We all have reasons why we do things: yoga as a form of exercise, taking a class to learn how to cook better, coloring to relax. These activities bring us some form of satisfaction and fulfillment or why else would we do them, right?
We essentially do stuff (yoga, class, color), to get stuff (exercise, knowledge, relaxation). All of Us are involved in some version of that exchange in one way or another. Even coloring book Authors.
But what exactly do coloring book Authors get (besides royalties) by creating? Did you ever wonder what motivates an author to publish book after book? Why do some of us do what we do?
Well, stick around, my answers might surprise you.
Recently, I posed this question in the Coloring Book for Adults group on Facebook:
I literally posed the question (not expecting much) and went about my various important Author duties. Okay, so it was to cuddle Penelope Dog and to re-heat my dinner. Again. For the second time cause I forgot it. Don’t judge me. Then I went to sleep because petting Penelope and finally eating, was, a lot after a full day of drawing, web site fixing and marketing.
Fast forward to the next morning as I am checking my various stats and doing actual important Author stuff from my smartphone and I happen to remember my question. So I pop over to the group and check it out.
I wasn’t ready guys. I was not even a little bit prepared.
An awesome colorist, by the name of Netta-Ida M., multi-tasks while she colors everyone – don’t let her fool you! There’s not just relaxation happening for Netta-Ida as she chooses her pretty color combos; No, she is also wondering about the glamorous life (cue song by Sheila E.) of the coloring book Author.
Because that would be the only way to explain, her awesome questions.
Netta-Ida has questions and I’ve got answers. But just a note: because her questions were so plentiful, I’ll be breaking this first A Colorist Asked… segment into two parts. So be sure to check back in a few days for part dos (that’s two in my limited, fancy Spanish).
Well then, let’s get to it!
1. How does it feel to see your own work “finished” by someone else?
Way back at the beginning, when all I dreamed about were black and white, color-worthy images, I had NO clue what to expect. All I was sure of, was that I had to make peace with creating a work (my coloring books) and setting it free into the world with NO expectations. In the back of my mind though? I wondered: would people like my designs? Would I be any good at this? Should I even be attempting this? Are they gonna “get it”?
So creating a black and white image that someone else got to finish was an interesting concept, to say the least. Coloring (with crayon or color pencils) is a challenge for me (see my About page for more), and the idea of my pictures being “finished” really didn’t enter my mind. Much less the thought of ‘finishing” one of my own designs – which I hadn’t even considered or attempted. I just allowed myself to be content in trusting that my OuiCreators (Oui Color Colorists) would do a good job. Anything else to come of my work being “finished” by others would be icing on a new-to-me cake.
It wasn’t until I ran into this OuiCreation beauty, that a lightbulb went off. And I began a new type of relationship with my work.
For the first time since I began creating images to be colored, had I understood the potential of my work. When creating the images, I would think in terms of space for color, symmetry, interesting shapes/motifs, those sort of things. I never actually thought of what it would look like “finished”. And the coloring of this image, literally changed everything that I thought, that I knew, that I understood about what coloring for adults is all about.
I got such a sense of being in my element, when I first saw this finished piece. Like, this is what I should be doing in and with my life in this moment. It felt great to see that someone took my lonely image and filled it with life, elevating it to more than I could have even imagined.
So now, when I see one of my designs “finished” by someone else, it makes me feel validated in my design choices, it opens my mind to the colorists experience with my work and it makes me feel that even though I have my own personal limitations when it comes to coloring, the sky is the limit for my art and those who love it. It’s like everyone everyone is bringing a part their Selves into my designs. And that gives me the awesome feels.
2. Do you ever get a feeling that someone totally misunderstood your picture?
Seven books in?! Not yet. I suspect that as I get more books published, that it’s bound to happen. My designs are pretty forgiving, which leaves the colorist a whole lot of room to try different techniques and shading and patterns.
But if someone does misunderstand my picture, I will embrace their interpretation too. There is room for just about everything in my view.
3. Also been wondering, what is an artist’s motivation to make coloring pages instead of finished pieces?
This one is a juicy question! In my younger years, I was in the “art” world, where I drew and painted briefly and worked with clay. I also worked in a gallery for a few years and my siblings were all involved in art in one way or another. So I was always surrounded by art. And that was cool. I enjoyed myself, I learned a lot. I think it helped to shape my artistic ability.
Personally for me now, using digital means helps me to still create within my limitations, which is my ultimate goal. But I also get to share a part of my imagination with everyone and I involve everyone in the creation/tive process. So that is my personal motivation to share coloring pages versus making finished pieces. My artwork is available to a larger segment of those interested in art, versus a small slice of those who, say, frequent art galleries. My art is portable, it’s accessible and it belongs to You and me.
Besides that? There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into producing a coloring book, which doesn’t leave much time for creating “finished” pieces. Although, I did find a medium that works for me (TomBow Brush Pens) and I did finally color one of my own pieces. So I do try to make the occasional “finished” piece.
Funny story: I was so excited and proud that I posted my colored image to every coloring book group I was part of on Facebook. I was like a kid who aced their exam! It totally annoyed some folks but it was so gratifying to “finish” one of my own pieces. The joy in this accomplishment was worth any annoyance I caused.
… To Be Continued!
That concludes part One of this A Colorist Asked…. What is Your Motivation? segment. Stayed tuned for part two in a few days.
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Would you like to ask your own questions? Post it in the comments below!
See you in a few days for Part Dos!