Amelia’s Magazine | Introducing Color On! Magazine: An Interview with Mary J. Winters-Meyer

Meditations-On-Serenity Mary J Winter-Meyers
I found entrepreneurial colouring book artist and magazine publisher Mary J. Winters-Meyer when I was searching Facebook to find groups that might like to know about Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion and came across her huge Coloring Books for Adults group. Following the links led me to Color On! Magazine, her new venture that caters to the international adult colouring community, featuring exclusive downloadable artwork from colouring artists. Mary is now a full time artist thanks to her new found love of colouring: proof, if ever there was needed, that colouring is a creative endeavour. This brilliant interview explains the lure of the colouring craze, and offers a fascinating insight into the rapid growth of this creative hobby.

Your first colouring book Dragons, Knots, Bots and More! features a lot of different styles, but you seem to be particularly inspired by Celtic knot patterns and Tibetan style Mandala designs. Where does this love stem from?
I’ve been interested in different cultures and mythology for as long as I can remember. I have an entire bookshelf of mythology books – Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, etc. The Celtic and Norse mythology especially appealed to my creative side – I just find the Celtic knotwork both mesmerizing and beautiful. It may also have something to do with my love of needlecrafts, as it has similarities to the crochet and knitting that I enjoy.

My love of mandalas started when I first saw Tibetan sand mandalas. There was a demonstration at a local art gallery, where the monks came for a week to create one while people watched, and then swept it away at the end of the week. I found the idea of something so beautiful and yet impermanent both awe-inspiring, and also sad. When I got involved with coloring books, and decided to try my hand at drawing, the idea of doing work that was similar to those mandalas, but with themes derived from my other interests, appealed to me as a design that could be as intricate as the Tibetan mandalas, but in a more permanent form.

Dragons Knots Bots book-front-cover
What else inspires your art?
Science fiction, mythology, fantasy, mathematics, religion, games, nature – actually just about anything in life can inspire a design for me. Generally, though, my designs show my geeky side and love of science fiction and fantasy. Books, especially – I love the idea of creating my own interpretation, putting down on paper how my imagination completes the image created by an author’s words.

Where did you study and how did it inform the way you approach art making now?
I actually don’t have any formal art training. In fact, if you had asked me five years ago to draw something, I would have been rather vehement in my insistence that I couldn’t draw! For me, my mother was the “artist.” She attended the Chicago Art Institute, and worked in oil paints. She can take a piece of scrap paper, and in a few seconds draw someone’s likeness. To me, that was what being an artist meant – someone with the talent to create photo-realistic drawings without any effort.

But then a friend got me interested in coloring books. I enjoyed relaxing with them, putting color on paper and creating something lovely. But after I had purchased my first few coloring books, I found myself leafing through them, and not finding any designs I wanted to color. One day, while leafing through a space-themed coloring book, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could create something I wanted to color. Something fun, and geometric (since I still didn’t think I could draw) that just required a ruler and some lines on the paper. Or maybe something geeky, that wouldn’t be difficult to draw because I would have lots of reference materials from the internet. From that idea, I went out and bought a sketchpad, and the next thing I knew, I was creating art!

I was rather surprised to find that drawing wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Sure, I ended up doing a lot of erasing and trying again, but I was creating objects that could be recognized for what I meant them to be! I still remember how excited I was when I first drew a cardinal that actually looked like a cardinal, and a bear that actually looked like a bear. I kept showing my friends and family and saying things like, “Look! It’s a bear! And it actually looks like a bear!” Even now, achieving success at creating some new object or creature has that same sense of thrill for me.

I still approach art the same way I approach anything. I get online and start researching. It might be researching the topic I want to draw, or researching a new drawing technique, or even looking at dozens of images in Google Image to get a sense of the angles and perspective I want to use for a given topic. If I’m creating a mandala with a specific theme, I’ll then decide what kinds of images I want to use for that theme. I prefer to use symbols for ideas rather than concrete images.

For example, in my piece Meditations on Serenity (at the top of the blog), the theme was the TV show Firefly, where the spaceship is named Serenity. This piece was created as a birthday gift for my husband, who is a huge fan of that series. Since the show involves a future where Chinese culture had a huge influence, I created a mandala that has a lot of oriental elements. Each section of the piece represents a different character from the movie. Rather than drawing the actual characters, I drew objects to symbolize them. One of the characters loved strawberries, and often used a parasol, so I used those in her section. Another character was introduced in the first episode killing time by playing with some plastic dinosaurs, so I drew those for his section. It’s a lot of fun for me to research a show or a movie and decide what symbols to use to represent the characters involved.

Mary J Winter-Meyers portrait
When and why did you first pick up a colouring pencil to create your artwork?
When my friend introduced me to coloring, colored pencils were what she was using, so it seemed like the natural medium to use. When I started drawing, I never thought to change to another medium, and even though I now have some art quality markers, I still return to my pencils (or combine markers with pencils) when doing my own art. It’s also great because you don’t have to have any special setup to use them. All I need is my sketchpad and a small space, and I can work anywhere.

I love pencils for their versatility, and especially for the ability to erase mistakes! While you usually can’t erase colored pencils 100%, you can erase them enough that they don’t affect whatever color you use on top of them. I love that about them. I also love that I can create vibrant color with them, which many people don’t think you can do with pencils. When people first see my art, they often ask what medium I used. It’s fun to see their reactions when they learn it is colored pencils. They find it hard to believe you can get such saturated colors with pencils!

What are your favourite type of pencils to use and why?
When I first started, I was using Crayolas. They were the pencils I had purchased to use in coloring books. After my first trip to an art store, though, I quickly graduated to Prismacolors. They had a larger range of colors, and I loved how much more easily they lay down a rich layer of color. It was less aggravating to my hand and wrist! I actually gave my box of Crayolas to my nieces. I sort of regret that now, though, because I do occasionally want a pencil with a harder lead. I tried the Prismacolor Verithins and didn’t really like them. They were almost too hard. So I’ll probably go out and buy myself another box of Crayolas at some point.

nanobot-warmups Mary J Winter-Meyers
How did you get involved in the adult colouring community, and why? 
That’s a rather interesting story actually. I sort of fell into it by accident! As I previously mentioned, a friend had gotten me interested in coloring, but for me, it wasn’t a community hobby, just something I and a couple friends enjoyed doing. But then I started creating my art. I was attending art shows and science fiction conventions and not having a lot of luck selling my work. I wasn’t too worried, though – it was still something of a hobby for me rather than a career.

Then I got laid off. While I was job hunting, I decided that since I had the time, I would work at getting more sales from my art. One of the ideas in the back of my mind over the previous couple years had been doing a “geeky” coloring book from the line drawings I had saved of my various art pieces. So I started working on creating a book, and started doing research into the interest people might have in the idea. (This was before the first news articles about adult coloring, so I had no idea what kind of interest there might be.)

My research indicated a growing trend in searches for “adult coloring books” on Google. An entrepreneur group I belong to encourages people to find a “niche” topic to blog about to raise interest in your own products. So I decided to start a blog about adult coloring. My research had also shown there weren’t a lot of review sites for coloring books, so I decided to focus on that. And of course, my entrepreneur group said posting links on social media was a good idea, so I started looking at Twitter and Facebook, which led to finding several groups on Facebook devoted to adult coloring. I joined a few, before I had finished my website. I wanted to get a feel for what kinds of things the people in the groups were looking for, and what needs I might be able to meet. After joining the groups, I was enjoying the interactions with other coloring enthusiasts, so I stuck around.

Color On Magazine logo
When did you set up your website and Facebook group?
My Facebook group came first. I actually hadn’t intended to start one! My original plan was to set up my website, and point people to existing groups if they wanted to find a community. I figured that way I didn’t have to figure out all the technical aspects of starting a forum on my site. I had even selected a group for that purpose. About three days after I made that decision, the group in question announced it would be closing itself to new members, as the group admins were finding it difficult to keep up with things as the group got larger.

In the meantime, in preparation for my website launch, I had been contacting various coloring book artists to request review copies of their books. One of those artists was very helpful answering my questions about publishing my own book. When I mentioned my dilemma, she suggested I start my own Facebook group, and even offered to point her own group members to it, as her group was limited to posting only colored designs from her books. So I made an impulsive decision and started Coloring Books for Adults. I figured it was still easier than installing and managing a website forum, as I wouldn’t have to worry about technical aspects. That was in late January of this year (2015.)

My website launched a few weeks later in February, using reviews of coloring books I already owned, as most artists and publishers didn’t want to send review copies to an unknown blogger. It took over a month before I was able to get my first review copies. But as with anything, once I had a few weeks of reviews posted, it became easier. I’ll just say that I sent out a LOT of emails and Facebook messages during those first couple months! I was lucky in that a few independent artists were willing to trust an unknown, especially when I promised to link to the reviews in my group.

Mandoade-darasuum Mary J Winter-Meyers
Your Facebook group is huge and very active – how did it grow so rapidly, and what do you think sets it apart from other colouring groups online?
I often refer to the rapid growth as a combination of luck and research. When I was researching search terms in Google for my own website, I discovered that the two terms used most often by people searching for coloring books were “adult coloring books” and “coloring books for adults.” For my website, I was lucky enough to get the URL and named the blog Coloring Books for Adults. It made sense to use that same name for the group, and I was lucky because that name had not yet been used for a group.

As for the rapid growth, that’s where luck played an important part. By April, when my book was released, I had about 300 members. At the time, I felt that was amazing and fantastic growth for my little group. Then the first news articles about adult coloring hit the media. Suddenly people were searching for online communities related to coloring. Overnight, my membership requests jumped from 1-2 requests a day to 10-20 requests! Then a month or so later, NBC Nightly News did a segment on the adult coloring phenomenon, and mentioned Facebook groups in the segment. While they didn’t mention my group specifically, several times in the segment they mentioned Coloring Books for Adults, so that term was primed in people’s minds. If I recall correctly, I was just about to hit 2000 members. That same night, within about 4 hours, I had over 500 membership requests, and after that my daily average increased to 100 new members a day. Thankfully, only the week before I had signed on some other admins to help with the group – I needed them!

Since the group was intended as a companion for my website, I set it up a bit differently from other groups. A lot of groups limit or ban advertising – understandable for many reasons – but since I intended to review books, and also wanted to advertise my own books, I decided not to do that. I also wanted to encourage artists to participate, as that would give me new sources for books to review. So my group was set up with a bit more leniency than most. I do have some limits – the ads have to be for products related to coloring, and once the group reached a certain size, I also limited people to only once a week so the group wasn’t flooded with ads.

We’ve also adopted a strict “no negativity” policy in the group. Coloring is a way for people to relax, to meditate, or to think of something other than the problems in their lives. Any kind of negativity, which is hard to avoid online, ruins that state of calm. So any negativity is deleted as quickly as possible. We will chat privately with people the first time they post something negative, to let them know that we discourage those types of posts. People who repeatedly post negatively are banned. It may seem harsh, but the group members appreciate that we work hard to have a community that is positive and encouraging. I also have trained my admins not to do any admonishments in public. I have many years of experience with online forums, and I’ve found that anytime you accuse someone, or warn them, or in any way “attack” them in a public forum, it just leads to escalating the negativity. But if you quietly delete the negative post, with a private message politely asking people to not do that, it most often results in an apology and a promise not to do it again.

Despite being singled out as a pastime to get away from the screen, many colorists are turning to online forums to share their art. Why do you think this has become such an important part of the process?
People love to share their hobbies, and things they’ve created, with like-minded people. I think at first, people went to online forums because they weren’t getting positive feedback from their family and friends. I’ve seen many posts from people who said their family thought they were silly, or childish, or stupid because they enjoyed coloring. I’ve also seen a huge number of initial posts from people saying they thought they were the only ones who enjoyed coloring. But online, they find communities of hundreds or thousands of other colorists who also enjoy it.

There also is a fairly large segment of people who find coloring helps them deal with various chronic conditions. It is easy for such people to feel very isolated, especially if their condition leaves them unable to get out of the house. Online communities give them a way to socialize even when they are stuck at home. And finding other people in similar situations makes them feel less isolated. In a way, I’m one of these people. I have a chronic pain condition, and coloring helps me deal with the bad days.

I think what keeps people coming back, though, is not only that encouragement, but the fact that they can interact with the artists who create the books they enjoy. People love to learn about the people behind the art they buy, and that is as true of coloring books as it is of any other artwork. The fact that so many independent artists involve themselves in the online communities is a powerful attraction.

Family-monogram Mary J Winter-Meyers
Can you tell us more about your colouring parties, they sound fun!
I tend to have colouring events, rather than parties. To me, a colouring party is like any other gathering people have in their homes, like a tea party or book club. People invite their friends over for an afternoon or evening coloring together. The hostess will let people pick designs from her collection, or everyone brings their own books and supplies for coloring.

What I do is similar, but in a more public venue, like a library or convention. While it is still a group of people gathering to colour, it’s open to everyone. In addition to having a bunch of pages printed out from my own book and magazine issues, and some basic coloring supplies, I’ll do a short presentation about coloring as adults, highlighting the therapeutic aspects or letting people know what resources are available. I’ll also give short tutorials on colored pencil techniques. And of course, offer to sell them my books or magazines! ;)

For example, this year, Dover Publications created National Coloring Book Day, to be held August 2nd each year. They encouraged people to hold coloring parties, and to color in public. My first colouring event was held at the Northbrook Public Library as part of National Coloring Book Day. Over 50 people showed up! The library received a lot of positive feedback on the event, and they have invited me back. We’re still working out dates, but I will likely have another afternoon of coloring in Northbrook, IL in February 2016. I’ll also likely have another event during next year’s National Coloring Book Day, but I haven’t decided where or when yet.

Why did you decide to start you own magazine? I understand it recently launched, which is very exciting. What can readers expect to find inside?
The magazine is sort of an extension of my blog. As the blog grew, and especially as my Facebook group became so large, I found that more and more of my time was being taken up by them. I was still job hunting, but finding it harder to drum up enthusiasm for the search. I found the blog and the group much more interesting, so I started trying to determine if there was a way to make a job out of my newfound “hobby.”

One thing I had noticed was that many of the same questions kept getting asked in the group: questions about coloring techniques, or about where to find adult coloring books, or even people asking if there was a magazine about coloring. I had also seen that several publishers were putting out “magazines,” but when I looked into them, they were really just coloring book collections that were released on a periodic schedule. Nothing I saw was being published with articles that answered the questions I was seeing in my group.

I was also seeing a LOT of independent artists in my groups, but when news articles were published about adult coloring, they kept mentioning the same “popular” artists or publishers. As an independent artist myself, I felt it would be great if I could help lesser known artists find an audience. I also love researching new things, and sharing that knowledge with others. It’s just part of my personality – learning for me is almost as necessary as breathing.

The magazine gives me a way to combine all these ideas and interests into a single product. When I mentioned the idea to a few friends, they thought it was an awesome idea, and Color On! Magazine was born. I decided to start it out as a digital publication, since publishing a print magazine has a lot of expensive start-up costs. I also knew from my group that there were a substantial number of international colorists, and I didn’t want to exclude them. Digital allows anyone with a computer and printer to access the designs published in the magazine.

Each issue of the magazine has a collection of at least 15 coloring designs from multiple artists. We always have one feature artist, who provides 5 or more exclusive designs for the magazine, and we interview the artist for one of the articles. The rest of the artists provide designs which may be exclusive, or might be from the artist’s existing publications. We never publish designs, however, that are available online as free samples. We’ve actually been very fortunate in our first few issues – most of the artists have been happy to create new designs for our readers.

In addition to the designs, we have a Coloring 101 column with basic tutorials for beginners, a Coloring 201 column with more advanced techniques, feature articles on various coloring topics, personal stories about coloring, lists of the previous month’s book reviews, lists of upcoming releases, and a humor column that might have a fun coloring activity or a humorous story.

JustAnotherRollOfTheDice Mary J Winter-Meyers
Lastly, where can fans get hold of your magazine, and what are your plans for 2016?
The magazine website is, and the magazine’s Facebook page is ColorOnMag. You can also find us on Twitter @ColorOnMag. People new to the site can read one article for free each month without a subscription, although some articles (like the book reviews and new releases) are always available for anyone to read.

My biggest plan for the next two years is to grow the magazine to the point where I can consider this my full time career. While it is off to a promising start, the magazine has not yet reached the point of generating enough income to replace my former job. When I conceived the idea for the magazine, and considering the amount of time I was spending on coloring-related activities, my husband and I discussed if we could afford for me to stop searching for a job. It was a difficult decision for my husband and me, but he’s been very supportive of the idea. I’d like to see that support rewarded! Most small business fail within their first two years, so I figured that was a good timeframe to set to achieve my goal.

For the magazine, I’m planning on releasing “design only anthologies” – collections of the coloring designs from multiple issues, released as a printed book through Amazon. I’ve had a few inquiries from people who want a printed version, and this lets me explore that option without committing to printing a magazine every month. The first anthology is actually going to be released in early December this year, with the designs from the first 3 issues. I also want to add more video. From the start, I wanted to have videos to demonstrate the techniques from the articles in each issue, but right now I have barely enough time each month to get the issue out. But that is one of my goals for the magazine. After all, it’s a digital publication – I’d like to make use of that technology! There’s nothing quite like watching a technique demonstrated to help people learn.

I intend to continue selling my art, books and magazine at science fiction and fantasy conventions in nearby cities. I already have two conventions planned for next year where I’ll be doing a panel, or otherwise demonstrating coloring techniques.

The first, in January, is an adult ‘Relaxacon‘. This is an offshoot of the sci-fi cons. Members of that community started having “relaxacons” where they gather at a hotel for a weekend without the stress of planning or attending a lot of panels. So rather than a weekend packed with dozens of panels and lots of featured guests, relaxacons are mostly just eating good food, drinking, playing music together, or otherwise relaxing with maybe 3 or 4 panels during the weekend. The one in January, DeConPression, is held in Columbus on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. It is very definitely an Adult only con, so it’s not for everyone, but is a fun weekend for those with a raunchy sense of humor. Instead of guests of honor, the con has ‘Ghosts of Honor.’ This year, they are the convention’s founder Nick Winks, who passed away last year, and comedian Robin Williams. They’ve invited me to do an ‘Adult Coloring Panel‘ with a humorous theme. There will also likely be a coloring space set up in one of the common areas for those who just want to hang out and color. You can learn more about DeConPression here.

In August, I’ll be attending Musecon in Itasca, IL (near Chicago.) Musecon is also an offshoot from sci-fi cons. At most sci-fi cons, in addition to panels talking about your favorite books or movies, there is always a number of panels about music, writing, and other creative panels of various types. Musecon was started to feature just these creative panels. It’s a convention for makers, crafters, authors, musicians and artists, and people who want to try their hand at creating without having to commit to a large outlay in materials. Color On! Magazine will be sponsoring a coloring space, where we hope to have several coloring book artists sharing techniques, as well as small coloring projects that people can finish in an hour or so. You can learn more about the con at Musecon, although they haven’t put up next year’s information yet.

There may be other events or conventions, but those are the only ones I’ve firmed up so far. You can always learn about what’s going on with me by signing up for the magazine’s newsletter. You’ll find a form in the sidebar at Color On! Mag.

You can buy Dragons, Knots, Bots and More! on Amazon and grab a copy of Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion on Kickstarter now.

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult coloring panel, ,Amazon, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Chicago Art Institute, ,Color On Mag, ,Color On! Magazine, ,Coloring, ,Coloring 101, ,Coloring 201, ,Coloring Books for Adults, ,Colorist, ,Colouring, ,Crayolas, ,DeConPression, ,Dover Publications, ,Dragons Knots Bots and More!, ,Facebook, ,Ghosts of Honor, ,interview, ,Itasca, ,Mandalas, ,Mary J Winters-Meyer, ,Meditations on Serenity, ,Musecon, ,National Coloring Book Day, ,Nick Winks, ,Northbrook Public Library, ,Prismacolors, ,Relaxacon, ,Robin Williams, ,Tibetan sand mandalas

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Amelia’s Magazine | Johanna Basford presents Johanna’s Christmas: Giveaway and Interview Exclusive!

The latest adult colouring book by the phenomenonal Johanna Basford is released this week, a crafty Christmas colouring book designed to be used in multiple ways. As Johanna herself is fond of saying “I make colouring books so you can make masterpieces!” Colouring has moved out of books and spread through the crafting community, and Johanna perfectly captures this moment with a book of one sided images on perforated pages that can easily be removed to share as Christmas cards, decorations, gift tags… or whatever you dream of doing. “Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book (Colouring Books)” is chock full of traditional Christmas imagery such as deer, festive birds, trees, presents, gingerbread, sleighs, bells, baubles, stockings, curlicues and a series of hidden robins. Expect a mix of evocative narrative scenes, her signature mirror images and more of her ribbon designs, where decorative elements stretch across the page. Johanna’s Christmas is a book sure to engage fans old and new, and best of all, I have THREE copies to give away so hop on over to my Facebook Page HERE and leave a comment telling me what you love most about Christmas time to be in with a chance to win… better still, the giveaway is OPEN WORLDWIDE, so if you live outside the UK this is your chance to get the book with a gold foiled cover! Now read on for my exclusive interview, in which we also discuss her last release Magical Jungle.

The winners of Johanna’s polar bear Christmas colouring competition: Sydney, Sarah P, Kocialka, Jenny and Chiblla. Read why Johanna chose these versions of her polar bear here.

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: Amelia

How did you choose your top colourists to receive advance copies of your new book?
They were all Colourists who’s work had caught my eye on social media or on my colouring gallery (or I watch their YouTube channels!). I liked the fact that instead of trying to woo traditional journalists or book reviewers, we were getting the books straight into the hands of colourists so they could start making some masterpieces!

What are your favourite coloured pages, and why?
Literally far too many to choose from! It’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favourite! I think the great thing about colouring is that you never see the same image twice and that every colourist brings something completely new to the black and white drawings. Having said that, I’m always partial to a stunning background technique. Those people that do the ‘starry night sky’ effect will never fail to amaze me!

American cover.

UK cover.

You create an incredible amount of pages for each new book – do you ever find yourself getting bored of drawing a particular object, and if so, how do you make it exciting?
I genuinely never get bored of drawing! Admin? Yes. Digital updates? Yes. Drawing? Never! I think nature is an amazing, unlimited melting pot of inspiration and although every jungle is leafy, no 2 leaves are the same! I spent hours pouring over foliage reference books and sweating it out in the Botanical Garden hot houses admiring every type of leaf and vine you can imagine – there was not shortage of inspiration!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Vicki Walsh

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Susie Pala-Loir

How did you source the specialist paper used in Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas?
I worked with the Penguin US team to find a paper that was the perfect weight, texture, tooth and colour for my books. After rejecting many, many samples, we worked with a paper manufacturer to make my very own paper that matched my ideal specifications perfectly. Think of it as paper couture! It was a huge honour to have this opportunity to get THAT geeky about paper. We then used the spec of this paper as the benchmark for all my foreign publishers, which in this instance includes the UK, to match their paper to. There will always be slight difference and nuances between paper stocks, (it is after all a product of nature and no 2 trees are the same!) but we aim to create consistant, beautiful books across the world that offer colourists the finest papers on which to make their masterpieces and develop their creative practice.

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Morena Vajak

How much have you listened to colourists in the making of Magical Jungle? Everyone seems to be very happy about the fact that the images don’t go into the spine, for example. 
A LOT. This is a partnership, a collaboration. If one half of the require need certain things in order to make the best final outcome, then it’s up to me to supply them with what they need. I’m very active on social media and value my place in our colouring community, it would be entirely odd to be in this space, communicating with colourists and not take notice of what they say! It’s a privilege to have this job and as I always say, I make books so Colourists can make masterpieces!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Maureen Langham

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Lucy Fyles

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Kerri Taylor

Roughly how many hours went into Magical Jungle?
Heaps! A book takes me about 5 months to draw, then another few months in production with the publisher. I also have a few months at the start to mull over ideas and research. The reality is I never stop thinking about a book when I’m in the midst of creating it, I even dream about my books!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Hazel Smithies

What has the reception been like at your book signings? You have any particular events jumped out at you? (do you recognise the names of any of the colourists that you meet for example?)
Book signings are always lovely as it’s a chance to meet the people behind the profile pics! I spend so long interacting with the colouring community online that it a real treat to finally say hello and give them a hug in person! And yes, there’s been a few that I’ve known online for some time now that travelled huge distances to come along to the events, it’s very humbling and also very special to finally get a selfie with them!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Amanda Pinchbeck

As you create more colouring books have you found yourself getting more into the act of colouring itself? There seems to be quite a demand for your tutorials!
Yes. Initially I was hesitant to share my colouring as I felt my role was to create the artwork, not colour it. I’ve always enjoyed working in coloured pencil though and did a lot of this type of work when I was at school because colouring pencils were so accessible (a 17 year old has a rather limited materials budget!). I colour a lot, it’s important to test run the artwork and check the shapes and scale are suitable for colouring, the line weight is just right and also that the paper is good. And of course, it allows me to test a lot of pens and pencils so when people ask questions about what art supplies work well, I can give an honest and informed answer. I guess it’s like being a chef; you have to taste your food to know if it’s good or not!

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: @sseungei

What can we expect from your upcoming Christmas book?
I’ve tried to capture the sense of excitement, charm and whimsy of the festive season within the pages of this book. There’s an owl in a Christmas jumper, a robin delivering gifts, lots of tangles of holly and ivy and some beautiful big poinsettia blooms! In total there are 37 illustrations, all printed single sided and with a detachable spine so Colourists can remove their creations when complete and share them as Christmas gifts or use them in craft projects. It also means some art materials likes solvent based markers and heavy glitter pens can be used without fear of bleeding through to the design on the reverse. Finally, there’s no list of things to find in this book, instead there is a flock of festive robins hidden throughout the pages for you to find.

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: @ugenechin39

Can you tell us about the musical notes on the front cover?
I’m not the musical one in my family (my sister is!) so when I drew a few bars of music flowing along the front of the cover and posted a WIP sketch on facebook, the colouring community were quick to point out the my scribbly notes were back to front and upside now – musical gibberish! Thank goodness for feedback – that could have been embarrassing if that went to print! I amended the cover and now those musical notes play out the first 4 bars of Jingle Bells. I love that the colouring community helped shape the cover and that now there’s a secret little hidden festive reference in those notes at the bottom. Jingle all the way!

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: @kourtneyferroart

What is your starting point when you hide something on a page, and why did you choose a robin?
Usually I hide as many things in a book as possible. I love tiny details and things you have to search for. When I was little we would often visit Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran where there was chair carved by Robert Thompson (aka Mouseman). He carved a little mouse onto every piece of furniture he made, it was like a little hidden signature. I loved that charming way of stamping his work. I try to do something similar by hiding little intricate details in all my drawings. This can be anything from a butterfly to a lizard but for Johanna’s Christmas I wanted a single festive motif that people could find. The robin seemed perfect. Also, who doesn’t love spotting a robin on a snowy morning? They are like nature’s treasure hunt! I draw the entire picture first, then add the hidden elements at the end, so I can find the perfect hiding place for them!

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: Claire Eadie

How will you be celebrating Christmas this year? What family traditions do you have?
Food. Lots and lots of food! I tackled Christmas dinner myself once many years ago and swore I’d never do it again! There was a terrifying incident involving turkey giblets… My skills lie firmly in helping with the washing up! I like all the traditional elements of Christmas day, the crackers on the table, the awful jokes inside, cheap paper crowns, mountains of crumpled wrapping paper and perhaps best of all, the left overs! Cold kilted sausages (I believe these are called Pigs in Blankets to the rest of the world outside of Scotland!) are my favourite Christmas evening snack!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: @daphnesgallery

Finally, what are you working on next?
I’ve just completed a project with Canon to create 4 new colouring images that can be downloaded throughout the year and a wonderful collaboration with Method, the cleaning products company. I have some limited edition products launching with them next year that I cannot wait to share with the world! We’re also putting the final touches to some colouring books marks, a candle and home fragrance collection (with scents I helped develop inspired by books!) and just this morning I spoke with my jigsaw puzzle partners about the Magical Jungle puzzles we’ll be launching soon.

Magical Jungle tutorial by Chris Cheng.

And of course, there is a new book in the pipepline – but I’m keeping that a bit secret for now!

Johanna’s Christmas is published by Virgin Books/Penguin Books. Win your very own copy of this book by telling me your favourite thing about Christmas in the comments on my Facebook Page HERE. THREE winners will be picked on Saturday 12th November. OPEN WORLDWIDE.

Or order your books from Amazon – these are affiliate links so if you order through them you will help support this website. Thank you!
Amazon UK:
Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book (Colouring Books)
Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition & Colouring Book (Colouring Books)

Amazon US:
Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Coloring Book for Adults
Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition and Coloring Book for Adults

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring, ,Brodick Castle, ,Canon, ,Chris Cheng, ,Christmas Coloring, ,Christmas Colouring, ,Colourist, ,Exclusive, ,Hazel Smithies, ,interview, ,Isle of Arran, ,Johanna Basford, ,Johanna’s Christmas, ,Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book, ,Lucy Fyles, ,Magical Jungle, ,Maureen Langham, ,Method, ,Morena Vajak, ,Penguin Books, ,Susie Pala-Loir, ,Virgin Books

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Amelia’s Magazine | Magisk Gryning by Hanna Karlzon: Exclusive Interview and Worldwide Giveaway

Magisk Gryning Giveaway copy
Magisk Gryning Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir
Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir

It’s no great secret that I’m a massive fan of Hanna Karlzon‘s wonderful drawings, so I’m thrilled to share my latest catch up, wherein she talks about her new book Magisk Gryning, a magical exploration of all things otherworldly. Best of all, I have managed to secure a chance for you to win your very own copy, and the giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, so if you are still eagerly awaiting it’s release in your country this is your chance to get Magical Dawn, as it is to be called for the English speaking market… just read to the bottom to find out how… and enjoy the wonderful coloured pages from the book on your way (colourists credited below each one.)

Magisk Gryning Claire Eadie
Claire Eadie

Magisk Gryning Zuzana Hánová
Suzana Hánová

Magisk Gryning Tímea Kalakai
Tímea Kalakai

How do you start the creative process each day – for example do you lay out all your implements, or do you start with research for that particular project?
Well making colouring books is a long process, at least for me. It takes me about 5 months to complete a colouring book so I just take it day by day not to get overwhelmed with the amount of work. I try to make one page a day but since I also make all the layout design for my books myself; some weeks I work a lot by my computer and some weeks I only use pen and paper and draw. It’s a mix. And I have my office that I go to every day so I just pick up where I left the day before. I mostly start my days answering emails and messages and taking a look at my Facebook and Instagram and after that I listen to music or podcasts and draw, draw, draw. When I work with the coloring books many days contain the same kind of work, since it’s about 100 drawings that I need to make, but luckily it never gets boring, at least not yet anyways. ;)

Magisk Gryning Stina Gustavsson
Stina Gustavsson

Magisk Gryning Siv Stenseth
Siv Stenseth

Magisk Gryning Sirpa Seppälä
Sirpa Seppälä

Magisk Gryning Liz Moore 2
Liz Moore

What are your favourite motifs to draw at the moment and why?
Well I love to draw people and jewels, crowns and all things that sparkle. I don’t really know why, maybe because its something that you can alter and change every time, there are no rules or regulations, I just draw whatever comes to mind. But it’s also fun to draw birds, and mushrooms, and flowers and I like to mix it up, one day I draw a really detailed illustration with lots and lots of stuff everywhere and the next day I draw something more simple and clean. I need to mix it up like that to make it fun for myself in the work process, but I also think it’s good because that gives my books a diversity of illustrations, a range, from quite hard and detaild pages to easier more simple pages and I know a lot of people like that. Somedays you just want to color something small and simple, like a beetle maybe, and other days you just want to go all in on a big detailed spread, and it’s the same for me, somedays I go simple and somedays I go all in. 

Magisk Gryning Péťa Luky Ratajovi
Péťa Lukt Ratajovi

Magisk Gryning Megan Silcox
Megan Silcox

Magisk Gryning Maria Ronessen Pain
Maria Ronessen Pain

Magisk Gryning Maria Ludvigsen
Maria Ludvigsen

Do you have any current plans beyond colouring books? (for instance further products featuring the images from your books?) I know you’ve been very tied up but your work has become so very popular that I imagine you must have plans for the future! 
Well before I started making colouring books I made a lot ot pattern design, for fabric, wallpaper etc and I would love to go back and work more with that in the future. I miss making patterns! 
And not many may know this but when I started my own business my main focus then was to sew and screen print clothes with my own designs. I made tank tops, leggings, scarfs, totebags and other stuff and sold them in my own webshop. After a while though I started to focus on just designing the prints and that lead me to making illustrations and patterns instead (to cut a long story short) but I miss screen printing and I would really like to start doing that again too. And yes, talking about my webshop, I plan to get it up and running again sometime this year, kind of a re-launch since it has been dozing for a year or two whilst I have been super busy with my books. So, there are many things I want to do but as usual I don’t know what I will end up doing, I just go with the flow. ;)

Magisk Gryning Margo Daniels
Margo Daniels

Magisk Gryning Liz Moore
Liz Moore

Magisk Gryning Lucy Fyles
Lucy Fyles

Magisk Gryning Maja Bergsten
Maja Bergsten

Did you learn anything specific from your research for Magisk Gryning and if so what?
I don’t know if I could say that I do a lot of research when I make a book. I just draw what pops up in my head but I always try to have a local, northern Sweden, feeling in my illustrations, I try to use the animals, flowers and elements of nature that can be found here, where I live. But yes I space out sometimes, we don’t have mushrooms with stars on them or squirrels that run around with little jackets on but you know what I mean, the core of my inspiration will always be my home and the nature around me. 

Magisk Gryning Linda Russo
Linda Russo

Magisk Gryning Kicki Rolandsson
Kicki Rolandsson

Magisk Gryning Jenny Ågren
Jenny Ågren

Magisk Gryning Jennifer Lyons
Jennifer Lyons

Have you learnt anything from the fans in your Facebook groups and on instagram and if so what?
Well yes, I have learned that creativity is something we all need, regardless of where in the world we live, it is a common ground that makes us meet and come together regarding of age, nationality, gender etc. We all need to express ourselves and colouring books are a great way of doing that. Seeing the coloring community growing every day and all the new friendships that are being made online is truly super amazing! 

Magisk Gryning Hazel Smithies
Hazel Smithies

Magisk Gryning Ingrid Rockx
Ingrid Rockx

Magisk Gryning Julianna Blumenthal Kahn
Julianna Blumenthal Kahn

Magisk Gryning Elzelina Kriek-Breet
Elzelina Kriek-Breet

Can you tell us more about your new hobbies, including root binding – how does it work? It’s not something I’m very familiar with! What makes it so engaging?
Root binding is something I have been doing for about a year and a half. It’s a really old handicraft that you can use to make items like boxes, bowls and jewellery from thin birch roots. It is really, really time consuming, it takes hours and hours to make a small bowl but it’s so much fun. You gather the roots in the forest in spring/summer and then you can store them all dried up and when you want to use a root you put it in water and after a while it gets all soft and you can use it for your craft. And it’s something special working with your hands, creating something that you can see and touch, and since I have never fallen for knitting or crochet, like so many others have, I have really found something in root binding. And I love the fact that you use something as natural as roots for your work and that’s it, nothing else, just roots. It’s just old school, back to basics and that just strikes a chord in my history nerd heart.

Magisk Gryning Grisell Martinez
Grisell Martinez

Magisk Gryning Doerte Ef
Doerte Ef

Magisk Gryning Christy Whetten
Christy Whetten

Magisk Gryning Anita Malkhandi
Anita Malkhandi

As always it’s a pleasure to catch up with you and I can’t wait to see your new book TideVarv, good luck with finishing it off!
Thank you all for supporting me and my work!! /Hanna 

Magisk Gryning Beth Oram
Beth Oram

Magisk Gryning Ann-Sofie Younis
Ann-Sofie Younis

Magisk Gryning Angela E. Colagross
Angela E. Colagross

Magisk Gryning Aline Ferreira
Aline Ferreira

Magisk Gryning Agnes Perger
Agnes Perger

Magisk Gryning Robyn Lipner
Robyn Lipner

Magisk Gryning Marianne Lindahl
Marianne Lindahl

Magisk Gryning Е. Я.
Е. Я.

Magisk Gryning is currently only available for international buyers from Penstore, but shipping costs have gone up recently, so be warned! Many thanks to the awesome colourists of the Facebook group Daydreams Colouring (fans of Hanna Karlzon, Dagdrömmar and Sommarnatt) Why not join the group yourself?

To be in with a chance to win a copy of Magisk Gryning visit my Facebook Page for Amelia’s Magazine here and be sure to leave a comment before midnight on Sunday 26th February 2016 (GMT). Open Worldwide. Good luck!

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Coloring for Adults, ,Dagdrömmar and Sommarnatt), ,Daydreams Colouring (fans of Hanna Karlzon, ,Giveaway, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,interview, ,Magical dawn, ,Magisk gryning, ,Penstore

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Amelia’s Magazine | Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book: Colouring Book Review and Editor Interview

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
The Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book was brought to my attention by one of the contributors to my own colouring book, Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion). Sophie Corrigan was also picked to appear in this latest offering from cult website Doodlers Anonymous, run by founder and editor Rony Tako (or OKAT) and coding supremo Hugo Seijas. The book is described as “An Extraordinary Mashup of Doodles and Drawings Begging to be Filled in with Color” and features the work of 90 artists from across the globe. Because it showcases a huge variety of illustrative styles there is something to suit everyone, and the book is highly recommended for anyone who likes the kind of colouring book that I have put together. I spoke with OKAT about colouring, doodling and juggling…

OKAT doodlers anon
Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
You’ve just released an epic colouring book that features 90 artists that was put together by open brief, what prompted you to do the book, why did you decide on the open brief and how long has it taken to put together?
I’d say just about everything we create at Doodlers Anonymous is by open call through our community. I created Doodlers Anonymous in 2008 because I wanted to bring exposure to people like myself, who love to doodle, draw and scribble. There’s no better way to do that then by letting anyone and everyone (from fresh novices to veteran illustrators) participate and potentially sit side by side on the page.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
How did you pick the artists featured in your book? I believe you have Sophie Corrigan who has also done something fab for mine! Good choice :)
Sophie’s page is great, she’s an awesome talent. Filtering the submissions down to the ones featured in the book was not easy, but it was definitely fun and rewarding to be reminded of how much great talent is out there. The team and I basically printed every submission and for the most part narrowed them down by keeping a few things in mind:
1) Is the drawing style of this artwork different and interesting?
2) Will this be fun to color in?
The other thing we had to keep in mind when filtering the submissions down from such a large open call was making sure to avoid repetition of a specific theme or style. We put a lot of effort into ensuring there’s a balance in the book, which means we sometimes had to reject a drawn submission we personally loved.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
Do you colour yourself? If so then can you tell us what kind of images you tend to prefer and what materials you work in?
I definitely love to color, especially other people’s artwork. Mostly because my personal art style is almost always made with just a black-ink pen, so I envy those artworks that are so bold and pop with color. I like using colored pencils or bright and cheap medium-tipped markers.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
How do you think the worlds of colouring and doodling intersect, and do you think there’s any snobbery involved between one or the other?
I think there’s a definite correlation between the two. For me (and I expect for many others), doodling is an exercise in doing something that’s not intended to be structured or have any specific agenda, just put your pen to the sketchbook and let your brain and creativity wander around the page. In that sense, the same goes for coloring, the beautiful artwork is laid-out before you so now you can relax, de-stress and just enjoy the process of bringing the artwork to life.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
Your website has been going for a long time now, why did you set it up in the first place and has it turned out the way you expected?
It’s crazy. I think in internet years we are considered almost pre-historic. I didn’t have many expectations at all. When our website launched it seemed doodling was such a niche activity that I figured the community would be small and stay relatively small. In fact, in the beginning we’d often get emails from people asking us what it meant to doodle. Fast-forward to 2015 and you can’t walk into a bookstore without being bombarded by doodle books. It’s great and wonderful that it’s become so popular. We love how large the community has grown and they continue to inspire us each and every day with their talents.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
What else do you do when you’re not making colouring books or managing the website and how do you split your workload so that everything gets done?
We juggle. Juggle, juggle, juggle. In my day-to-day I actually work as a creative director and designer for my clients. So you’ll typically find me either presenting or concepting a brand, logo or website project. The balance of my time goes to Doodlers Anonymous. I’ve been multitasking like this for years and I still have no clue how to split my workload so it’s anymore efficient or well-scheduled, but I tend to think that’s just how I work. Things would get boring otherwise.

Doodlers anonymous epic colouring book
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any other colouring books planned?
It’s really exciting, we have a ton of things planned for 2016. Some of them in collaboration with other brands and partners, and other things will be exclusive stuff from the Doodlers Anonymous community. Stay tuned! In regards to coloring books, well, I think they will always be part of our DNA, we’ve been making them long before they became a trend and we hope to be making long after as well.
Thanks Amelia! xoxo

Doodlers anonymous epic colouring book
My pleasure! Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book is published by Monacelli Press. It’s a wonderful book if you fancy colouring in the work of loads of different artists, buy your copy here.

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Colouring, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Coloring for Adults, ,Colouring Book, ,Doodlers Anonymous, ,Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book, ,Doodles, ,Doodling, ,Epic Colouring Book, ,Hugo Seijas, ,interview, ,Monacelli Press, ,OKAT, ,Rony Tako, ,Sophie Corrigan

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Amelia’s Magazine | Blomstermandala by Maria Trolle: Colouring Book Review, Interview and Giveaway

Blomstermandala Maria Trolle giveaway review
Maria Trolle is the creator of the wonderful images in the Blomstermandala series of books: a graphic designer, gardener, mother and all round amazing lady, she lives in a stunning location that influences all aspects of her life. Her publisher Pagina is based in Sweden, but she has deservedly garnered many fans from around the world. Read on to find out more about her life and inspiration – and discover how you can win yourself a copy of the beautiful Blomstermandala Målarbok.

Maria Trolle photo
Your work is stunning, for those who might not have heard of you can you tell us a bit more about your career to date?
Thank you. I am a self taught artist and an educated Graphic designer. I work mainly with illustration for different customers at the moment. Besides my publisher Pagina/Printworks I do drawings for a large Swedish garden magazine and a major grocery chain amongst others. And I work a lot with package design too. I also do graphic designs for books, lately my own books of course.

Blomstermandala susie_pala_Loir3
Blomstermandala coloured by Susie Pala-Loir

There are now a few different versions of Blomster Mandala, can you explain what is on offer and a few of the differences, as it could be a bit confusing for those new to your work?
I have understood that some people have found it confusing that my three coloring books are all called Blomstermandala, the first book I made with Pagina was the tavelbook/posterbook with 20 pages on really thick paper that you can pull out and put up on the wall. Three of these are photographed flowermandalas/flowerstillifes which I made from real flowers. We also made a postcard book with the same motives. Since these books sold well, we decided to make a full-scale coloring book, 96 pages but with the same theme and with some of the drawings that where in the 20 pages poster book. This is the way Pagina has made books with Hanna Karlzon (of Daydreams fame) aswell, only with here the full-scale coloring book came before the poster book. This new 96 pages coloring book is the one with the bunny on front. I have also made a japanese version of Blomstermandala, and in fact it is quite different too with some other motifs and a little less animals. It is called Wildflowers and is 80 pages.

Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng7
Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng6
Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng4
Blomstermandala coloured by Chris Cheng

Are your flowers drawn from photos, memory or reality? Or a mix of all?! 
When I’m drawing a flower I have’nt drawn before I always look at plenty of images (since most of the time you can’t look at them live) and then draw. But when I have drawn a flower a bunch of times I can draw it out of memory.

Blomstermandala Morena_vajak4
Blomstermandala Morena_Vajak5
Blomstermandala coloured by Morena Vajak

Blomstermandala Terry Cochran
Blomstermandala coloured by Terry Cochran

How do you find the inspiration for the arrangements of your floral mandalas and whimsical creatures? 
We have loads of real life creature inspiration in my garden, pretty much all animals that are in the book have visited our garden. We have made a better fence this year so hopefully we don’t have to have the deers eating our roses this year. And the hares munching on our kale… And the fox stealing our shoes and leaving smelly poo in the lawn… But they are beautiful, just not in our garden.

Blomster Mandala Sheila Strow Pechman
Blomstermandala coloured by Sheila Strow Pechman

Blomster Mandala Deidre Stewart
Blomstermandala coloured by Deidre Stewart

Nature is clearly a big influence, where and when are you happiest in nature?
I love strolling in our garden and looking at all new things that starts to bloom. Having a garden is blessing. It is so fascinating this season and all the way to winter, because it is constantly changing. But from time to time I tend to get a bit blind to all the beauty and only see what I want to change and what needs to be done and what didn’t work out as well as we planned… But most of the time it is pure joy. I also love walking in the fields and forests nearby. But I grew up in the west coast archipelago, spending my summers on a sailing boat with my family, so the west coast ocean is probably still closest to my heart anyway. The ocean makes me feel like nothing in the world is to hard to handle, it gives me feeling of peace.

Blomstermandala Michelle Byrne
Blomstermandala coloured by Michelle Byrne

Blomstermandala Jennifer Lyons 2
Blomstermandala Jennifer Lyons
Blomstermandala coloured by Jennifer Lyons

Where do you take your daily walks, can you describe the landscape you pass through and how it influences you?
We have a farm just 5 minutes walk from our house, we can hear the sheeps and cows from our window! It is a beautiful landscape with fields where the cows, sheep and horses feed in summertime. There is a lovely lake that we take swims in during summers situated just a few hundred meters from our house. Around the lake is a large nature preservation area, so the forests are old and beautiful. We also have a castle 20 minutes walk from my house, It is really stunning there, they have a park with flowery meadows, in June it is purple all over, a meadow of Aquilegias!

Blomstermandala Anne-Lie Granström 2
Blomstermandala Anne-Lie Granström 2
Blomstermandala coloured by Anne-Lie Granström

You keep a blog called Trolles Garden which is chock full of gorgeous photos from your garden. Where is your garden? It looks incredibly beautiful. What is your particular interest in gardens and can you please tell us a bit more about what you write in the blog because I can’t read Swedish? Thanks!
Thank you! Our house and garden is situated 20 minutes drive south of Stockholm. Our main interest is our very large flowering perennial borders, but also our kitchen garden that we really want to expand in the future. We dream of a greenhouse, but the once we want are really expensive so we’ll have to wait a little while for that. But in a few years from now well probably have one! I would also like to have chickens and beehives in the future.

Blomster Mandala Shirley Fraser 2
Blomster Mandala Shirley Fraser 2
Blomster Mandala Shirley Fraser 2
Blomstermandala coloured by Shirley Fraser

How did you hook up with Swedish publisher Pagina and is there any word that your book might get published elsewhere in the world? In the meantime where can UK buyers get hold of the book?
Pagina found my floral drawings through Instagram (!) a year ago and wanted to make book with me. The book has been published in Finland (only the poster book so far) and in Japan and of course Sweden. Maybe it will be published in other countries aswell further on, but nothing that I know of at the moment. The books are available for international purchases at

Maria Trolle notepad_sketchpad
You have also done some lovely notebooks with Pagina, what other products feature your designs?
There is a notebook, a sketchpad and notepad with motives from Blomstermandala, but at the moment I don’t think they are available at Penstore. There will be some new products with my designs this summer, but that is for a different company.

Maria Trolle new book
Maria Trolle new book
Exclusive sneak peaks of Maria’s new book.

How much input have you had over paper choice and binding? How does that production process work with your publisher?
My Publisher decided the paper and binding, they know what papers work the best for coloring. I was really happy that they wanted my book to be hardcover since it gives the book a special feeling I think. Since I’m also a graphic designer I did all of the books designs myself, such as the cover and lay outing, typography etc.

Maria Trolle new book
Maria Trolle new book
More exclusive sneak peaks of Maria’s new book.

What kind of tools do you use when drawing and what size or scale do you work at? And how do you ensure a clean final image for print?
I sketch with a pencil and then I draw with fineliner pen, with thin tips, mostly 0,1 – 0,7 in tip size. I draw on a A3 size paper, (297mm x 420mm) And after scanning the image I correct little mistakes in Photoshop in my Macbook Pro.

Blomstermandala Chris_cheng5
Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng3
Blomstermandala coloured by Chris Cheng

How long did it take you to complete your most recent book?
My recent book took me about 4-5 months full-time to make.

Blomstermandala Jane Smith
Blomstermandala coloured by Jane Smith

What does your work space look like?
I have a workspace on the top floor of our house, but it is much nicer to draw on our dinner table so I sit there most of the time. There I get contact with the garden through our windows. When I didn’t have children I had a studio in Stockholm, but since our children are small it is to time consuming to work in the city. I don’t want them to have too long days in daycare/preschool.

Blomster Mandala Hazel Smithies
Blomstermandala coloured by Hazel Smithies

Blomstermandala meg_how2
Blomstermandala coloured by Meg How

I believe you have young children, how old are they and how do you juggle your role as mum and fit in your work around them?
My boy, Ulf is 5 years and my girl, Viola is 2 years. I must confess that it is hard work to be a mum and try to work as much as I do. There are many, many working evenings after they’re gone to sleep to be able to keep deadlines even though they both are in preschool/daycare during daytime now. A year ago when I was still on maternity leave with Viola I made the whole poster book only at nighttime. But it is still worth it I think, and I don’t work when they are awake, that time is familytime only.

Blomstermandala Morena_vajak
Blomstermandala Morena_Vajak2
Blomstermandala coloured by Morena Majak

Trolles Garden
How did you learn to create such beautiful letters out of flowers and leaves?
Hmm, I don’t know, basically it starts with just another drawing, and I make sketches before I do the real drawing with ink.

When did you get into producing custom screen prints and who produces them (and where)?
Two years ago I had an exhibition with a floral theme, and that was when I had some screen prints made at a small company that makes handmade screen prints.

Blomstermandala Michelle White Banaszak 2
Blomstermandala Michelle White Banaszak 2
Blomstermandala coloured by Michelle White Banaszak

You have said you would like to create your own children’s books – is this idea any closer to reality? I’d love to see what you do!
Actually it is! But nothing I can tell of yet so shhhh… ;)

Have you ever coloured any of your own work and if so could you share some examples with us?
I have not had the time yet, but it would be fun to try!

What are you working on next? Will there be any other colouring books, and specifically any more with black backgrounds as I hear those have been a major hit!
I’m working on a new coloring book that will be released in October. It will be quite different from Blomstermandala, and with fewer pages this time. It will be 48 drawings but on 96 pages, so only one side will have an illustration. The pages are made so that you can easily pull them out of the book, and the paper quality will be very good, thicker paper than in Blomstermandala. There will of course be lots of flowers and nature in this one too, but also other motifs. Hopefully I will be able to make some of the pages with black background in this one too. It will be quite exciting to see what people think about this book, is will probably be my most personal work so far. The name is yet not completely decided so I’ll have to wait to reveal that.

You can follow Maria Trolle on facebook here and instagram here and here. To win your copy of the Blomstermandala Målarbok please visit this post on my Facebook Page and leave a comment or a sticker. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 5th June. Open to UK readers only (if you are based abroad and would like to enter then please be prepared to pay for postage, which could be up to £12: it is a heavy book. If someone based abroad is chosen then I’ll wait 2 days for postage payment before drawing another winner). Good Luck!

Many thanks to the members of the following Facebook colouring groups for the use of their beautiful coloured pages:
The Blomstermandala Colorists (Fans of Maria Trolle’s Coloring Artworks)
Maria Trolle’s Coloring Creations
Coloring Creations
Adult Colouring Book Reviews

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Blomstermandala, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring for Adults, ,Giveaway, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Pagina, ,Pagina/Printworks, ,review, ,Swedish, ,Ulf, ,Viola, ,Wildflowers

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Amelia’s Magazine | A Million Cats: An interview with adult colouring book author Lulu Mayo

A Million Cats front cover by Lulu Mayo
I’ve spoken about my love of A Million Cats in my previous post highlighting my favourite colouring books of 2015, and now I am finally able to bring you an exclusive interview with the artist Lulu Mayo. This is Lulu’s debut book but the reception has been so fantastic that she is set to release another book geared towards dog lovers, called, yes you guessed it, A Million Dogs. Both books feature a plethora of cute animals in ridiculous situations, inspired by a childhood love of the infamous cat bus in cult Japanese animation My Neighbor Totoro. A must have for all the animal loving colorists out there.

A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo in a tree
A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo

I believe your first career involved numbers – what did you do and where?
After graduating from university, I worked as a sales and marketing personnel in a technology company in Taiwan. However, I quickly realised that it was not something I would like to pursue for my future career. So while working, I undertook a product design course to prepare for entry into art school. I was glad I did it and was happy to say it was the best decision I ever took in my life!

qubee-strawberry by lulu mayo
Strawberry by Lulu Mayo

Why did you decide to pursue your passion for illustration?
I had an amazing opportunity to undertake an Erasmus exchange program in France while studying international business. However, I wasn’t inspired by business management courses but arts and amazing architectures there. After I came back from France I decided to purse my love for arts. It wasn’t after a lot of trials and errors did I decide to purse my passion for illustration. Originally I thought I would be a product designer as I loved the idea of creating something practical and artistic. But later on I realised it was drawing that brought me the most joy. I am happy to say I don’t regret it at all now.

A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo adult colouring book
A coloured scene from A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo

Why did you decide to study in the UK and why did you chose Camberwell College of Arts?
I was drawn by hustle and bustle of big cities and London perfectly fit the bill. Tutors at Camberwell always gave us free rein to experiment with new themes and techniques. I have absolute creative license to produce artworks, so it was an obvious choice.

A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo townscape
A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo

How did A Million Cats become published? Did you take the concept to a publisher or did they approach you and if so when and where?
It all started when I received a fountain pen as a gift from my Dad. The pen itself was a gift from his senior officer dating back 40 years. I started to create a lot of hand drawn black and white ink artworks ever since.

A million cats cat mushroom field by Lulu Mayo
A coloured scene from A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo

Then one day I thought,“Why not combine my love of cats and ink?” So I came up with an idea of creating a colouring book, A Million Cats and started to approach to publishers. Luckily, the publishing director at Michael O’ Mara loved the concept and the rest was the history. They got many positive responses from their clients so I was commissioned by them with another project – A Million Dogs. I was very grateful that they took a chance on me.

A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo sofa
A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo

Your book features a lot of Japanese influenced patterns – why did you add this to the mix?
I have a profound interest in Ukiyo-e, pictures of the floating world. It is a genre of art that flourished in Japan from 1680s up until the year 1900. I love its unique characteristics, including its imaginative cropping of figures, exaggerated foreshortening, amazing storytelling and intriguing patterns. My artworks are deeply influenced by it. I think A Million Cats is a marriage of the quirky, the idiosyncratic and Ukiyo-e.

A-Million-Dogs-Cover by Lulu Mayo
When does A Million Dogs come out, and can you share a sneak peak of the artwork with us?
Of course, my pleasure! The publication date of A Million Dogs in UK is 14th of April. Inside are over 30 spreads of funny dogs, decorated with stress-relieving Japanese patterns and motifs, including cherry blossom, waves, hearts, maple leaves, and paisleys in various forms. It features different breeds of dogs in a range of surreal situations; riding a carousel, playing music, sneaking food, and flying a hot air balloon. I hope it can provide readers an escape from hectic modern life to a relaxing world of quirkiness and imagination.

A Million Dogs balloon by Lulu Mayo
A Million Dogs by Lulu Mayo

What do you love most about the craze for adult colouring?
What I love the most is that I can share my imaginative world with others. It’s amazing to see how others interpret my artworks in their own creative way. It is absolutely thrilling!

A Million Dogs 2 by Lulu Mayo
A Million Dogs by Lulu Mayo

What is your favourite animal and why?
My favourite animal is English bulldog and it has appeared on many pages in A Million Dogs. It descended from fighting mastiffs. Today, however, it only slightly resembles his ancestors in appearance. He is not ferocious any more, but of a sweet, and loving disposition. Such a contradictory makes him my favourite. He really inspires me with his goofy look.

Obviously you love cats, when did this interest begin and have you ever had a pet cat that has inspired your work?
When I was five years old, I watched my first Hayao Miyazaki’s film called My Neighbor Totoro. There was a magical cat character. Every time when Totoro summoned him, he transformed into a cat bus and drove people to their destination. As a child, it completely rocked my world and I always dreamt that I could be the passenger one day. Ever since I became an advocate of cats. I want to create whimsical cats that sparks people’s imagination. Unfortunately, in reality there is no such cat that inspires me… it’s absolutely impossible to have a pet as my Mum is a neat freak!

effiel-tower by lulu mayo
Eiffel tower by Lulu Mayo

What else are you working on?
I am working on an animal-themed colouring book. It will feature more than 20 different animals in a range of different circular patterns. I will infuse it with my love for Japanese patterns, flowers, and plants. Unlike A Million Cats and A Million Dogs, this time I will colour it up with readers. So watch out, animal lovers!

St-pancras-station by Lulu Mayo
St Pancras Station by Lulu Mayo

For my personal project, I am working on a rabbit counting book. It’s not just about 1, 2, 3 but a story of having a loving family and friends!

A Million Dogs mandala by Lulu Mayo
Thank you so much for answering my questions Lulu, I love your work! Follow Lulu Mayo on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories ,A Million Cats, ,A Million Dogs, ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Colouring, ,Animal Colouring Book, ,Camberwell College of Arts, ,Cat Coloring Book, ,Cat Colouring Book, ,Coloring, ,Colouring for Adults, ,Hayao Miyazaki, ,interview, ,japanese, ,Lulu Mayo, ,Michael O’ Mara, ,My Neighbor Totoro, ,pattern, ,review, ,Taiwan, ,Ukiyo-e

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Hazel Partridge: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Hazel Partidge Image 5
Beautiful nature themed artworks by Hazel Partridge were one of my top picks at this year’s New Designers show, so I was thrilled that she took up the offer to submit for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Her gorgeous papercut piece was inspired by a poem from Black Country poet Liz Berry.

Hazel Partridge Image 11
I found you at New Designers, what was the best thing about that show for you?
New Designers was really inspiring and informative, the atmosphere was great and it was packed the whole time! I really enjoyed looking at the work from all of the different disciplines and Universities; it was really encouraging to see such diverse ideas and products from this year’s graduates. The most useful aspect of the show was that it gave a great opportunity to speak to representatives from the creative industry; at the Falmouth University stand we met people from publishers, agencies and design companies, all of whom were really enthusiastic about our work.

Hazel Partidge Image 9
Hazel Partidge Image 6
How did studying at Falmouth Uni inform your illustrations, it’s such a beautiful town!?
Falmouth is such an inspiring location, and I think everyone studying there would agree! Working in a collaborative studio environment is something that I really miss, it’s so useful to be able to see what others are working on, and get reliable feedback on your own work as well. Nature is a recurring theme for me, and exploring the local Cornish landscapes definitely influences my illustrations. I scuba dive and rock-climb regularly, seeing the world from a different perspective- whether it’s underwater or from halfway up a sea cliff – gets me away from my desk, and more productive when I am back there.

Hazel Partridge Image 4
Where do you like to go when you are at home in the Cotswolds and in need of inspiration?
I’m lucky to live close to so many beautiful places; I love a good long walk through the woods and fields with friends, and heading over to Wales with my family on our motorcycles. I also find a lot of inspiration through reading, I’ve recently finished The Worm Forgives the Plough by John Stewart Collis, which I enjoyed.

Can you tell us what inspired your double page for my book?
My colouring page was inspired by imagery from Bird by the Black Country poet Liz Berry. I caught a snatch of the poem; the lines ‘I shed my nightdress to the drowning arms of the dark, my shoes to the sun’s widening mouth’ on the radio, and jotted them down so that I could find out the rest. A little research later and I had discovered an amazing poem that was rich with themes of metamorphosis and migration, and which evoked an enticing yet slightly unsettling atmosphere.

Hazel Partidge Image 8
What are your preferred methods when making artwork?
My illustration was created using cut paper, inks and digital editing. My current favourite mediums to work in are lino print and papercutting, I really enjoy how the process flows- starting with a blank surface and then removing bits of it until the design emerges (hopefully) unbroken. Although working traditionally is by no means the fastest method of producing images in these styles, I find that the results have a warmer and more authentic quality than they would if created digitally as I have put a lot more of myself into their creation.

Hazel Partridge Image 3
Hazel Partidge Image 7
You obviously have a great love for birds as they feature widely in your work, what is your favourite bird and why?
My favourite bird is probably the magpie, because not only are they intelligent and beautiful, but they have such a rich folklore surrounding them – most people know the One for Sorrow rhyme, for example. My illustrative work reflects my interests in natural history and science, and although my images are often decorative I enjoy researching the background information on my subjects and trying to keep the designs accurate.

Hazel Partridge Image 3
What new projects are you working on now?
I am currently working on a series of privately commissioned images featuring various birds in their natural habitats. It’s always hard to part with my original artworks, but it’s lovely to know that they are going to a good home where they will be displayed properly rather than sat in a folder in my studio. I’ve got a few print-based projects in the pipeline as well, but I can’t say more about them at the moment, and as Christmas is on its way I’m beginning to plan some festive projects too. I post on social media frequently, so updates can be found there.

Find Hazel on Facebook, Twitter @HP_Illustrates, Instagram @hazelpartridgeillustration and Tumblr. You can colour Hazel Partridge‘s art in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion alongside that of 40 other international artists. Funding on Kickstarter with only 10 days left, so get your copy now, it makes a fantastic Christmas gift!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Colouring, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Bird, ,Christmas, ,Coloring for Adults, ,Colouring Book, ,Cotswolds, ,Falmouth University, ,Hazel Partridge, ,illustration, ,interview, ,John Stewart Collis, ,Kickstarter, ,Lino printing, ,Liz Berry, ,nature, ,New Designers, ,One for Sorrow, ,Papercut, ,The Worm Forgives the Plough, ,wales

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