A Chat with Mark Coyle

Mark Coyle is our October feature artist. Mark has drawn five exclusive images to help us ring in fall.

What made you decide to become a coloring book artist?

I’d seen some examples of coloring book art and thought that I’d give it a whirl.

How do you create your art? Do you create your drawings by computer or do you prefer old school pencil and paper?

I start off by doing pencil sketches, sometimes many sketches before I’m satisfied with the design and drawing. Then I translate the sketches into pen and ink drawings. If I’m working in greyscale I generally use colored pencils in black and various grays. I’m basically old school, although sometimes I adjust things a bit in Photoshop.

What is your inspiration for the different types of art that you create for your coloring books?

I get ideas from anywhere and everywhere: from art historical periods, fairy tales, mythology, fables, and current art and designs. My dog is also a huge inspiration and valuable critic.

Do you ever color your own work? And if so, what’s your favorite medium? Do you like pencils, markers or are you dipping into random reserves around the house for anything that can apply color in an interesting fashion?

I’ve colored my own work for book covers using colored pencils for the coloring books. I use various brands like Prismacolor, Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor, and Faber Castell Polychromos. Occasionally I’ll combine the colored pencil work with pastel pencils.  I’ve done illustration and fine art in acrylics and oils.  I don’t really have a favorite medium. I work instinctively and grab whatever seems to work best for the mood I’m attempting to convey.

How do you define success and how do you measure it?

Success is having some people appreciate what you do. With coloring books the colorists are integral to the whole process. The collaboration is often  surprising and    colorists often  come up with approaches that I might never have thought of.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite coloring book artist?

John Tenniel, from the Alice in Wonderland books. His captivating illustrations work  in black and white or for coloring as well.

What color or colors do you most love to work with?

Blue and orange are my favorite colors, though I enjoy them all. If I didn’t say that they would  all chase me from one end of the country to the other.  They might eventually back me off a lofty cliff into swirling ocean currents. It would be a colorful demise though. So, colors, I love you all.

Outside of creating coloring books, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you love?

My wife and I like hanging with our sons. I used to play in rock bands and still play the guitar a bit. I also like to combine nuclear physics and square dancing, although maybe that’s not necessarily true. But I’d like to.

What are your plans for the next year? Do you have any new coloring book releases planned?

I’m re-releasing Sweet Dream Animals, a pointillist coloring book which should be out now. I’ve also done a greyscale book, Animal Portraits, which will be out soon. I’m also thinking of redoing a book I did a couple of years  ago, Celestial Creatures, maybe in greyscale.

What are the titles of the last three books you have read or movies you’ve watched?

The books are: The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, and Renoir’s Dancer by Catherine Hewitt.

If you were deserted on an island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Family, my dog, and art supplies.

Leave a Reply