I’ll share my favorites).
One of the first questions I was asked during book promo was, “how did you make this happen?” I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 pointers for anyone interested in creating a beautiful and unique coloring book of their own.
- Pick a theme! Sure, there is a coloring book for everything these days (Hello, Trump!), but the really good ones transport their readers into another world. Developing the idea for Edible Paradise, I was disheartened that there were no enticing, freehand food coloring books on the market. Fruits and vegetables were an easy sell because nature, insects and critters supplied plenty of visual interest and narrative. A grapevine is one thing, but a cascading trellis of grapes buzzing with beetles and worms creates a story and movement. Find a theme that is interesting to you and one that can inspire exploration.
- Research! Collect plenty of research images. For me personally, having thorough research is a weapon against procrastination and creates a solid framework for any project. Next sketch, sketch, sketch!
- Engage! I once made the mistake of drawing a coloring page of a vegetable patch with the soil tediously drawn in dirt particle by dirt particle. Not only was it a pain to draw, think about how tough it would be to color in. That’s too much brown to be pretty. Think about what YOU like to draw. And create engaging compositions that you would respond to.
- Think about color. Yes, you will be creating only the black and white outline, but think about the evolution of color throughout the book. Sure, the book will get a second life in the hands of whoever colors it in. But is there the potential for a range of color? Are there interesting opportunities for shading and depth? Think about the use of positive and negative space.
- The ideal medium. Experiment with different paper types to see how they react to all sorts of mediums before deciding on the paper. Colored pencils are better for tiny details. Markers are better for large surfaces. Watercolors are wonderful, but require a certain paper quality. Paper is to drawing what fabric is to a fashion designer: it’s everything!
What else would you like to know about creating a coloring book? Leave a comment below.
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