Amelia’s Magazine | The Kickstarter campaign for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion launches today!

Kickstarter campaign image Ameliasccc
I am super excited to announce that the Kickstarter campaign for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion launches today! Make sure you grab an EARLY BIRD BARGAIN

Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion is a unique collaborative colouring book for adults, featuring the work of 40 artists from all over the world. If you are hunting for an unusual, beautiful, high quality colouring book that stands out in the crowd then this is the one for you! It would make an ideal Christmas present

Alex Mcginn
Double page spread by Alex McGinn.

Eleanor Percival
Double page spread by Eleanor Percival.

Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion was put together through an open brief and each artist has contributed a double page – with a full colour left page on the left, and a complementary black line image on the right to colour in. This limited edition book will be printed on gorgeous thick paper and bound using the lay flat binding process ensuring that it is a delight to colour in. 

Nanna Prierler
I am already colouring in the pages! Here’s one by Nanna Prierler.

Steph Moulden
And another by Steph Moulden.

I have released some early back issues (1,2,3 and 4) as rewards to help raise funds and there are some fabulous Early Bird bargains that are sure to be snapped up fast, so please do visit the campaign page to view a short video featuring a mock up of the book… I hope you enjoy the little surprise at the end!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Alex McGinn, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Back issues, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring, ,Colouring Book, ,Early Bird, ,Eleanor Percival, ,Kickstarter, ,Launch, ,Nanna Prierler, ,Steph Moulden

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up 2016: A Round Up of My Favourite Finds

Pick Me Up 2016 took place earlier this year, and although I shared my best picks of the show on instagram I never got around to posting anything on Amelia’s Magazine. So here, a mere half year down the line, are my favourite finds. Enjoy!

Marie Jacotey is a French artist exploring what it means to be a girl.

George Douglas works in a pop art collage style. He is based in Scotland.

I love the folk art influenced pictures depicting jaunty “sapeurs” by Brighton based Camilla Perkins.

Beautiful, simple, evocative ink paintings by Alice Bowsher.

Fantastical bright new work by Jack Sachs takes a look at our anatomy.

I really loved detailed paintings by Aart-Jan Venema, who lives in The Hague, Netherlands.

Lenticular madness from Julian Glander, eye popping colours and surreal arrangements.

Please excuse the glare on this fab painting of pottery by Charlotte Mei (always a favourite).

Isabel & Helen is a creative partnership specialising in set design and interactive installations.

Eliza Tulip created this image for Anorak Magazine, always a great place to check out illustration talent.

A beautiful stand from Peso Press.

Mr Penfold for Grey Jam Press.

Cuckoo’s Nest was a collaborative exhibition between Beach London and The Museum of British Folklore, featuring specially created work by a number of well known artists alongside pieces from the museum’s collections. Above is a Mr Punch cutout doll by Liam Barrett.

I love this vintage fireworks poster.

This piece by Alec Doherty was inspired by the tradition of Haxey Hood.

Longsword dancing by Gaurab Thakali.

More Longsword Dancing by Rob Flowers.

Love the detail in this piece by Studio Muti, a creative studio in Cape Town, South Africa.

Artist beer mat designs.

The artist known as Megamunden is based in Brighton – creating tattoo inspired artworks such as this. He is perhaps best known for his awesome tattoo inspired colouring book.

Lovely ceramics from the Clay Collective, who share a studio space in Hackney Downs Studios, East London. I love the direction Joe Rogers (who formerly created illustrations for Amelia’s Magazine) has taken with his stunning ceramics under the name Colourbox.

These are by Clay Collective founding member Sophie Alda.

This is one of a series of conceptual children’s books by Emily Rand, published by Hato Press.

Lovely work by Jack Taylor. Two by Four is an artist book featuring a colourful house construction, also published by Hato Press.

Yes! hand painted sign by Daisy Emerson at Best.

Palm trees by print and graphic designer Felicity Marshall.

Fantastic work by Claire Powell, whose work features in my colouring book, Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Love her anthropomorphised animals including cherries having a hug :)

All of these images first appeared on my instagram feed @ameliagregory – make sure you follow me there or on twitter to see my art finds first! (and in a slightly more timely manner…)

Categories ,Alec Doherty, ,Alice Bowsher, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Anorak Magazine, ,Beach London, ,Best, ,Camilla Perkins, ,Charlotte Mei, ,Claire Powell, ,Clay Collective, ,Colourbox, ,Cuckoo’s Nest, ,Daisy Emerson, ,Eliza Tulip, ,Emily Rand, ,Felicity Marshall, ,Gaurab Thakali, ,George Douglas, ,Grey Jam Press, ,Hackney Downs Studios, ,Hato Press, ,Haxey Hood, ,Isabel & Helen, ,Jack Sachs, ,Jack Taylor, ,Joe Rogers, ,Julian Glander, ,Liam Barrett, ,Marie Jacotey, ,Megamunden, ,Mr Penfold, ,Peso Press, ,Pick Me Up 2016, ,Pick Me Up London, ,review, ,Rob Flowers, ,Somerset House, ,Sophie Alda, ,Studio Muti, ,The Museum of British Folklore, ,Two by Four, ,Under the Sea

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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 | Jungle Paradise by Lorna Scobie: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
The marvellous Lorna Scobie publishes her first colouring book today, but I am lucky enough to own an advance copy so I’ve had bit of time to get acquainted with her uniquely cheeky critters. Jungle Paradise has a gorgeous cover with gift-tastic green metallic highlights and lots of crisp white pages, and it is a detailed frolic through the jungle featuring numerous animals, some inspired by a call out to this popular illustrator’s fans. Amongst the landscapes of larger fauna there are pages of insects and birds, ensuring something for every animal lover. I can’t wait to get started… Lorna tells us more.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
How long did it take to create Jungle Paradise and when did you work on it?
As I work full time, I worked on Jungle Paradise in the evenings and at the weekend. Although it’s meant I’ve been kept super busy for the past few months, I have really enjoyed creating the artwork so it didn’t feel like I was coming home from work to do work, more that I was spending time doing something I love to do. We were keen for the book to publish sooner rather than later, to make sure it was out before Christmas, so the schedule was quite tight! I started working on the book around June this year and it took me a couple months to complete it.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
Where did you find inspiration for the pages inside Jungle Paradise, and did you use anything specific as reference?
The book itself was inspired by my love of animals generally, as a lot of my work up to now has been animal based. I tend to work from imagination, so lots of Jungle Paradise just came straight from my head. For some of the more unusual animals, like the ocelot and some of the lizards, I referenced some of the animal books I’ve collected. As well as encyclopaedias of animals and plant life I have lots of house plants surrounding my workspace – these were a big inspiration too! At the beginning of the project I asked my Instagram and Twitter followers what their favourite jungle animals are, and tried to include as many as these as possible!

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
What materials and techniques did you use to create the illustrations for Jungle Paradise?
I stayed true to my black and white illustration style, using a black fine liner, but made it more refined and detailed for the purpose of colouring in.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
Where do the motivational quotes in Jungle Paradise come from and who found them?
I worked closely with my editor to find quotes as we wanted to get across the tranquility and wonder of nature. We hope Jungle Paradise will be an escape from busy city life, and so the quotes help to inspire people to think about the natural world rather than their ever increasing to-do lists!

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
How did you get the commission for your own colouring book?
I had worked previously with the editor and the idea of doing a colouring book together was sparked by a colouring workshop I did at Pick Me Up illustration festival this year. I was already thinking of doing a characterful animal colouring book at the time, so when I was approached by Hardie Grant Books to do something in that style it seemed perfect.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
Your animals are described as “cheeky” – how did this come about and what elements do you include to ensure a cheeky look?
I’ve learnt to embrace the “happy mistakes” that crop up all too regularly in my work, rather than spending too long on a drawing, or reworking things over and over again. Hopefully this gives each of my characters a bit of personality, as they aren’t in any way perfect.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna Scobie
Who do you hope will buy your new book?
As well as creative crowds, I hope that Jungle Paradise will also reach a new market of people who perhaps don’t see themselves as creative. Or people who would like to be creative but aren’t sure where to start. Colouring-in is for everyone, and thats what is so fab about it. No special skills are required.

Will there be another? What has the feedback been so far?
I am working on a follow-up book as feedback from Jungle Paradise has been really positive so far, which is very exciting!

I am also super happy to share the news that Lorna Scobie is featured in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. More about her contribution here

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Animal Colouring Book, ,Artist Interview, ,Christmas Present, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring Book For Adults, ,Happy mistakes, ,Hardie Grant, ,Hardie Grant Books, ,instagram, ,interview, ,jungle, ,Jungle Paradise, ,Pick Me Up, ,review, ,twitter

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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 | An interview with Súa Agapé: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Sua Agape Artwork 2
Súa Agapé is another fantastic instagram find for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, creating cosmic illustrations inspired by a love of cacti and imaginary worlds. Read on to find out more about this Guatemalan artist.

How did your parents inspire you as a child?
I remember when I was a child I always saw my dad drawing. He always had me next to him with his rapidographs, ink, pencils and rulers. I still own some of his art tools; it’s like a childhood memory for me. My mother is an Industrial Fashion Designer and also a Visual Art Teacher, so I grew up watching both of them doing a lot of designs, drawings and projects. They gave me their art supplies and tools to play with and I really enjoyed interacting with their everyday tools. I remember I used to paint all the walls of the house, creating sketches with different materials, because my parents invited me to create even as a small child.

Sua Agape Artwork 9
How does your country inspire your work?
Guatemala is a multicultural and multi-ethnic country with many languages and Mayan heritage, so you can take inspiration from every place; and I often get inspired by the colours and patterns of the traditional costumes of each ethnic group. It’s great to have a beautiful country with such amazing wildlife and fauna to explore on new adventures!

Sua Agape Artwork 6
Where did you study and how did you move into illustration more recently?
I studied Graphic Design at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala and Digital Creativity at Digital Invaders in Mexico. These careers complement my passion for illustration and they helped me to develop my skills as an illustrator. A few months ago I decided to start working on my own as a designer and freelance illustrator and it’s awesome. For now I’m working on some new projects to develop my illustrations for designs on textiles prints for shoes, t-shirts and bags. I really love working on interesting new projects or collaborations so feel free to contact me.

Sua Agape Artwork 8
How easy is it to get good work in Guatemala and how have you found work abroad?
Every year in Guatemala the number of designers in competition for work is increasing as in all growing cities. But if you’re a good designer or illustrator with a good portfolio then you’ll find work easily. I find work abroad through posting my artworks online and submissions, etc. Internet and social media facilitates the work life!

Sua Agape Artwork 5
Can you tell us more about your various exhibitions around the world?
Last year I had the opportunity to participate in the ‘Dibuja Guatemala’ project for the Guatemalan Cultural Center of Spain. All the artists worked on a traveling sketchbook, drawing and capturing the Guatemalan streetlife and the sketchbooks than travelled to Spain and were exhibited in a gallery. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Glug Birmingham & Inkygoodness Poster exhibition. They called for illustrators to participate on a poster design competition so I participated, and although my poster design didn’t win all the finalists ere featured in the event exhibition, so I was very excited and happy to have my poster in London! This year I’m participating in the Sketchbook Project, so one of my sketchbooks is traveling around the United States in a Mobile Library. I love this project because I can share with other people my inspiration at a specific time, stored in the sketchbook.

Sua Agape Artwork 7
When did you first become interested in the Cosmos?
If I were not an illustrator I would love to be an astronaut. But I much prefer to draw and be an illustrator. So I will be an astronaut in another life. In the meantime, I will draw the entire universe. :)

Sua Agape Artwork 1
Why is purple your favourite colour?
It’s been my favorite colour since I was a child. All my things were purple; it’s a colour that makes me feel at peace and in another world because it’s so magical and mysterious at the same time. I love to see how purple can mix with other colours.

What inspired your colouring book artwork?
The mystery of other worlds. I love imagining what might happen in another dimension, universe or time. What happens when you take part in your own dreams? I hope people who see these pages will feel like an astronaut traveling to another fantastic world. It’s an invitation to see and stay in my cosmic world.

Sua Agape Artwork 4
What kind of products and images do you like to embroider and screen print?
All kind of textile products like t-shirts, bags, patches, pillows, shoes and maybe some jewellery. But I still want to print on paper too. I’m really excited about working on my new project and learning a lot of textile printing techniques.

How are you building your own brand and what does it encompass?
Before anything else I will focus on design and illustration for textiles but I’ll always be working as an illustrator for different projects. More surprises are coming soon!

Find Súa Agapé and many other artists featured in my upcoming Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, funding on Kickstarter very soon!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring, ,Colouring Book, ,Dibuja Guatemala, ,Digital Invaders, ,Glug Birmingham, ,Guatemala, ,Guatemalan Cultural Center of Spain, ,inkygoodness, ,interview, ,Sketchbook Project, ,Sua Agape, ,University of San Carlos of Guatemala

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Suzanne Carpenter: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Suzanne Carpenter is a hugely busy illustrator and designer who I have admired on instagram for some time, so I am so glad she found time to submit work for my upcoming Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, creating a beautiful image inspired by her ongoing love of fish, and her daydreams of turning into a mermaid.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
How did you first discover Amelia’s Magazine?
My daughter Holly first introduced me to Amelia’s Magazine when she was an art student and I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m married a to a designer and we’re more than a bit proud to have produced two new designers.Both based in London; Holly specialises in eyewear and Joe does a combination of graphic design and window vinyl. They roll their eyes if I say too much about them as they hate me being boastful. If only it was allowed I’d tell you that they’re both extremely beautiful and very, very talented. If you’re following me on instagram you’ll likely see news of them and their work cropping up from time to time. We often visit exhibitions together or share links to inspiration but they’re both a bit bemused by my enthusiasm for social media.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
I believe you began your career as a graphic designer, how did you make the move into illustration?
I trained as a graphic designer but I always had a niggling need to make pictures. Not long after I graduated a friend and I jointly won a Welsh Arts Council competition to illustrate a poetry book and Staedtler employed me to travel around the country drawing with their new range of brush markers. From then on I had regular illustration work but being a butterfly brain I mixed it up with a dollop of teaching, a dabble of writing, a pinch of cushion plumping and staggering amount of staring out of the window.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Why did you settle on the name Illustrator Eye for your brand?
@illustrator_eye seemed like a fitting tag – my life is like an intense game of I Spy – constantly attracted and distracted by patterns around me. My illustrator’s eye effects my every move, from making pictures, prints and patterns to rummaging around in charity shops.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Why did you choose to draw fish for my colouring book?
I have a thing for fish. Not fin flapping, live, swishing fish but paper, wood and fabric fish. Fishes painted on dishes and things. Mid Century ceramic fish filled with abstract pattern provide oceans of decoration inspiration. Our lives, like the tides, are dependent on patterns and so I chose to impose my compulsion for pattern on flamboyant, fancy fish going with flow and teeny tiny fish that swim against the tide. Like us, all so different and yet the same.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Who or what inspired the mermaid?
When I’ve sat too long, run too far or stayed up too late, I visualise myself as a mermaid being towed along through tropical water by beautiful fish. Amazing how it helps the tensions wash away. It’s one of my more relaxing daydreams!

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
You are ridiculously busy, how do you manage all your different projects and stay sane?
I’m not always this busy but the small amount of sanity I’ve retained can probably be put down to a good dose of pavement pounding. Running is a good antidote to work and keeps me from becoming a moody old witch (most of the time). I did Cardiff Half Marathon earlier this month and swore it would be my last but to be honest I’m already thinking about next years. Leaving the car behind and cycling around the city has it’s blissful moment too – weaving in and out of Cardiff’s parks watching the seasons change pumps a bit more oxygen into the brain!

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
What is your involvement with Stills?
Stills is a branding and design company set up by my husband Chris and a partner. I’m a director and over the years I’ve been involved in lots of different projects from illustrating to creative writing and social media support for some of our clients. It’s based in a lovely old coach house on the edge of Bute Park but we’ve also set up a small studio at home and next year will be spending much of our time focusing on our own patterned dreams. You’ll soon be able to find us at @patternistas

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
How did you get involved with Uncle Goose wooden blocks?
Once upon a time on Instagram I posted a paisley pattern that I’d designed. I literally jumped for joy when Pete Bultman at Uncle Goose got in touch to say he’d love to put it on his handmade wooden blocks! That one is still in the pipeline but in the meantime I worked with him on their Hindi language blocks and their Swahili block set which has just been launched. They do a great job of screen printing the designs and are a dream client!

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Can you tell us more about the Shed Project?
The Shed Project is the amazingly dedicated and beautifully bonkers mission of Lee John Phillips to draw every item in his late grandfather’s shed. He estimates it will take around 5 years of intensive work as he has to draw in excess of 100,000 items. His story has captured imaginations right across the world and his following is growing by the minute. We initially became friends through instagram when it became apparent that not only were we from the same Welsh Valley but we both had a thing for fish! I’m over the moon that he’s suggested that we collaborate on some images for prints. His tools and bolts and my plant patterns (or planterns as he’s named them). We’re going to do some vector and some line images and we may even put them on coffee pots.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
I believe you are working on a big Christmas campaign for a shopping centre in the USA, what kind of work are you creating for them?
It’s all ginger bread, santa houses, snowflakes and sparkles in my world at the moment. I’m working on the Christmas campaign for The Grove and Americana at Brand in LA. The commission came from them seeing my work on Illustration Mundo. They were looking for a very graphic, patterned, vector style and so I happily my work fitted the bill. I’ve got a great long list of images to get done by the end of Oct so I think I’ll be hanging a few baubles from my ears and getting the Christmas albums out to keep me going.

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
What else are you working on at present?
I’ve just finished a mural in the garden of a local organic cafe – I’d love to do more of that. Through my agents Artist Partners I’ve recently illustrated the cover and sample pages for a book about the wildlife of the rainforest. I’ve just had news that it went down well at Frankfurt Book Fair and so fingers crossed that more of my days will be spent growing leaf patterns and putting legs on insects! Along with Chris I’m working on a series of videos for Interface (sustainability champions and the worlds largest manufacturer of contract carpet tiles) – they’ll be used to help train their sales team. I’ll be doing the scripting and storyboarding and Chris will be videoing my live drawing. I’ve done a couple of prints for the 5th anniversary exhibition of Sho, my favourite local gallery. I’m doing a few days as a visiting lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan Uni this month – helping run a collage/layout project with a lovely group of 1st yr graphic students. I’m developing some ideas for a pattern book which I hope to present to publishers as soon as I can find some extra hours in the day to finish visualising them. I’ve taken part in ‘Out Fox’ a 3D paper project by Proyecto Ensamble who are based in Chile. They supply the fox head template and 13 illustrators from across the world have designed a pattern to feature on them. The set are just launching – see them on instagram @ensamble

Suzanne Carpenter Illustator Eye
Where can people find you online?
You can find me on instagram at @illustrator_eye, on twitter at @illustrator_eye, on etsy here, at Stills and at Artist Partners.

Find Suzanne Carpenter and many other talented artists in my upcoming Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available soon on Kickstarter, the perfect alternative colouring book to gift this Christmas.

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,@illustrator_eye, ,@patternistas, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,americana, ,Artist Partners, ,Brand, ,Cardiff Half Marathon, ,Cardiff Metropolitan Uni, ,Colorado State University, ,Coloring, ,Colouring, ,Colouring Book, ,fish, ,Frankfurt Book Fair, ,I Spy, ,illustration, ,Illustration Mundo, ,Illustrator Eye, ,Interface, ,interview, ,Kickstarter, ,Lee John Phillips, ,Mermaid, ,Mid Century, ,Out Fox, ,Proyecto Ensamble, ,Shed Project, ,Sho, ,Staedtler, ,Stills, ,Suzanne Carpenter, ,The Grove, ,Uncle Goose, ,Welsh Arts Council

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Suzie Scott: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Lipstick Faces Suzie Scott
Surface designer Suzie Scott was first spotted at New Designers a few years back. After a few years break she is now pursuing a burgeoning career based back in her hometown of Coventry. Suzie is featured in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, contributing a rich double page spread inspired by the works of Henri Rousseau.

suzie scott studio photo
Where did you study and what happened immediately after graduation?
I graduated in 2011 with a BA in Surface Design from the University of the Arts London. My degree show was followed by my exhibition at New Designers, where I was spotted by the drinks company Malibu. I was contacted by the drinks company and commissioned to create a concept for a limited edition bottle jacket for their summer bottle 2012. Unfortunately I didn’t win the final commission, but it was a great experience working with the brand especially so fresh out of University. I also invited Amelia to my show, but we missed each other! Never the less she still featured me on her blog!

Suzie Scott Lashes G16
Suzie Scott pexmas
What have you done since then work wise?
When I graduated I actually felt a bit burnt out from studying and wanted to take a brake from designing. I signed up with Artstemps, the university’s in house temping agency, and got a job in the 4D department at Central Saint Martins. Whilst I was working there I came across a local ad by Pexmas looking for creative stallholders and decided to try and make some extra cash around Christmas time. My style of illustration is colourful and bold but perhaps not what you would expect to find printed on wrapping paper. I thought this would be a great challenge so I applied for a stall. At the time I was still working a 9-5 so I had to be really disciplined with myself so that I could squeeze in time to design. At one point I felt like I was actually living at CSM!

Suzie Scott lipsticksG1
How has your work developed in the following years and what is your favourite process to create surface pattern nowadays?
Any down time I had whilst working at CSM, I began to spend drawing doodles and creating patterns in Photoshop. Because I was always in front of a computer, my work developed into a much more digital style than I had while studying. Around this time I was contacted by Customly, a design marketplace where you can buy, create and sell art, photography and designs on unique products. They had seen my work online and commissioned me to create some pattern designs for some products on their website. Applying the colour to a design or illustration is always my favourite part of the design process. I have a big collection of TRIA markers with a colour guide that I have stuck to my wall next to my computer. I use this to choose colours, often referencing back to my original sketch and sometimes-even colouring in sections to see what works. I also find coloured paper really inspiring. The flat matt colour of a fresh sheet of coloured paper seems to send infinite possibilities into my brain.

Suzie Scott desk space
Can you describe your studio space?
After 7 fantastic years studying and then working in the capital, I decided to move back home to Coventry, so that I could focus on designing full time. At the moment I work from a desk at home surrounded by books, magazines and colourful curiosities, which influence and inspire my work. I try to keep my desk space tidy but I find I create my best work when it’s a bit of a mess.

Suzie Scott 60s b&w
What is the art scene like in Coventry?
Coventry has an emerging art scene, and a number of contemporary art venues that include, the Warwick Arts Centre, Fargo Village and the Herbert Art Gallery. Fargo Village is a new development with a gallery, studio space and independent shops. It’s really great to see something like this open up in Coventry because it showcases the talent and potential the city has to offer.

Suzie Scott  dps
Why did you decide to enter artwork for this colouring book, what inspired your piece and how was it created?
Alongside freelance work I’m always on the look out for competitions and open briefs. There’s nothing quite like having the freedom to create whatever you want without the idea being subject to critique or change. Being featured in colourful colouring companion is a big deal for me right now. It’s my first illustration to be printed in a book, which is really exciting! I can’t wait to hold a copy in hands! My illustration ‘Midnight Jungle’ is a digital collage of illustrations and for this, I referenced imagery of plants from Google, tropical textiles from eBay and colour palletes from music posters found on Pinterest. I really admire the work of Henri Rousseau, and his famous jungle paintings inspired my own tropical piece. I like to start every illustration with a pencil sketch, and then import the sketch into Photoshop. I will then manually trace the lines using the paintbrush tool. I like the slight wobble to the lines you get using this tool, I think its gives them a bit more personality. I find that using the illustrator paintbrush tool makes everything look too perfect.

Suzie Scott NorthernSoulG17
What do you like to do to relax and how does it inform your art?
Whatever I’m doing there will always be music playing. I love northern soul and disco and there’s definitely a retro theme that runs through my work. My favorite way to relax is to listen to Eddie Piller’s eclectic soul show. In fact this show led me to research northern soul patches, which inspired my northern soul patch print.

DOLLY by Suzie Scott
What inspires you most?
I try to create designs that feel retro or nostalgic but look modern for today – you could say I have one foot in the past and one in the present. I love 70s and 80s textile design, and have a collection of silk scarves and dresses from these decades. If I am ever stuck for inspiration I look at my own collection of vintage pieces. Another great source of inspiration I find are vintage garments on eBay and Etsy. I look for the items with interesting print designs. These items can often be one offs, so I will screen gab the images and put them in my inspiration folder on my desktop.

Suzie Scott flamingo
What have you got lined up in 2016?
2016 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year. I recently won a competition by Textile Federation, who support and promote emerging textile designers. The competition was to design a silk scarf and the prize was to have it produced and sold in Topshop, Urban Outfitters and on their own website The theme for this design was bohemia and I named my scarf Janis after the late great Janis Joplin. This should be out early next year so keep an eye out! My latest project is ‘The Sketchbook Project’ which is a Brooklyn based collaborative art project in New York. This project has been going for years, and anyone can get involved. Up until now I have never had the time, but I am determined to complete it before the year is out. Once it’s complete, it will be available to view online at the sketchbook project’s digital library. So keep your eyes peeled on my website for a link! I have recently been planning a working holiday trip to Australia and hope to leave in the New Year. I’m sure I will return with some fantastic new ideas, and I feel that some great stuff is yet to come! I am available for commissions & collaborations so please do get in touch!

I’ve run out of pre Christmas copies of Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion but make sure you pre-order your very own colouring book to arrive in January 2016, just click here.

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Colouring, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Artstemps, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Coloring, ,Colouring Book, ,Coventry, ,Customly, ,Eddie Piller, ,Fargo Village, ,Herbert Art Gallery, ,interview, ,Janis, ,Janis Joplin, ,Midnight Jungle, ,Pexmas, ,surface design, ,Suzie Scott, ,Textile Federation, ,The Sketchbook Project, ,topshop, ,TRIA markers, ,University of the Arts London, ,Urban Outfitters, ,Warwick Arts Centre

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Tiffany Baxter: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Tiffany Baxter 6
Recently graduated illustrator Tiffany Baxter contributes a whirling dervish of an image inspired by the Saint Vitus Dance of the medieval period, full of fanciful characters in colourful clothing.

Tiffany spreadsmall
Why did you decide to illustrate the St Vitus Dance for the colouring book and what is happening in your picture?
It was a subject I’d heard briefly about when researching witchcraft and I found it fascinating so looked into it more. Even though now it’s thought to be a mass psychogenic illness, beyond that there doesn’t seem to be any idea about what caused it. Historical imagery shows people affected by mania but in my portrayal I suppose I tried to demonstrate what could be going on from the point of view of the dancers themselves. As with most odd phenomena back then, it was frequently thought to be demons or magic forces behind it all so that was the angle I was going for – a happy but insidious trance.

Tiffany Baxter photo
How did you create the piece and what is your most used art material?
I started out sketching thumbnails and rough ideas in my sketch book but then the whole piece was actually drawn in Photoshop with a Cintiq tablet. Most used would be Photoshop for digital work or with traditional media I’ve most used a brush pen and a magic pencil lately!

Tiffany Baxter 7
How do you research the mystical and esoteric for your artwork?
It will sound rather boring I suppose but mainly it’s just a whole lot of reading! London has a few specialist bookstores where I’ve managed to find loads of interesting books that you wouldn’t really find anywhere else unless you really knew exactly what you wanted.

Tiffany Baxter 8
Which bit of history is your favourite, why, and how has this influenced your work?
That’s a surprisingly tough question! I much prefer the personal side of history as opposed to hard facts of wars etc, how people actually lived is so captivating, what was different but also the same. Also the mystery of it, my current interest has been in early British history, of which there is so much we don’t know because early Britons had no written record, so a lot is left to the imagination. As for its influence, I’m always world building and thinking of my own characters and the past is a great point of inspiration in making something simultaneously familiar but strange, even on just a design level.

Tiffany Baxter 3
Where is the best place for people watching… and drawing?
Usually on the train or tube. People are still for long enough to draw them, though you have to be a bit sneaky about it so they don’t think you’re strange.

Tiffany Baxter 2
How does a combination of the classics and video games influence your work?
With classics it’s more that, they’re classic for a reason, they’re ultimately just good stories that absorb readers into caring about the characters. Additionally video games as well as often having beautiful character/world design are so unique among media in that they’re on the border between being a passive and an active experience. You can create something that really touches the audience in an entirely different way than say a book or television; as the players have a say in the outcome and I think that’s really special. So in short I suppose, storytelling is what has really influenced my work.

tiffany baxter-willhouse
Can you tell us more about your recent project for the BBC?
It was part of a live brief as part of my university course, and myself and a few of my peers were chosen to continue on with the project. It was for a BBC2 documentary following families through generations from the Victorian era through to present day that has yet to air – they needed drawings to then be animated for zoetrope scenes. It was really fun working with the team as well as just learning the stories of these people and being able to represent them even in a small way.

tiffany baxter-waldahouses
Since you’ve graduated you are now between London and Milton Keynes, is there any exciting art happening in your home town that we should know about?
I’m slightly ashamed to say I’m rather out of the loop with the local art scene after being in London for so long, so I only know a few illustrators and of course the local art gallery. It would be nice to see art flourish here though, especially as Milton Keynes doesn’t always necessarily have the best reputation in that regard I don’t think!

tiffany baxter-Upholsterer+mockup
Where and when can people see your upcoming group exhibition?
The exhibition is called Veneficus and is at Treadwell’s Books on Store Street in London from the 23rd October through to the 30th. The Facebook event is here if you want to check it out!

tiffany baxter -fka twigs
Tiffany is joined by her fellow Camberwell graduate Percie Edgeler in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, interview coming soon.

Categories ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Camberwell College of Art, ,Cintiq tablet, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,interview, ,Milton Keynes, ,St Vitus Dance, ,Tiffany Baxter, ,Trance, ,Treadwell’s Books, ,Veneficus

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Amelia’s Magazine | Colouring in the Midst of Madness: An interview with Lucy Fyles

Tangle Bay - Lucy Fyles
Tangle Bay – Lucy Fyles

Colouring Book reviewer Lucy Fyles was one of the first reviewers I discovered when I went hunting for people to write about Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Lucy struggles with extreme anxiety and writes her wonderfully astute reviews based on her use of colouring to calm herself down. You can read Lucy’s review of my book here, and there are links to some of her other book reviews under each of her coloured examples below. I caught up with Lucy to find out more about why colouring books have become so important in her life…

Lucy Fyles Desk
You are very open about your struggles with anxiety, how have things changed since you discovered adult colouring?
On a day to day basis my condition is easier to manage. It hasn’t improved, unfortunately colouring isn’t a miracle cure, but my daily levels of anxiety are usually lower and more manageable thanks to colouring and if I notice a panic attack coming on early enough I can sometimes prevent one by focusing on colouring and breathing rather than the panic taking hold. I’m also much busier now thanks to reviewing over 100 books so I have a lot less spare time and time to worry, though it does bring a new set of worries with trying to impress publishers, accurately describe books, keep up with all of the latest colouring news etc.

Secret Garden Artist's Edition - Lucy Fyles
Secret Garden Artist’s Edition – Lucy Fyles

Since starting Colouring in the Midst of Madness have you heard from many other people that have been helped by colouring? What kind of stories do they have?
Yes, I’ve heard from so many people who it’s helping. A lot of them have similar stories to me and are suffering from physical or mental (or both) health problems and are finding that colouring is helping them cope, and helping them escape. People have told me they’re using less pain medication, feeling calmer, feeling their mood lift, improving their concentration, and it’s also giving them a wider community to be part of.

Tangle Wood - Lucy Fyles
Tangle Wood – Lucy Fyles

Secret Garden 2016 Calendar - Lucy Fyles
Secret Garden 2016 Calendar – Lucy Fyles

You have said you also like to bake and crochet – how do you juggle all your hobbies? 
Very badly currently! Colouring has completely taken over my time, my flat and my life! I haven’t had a chance to crochet since the summer and I do really miss it but I’m saving it for when the colouring craze calms down and then I’ll branch back out into doing more of a variety of activities. I do still bake about once a month, maybe more, I like to bake if I have visitors coming (sharing it helps me stick to my diet but I still get to indulge a little) so I do try to squeeze that in whenever I can. I couldn’t live without homemade cake so I have to fit it in around the colouring and generally get a bit of colouring done while my goodies are baking in the oven.

Doctor Who Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Doctor Who Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

What have you learnt on your colouring journey? About art? About materials? About anything really!
Oh my goodness, I’ve learnt so much! When I started I knew nothing about pencils, I had no idea that they could be wax-based or oil-based, I didn’t know you could blend them, I knew nothing about all of the different techniques involved in blending. I knew almost nothing about art or the materials involved so I am a true beginner and my blog is written from that perspective. I’ve learnt the differences between alcohol and water-based ink, how to use watercolour pencils, how to blend and shade and that’s not even mentioning the blog which has been a very steep learning curve for someone who knew nothing about how to create, let alone build a successful blog and publicise it and get it known. I’ve learnt so many new skills, from how to punctuate to make it sound like I’m actually speaking on my blog, to reviewing successfully, to asking publishers and stationers for things (I was terrible at this to begin with, far too British and not wanting to ask for things), and I’ve learnt a lot about myself too and the things I can achieve even whilst housebound.

Harry Potter Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Harry Potter Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

Who are your favourite colouring artists or type of page to colour and for what reason?
I have 5 favourite illustrators currently: Jessica Palmer, Claire Scully, Richard Merritt, Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford, and I can’t choose between their work, it’s all so beautiful! My favourite style, as fans of those illustrators’ work will know, is nature and nature-inspired work. I love realistic images of animals, plants and scenery but I also love imagery made up of other component parts like Millie’s animals created from flowers and leaves, and Jessica’s, Richard’s and Claire’s hyper-detailed creatures that give so much scope for different techniques and textures. Colouring natural images just calms me down, so much more than colouring anything else, and I find it’s the best substitute I have for not being able to experience the real thing in the outside world currently.

*You can read my interviews with Johanna Basford here and Millie Marotta here.

The Menagerie - Lucy Fyles
The Menagerie – Lucy Fyles

When do you colour, where, and what kind of ambience do you prefer?
I colour all the time, inbetween networking on social media and writing and publishing reviews. My preferences are to colour with daylight, especially when I’m using pencils because I find that easiest to get line-free blending. I hate silence but music really affects my mood so I tend not to be able to listen to it very often so I generally have the TV on and during the day I sit at a table right under my lounge window so it’s flooded with light. I live in a small flat so I don’t have a studio or anything, or even a desk so I either colour at my table under my window, or I colour on my knees sat on the sofa. I’m always surrounded by pens, pencils, colour charts and a heap of books and luckily my boyfriend doesn’t mind as long as he’s got a spot to sit in!

Legendary Landscapes - Lucy Fyles
Legendary Landscapes – Lucy Fyles

You are helping out with my new facebook group for Adult Colouring Book Reviews, along with a few other lovely reviewers – how important is the online community for you?
It’s so important to me. As someone who’s virtually housebound, I have an almost non-existent social life and couple that with being extremely extroverted, life at home gets very unhappy and lonely, especially because my boyfriend works 45 hours a week. Having groups I can spend time chatting in and a couple of reviewer friends that I can talk to when things get too much, or to bounce ideas off, makes such a difference. I was without internet for 2 days when we last changed supplier in October and my anxiety sky-rocketed. I’d thought I’d be fine but I felt so cut off and isolated and it was really scary. Being able to reach out to others around the world who are feeling like I am, who have similar interests, or who just make me laugh makes this whole condition much easier to bear because I’m not alone. I don’t know what I’d do without the internet currently.

Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition - Lucy Fyles
Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition – Lucy Fyles

What do you hope for in the future? Both in terms of your own health and also in terms of the adult colouring world?
I hope that adult colouring will continue to be popular and continue to reach the people it can benefit and help. I hope that talented artists will continue to create beautiful books for us to enjoy. In terms of my health, I hope it’ll improve, sooner rather than later. It’s almost 2 years that I’ve been virtually housebound for and I’m absolutely sick of it and having my life feel like it’s on pause so my hope is that I’ll start to recover soon and be able to go back to work and back to helping people with mental health problems. My sole aim in life is to help people and I can’t wait to be able to get back to that and start making a difference again! I hope in some small way my reviews are helping people, even if it’s just saving them money or helping them find a book they’ll fall in love with, that’s certainly my aim!

Colour Therapy Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Colour Therapy Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

Thank you so much for answering my questions with such candour Lucy! Read a review of Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion on Colouring in the Midst of Madness here.

You can buy my book on Amazon here: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion: Adult Coloring Book I have recently signed up as an Amazon affiliate, so if you would like to buy this book please do consider using my link, and help support Amelia’s Magazine. (I don’t run adverts, and server costs for this website alone are huge.)

Categories ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Adult Colouring Books, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition, ,Claire Scully, ,Coloring, ,Colour Therapy Colouring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring in the Midst of Madness, ,Doctor Who Colouring Book, ,Harry Potter Colouring Book, ,interview, ,Jessica Palmer, ,Johanna Basford, ,Legendary Landscapes, ,Lucy Fyles, ,Millie Marotta, ,review, ,Richard Merritt, ,Secret Garden 2016 Calendar, ,Secret Garden Artist’s Edition, ,Tangle Bay, ,Tangle Wood, ,The Menagerie

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