When my friends first stumble across my online shop, they often ask if I illustrate those adult coloring books. I always reply: I illustrate coloring pages!
It may seem like it doesn’t make a difference, but if a coloring page had feelings, I know it would be relieved! The way I see it, coloring pages don’t like living in books. And I’m here today, to explain why:
Before I started my own business, I illustrated an intricate coloring book for Australian publisher, Kaisercraft. I was so excited, when my copy of the book arrived! The quality of the paper was outstanding. But it wasn’t long until I tried coloring in one of the pictures and got instantly annoyed.
Because of the glue binding, parts of the design were inaccessible for the colored pencils. In order to color in the whole design, I had to break the seam. This in turn resulted in pages falling out. Yet, even after breaking the seam, the book still kept closing itself WHILE I was coloring, a total disaster. I ended up tearing out the pages I wanted to color in. And don’t even get me started on hardcover books! Keep in mind, you’re going to spend several hours coloring each picture from the book. Shouldn’t it be as comfortable and relaxing as possible? Loose coloring pages would do a much better job.
Colored pencils are great, but Promarkers will always be my favorites. Alcohol based markers blend wonderfully, so I just can’t help, but use them for shading. Unfortunately, no matter how thick the paper is – they pretty much always bleed through the page. Most coloring books have double sided pages, which means one of them will likely get ruined, unless you only use colored pencils.
Soon after the adult coloring community started talking about their inconveniences, publishers and indie artists started working on improving the coloring experience. As a result, they started offering artist editions of the coloring books, with one-sided pages, printed on a thick card stock. While that’s an awesome offering, it’s not a solution for left-handed colorists – most of those coloring books feature the designs on the right page. That makes it even less comfortable for left-handed colorists.
I can’t stress this enough: Art wants to be displayed! Once you finish a loose coloring page, you can frame it and hang under 5 minutes or turn it into other paper crafts. You might make a greeting card, use it for decoupage or decorate your planner with it. Colorists who finish their pages in books, tend to leave them there forever. Unless you open the book often and show the art to all your friends, I prompt you to cut out the page! Art needs to breathe! Coloring is a very time-consuming hobby and it’s only fair to your creations, if you let them make everyone’s eyes happy 🙂
Did you ever start a coloring page in a book and put it away while tidying up, but than you never picked it up again? That’s the most common case of forgotten coloring pages. Books are too easy to put away on a bookshelf and forget. I try to always keep my ongoing projects around my desk. I always use loose coloring pages, so I pin the page on a clipboard or tape it near my desk. This way it doesn’t take up any space, but I have a visual prompt to finish coloring.
Books may seem to be the perfect storage for finished coloring pages, however they’re not as protective as one might think. Coloring pages are usually bigger than regular books, so they’re stored horizontally. Due to their weight, the lower books are actually “squeezed” under the pressure. For a short time period this should not be a problem, but after a long period of time, this could ruin your finished coloring. After a while, the colored pencil pigments start sticking to the opposite page and if both pages are colored – they can even start to mix! The best way to keep your colored pages is to display them in frames. If they’re not currently displayed, use clear folders and a binder to store them vertically and minimize paper friction.
I decided to retire coloring books from my online shop as of March 1st. The above pictured books have been sold out and there will be no restocks. However, if you prefer books over other coloring products, I linked two books below, that I illustrated for Kaisercraft Australia during my senior year at the University. You’re more than welcome to purchase these directly from the publisher’s Amazon store. These are printed on a high quality paper and have stunning gold embelishments on the front page 🙂