Our feature artist for July is Ruby White. Ruby has drawn five exclusive images for us.
What made you decide to become a coloring book artist?
Becoming a coloring book artist came as a sudden inspiration. I have been a professional tattoo artist for almost 15 years now, and my walls are covered in stenciled drawing (outline on tracing paper). I can work very fast when it comes to designing nature images. On top of it i did some art therapy courses in university, so at some point it just all clicked together and took on to starting to create coloring pages as a side line.
How do you create your art? Do you create your drawings by computer or do you prefer old school pencil and paper?
I’m all for traditional art. Sometimes I’ll start with a basic collage on the computer using stock photography to have an idea of the layout. Next, I print it out and draw on top of it, then produce a final stencil by hand, just like I do for tattoo art. Often, I’ll re-scan the final product to adjust it and clean it up a bit.
What is your inspiration for the different types of art that you create for your coloring books?
I’ve always been versatile in different styles, but I especially like realistic themes in nature like flowers, insects and gemstones. I love everything very colourful or with an interesting shape and light. Since I studied art therapy, I am also fascinated with mandalas and the psychology of colors.
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?
When I like a page enough I will sometimes bring it to a finished artwork. It happens maybe 1 in 4 pages, and I vary from my other work by using colored pencils for my art (and it was so even before I ever did coloring pages). Sometimes I’ll go wild and use watercolor pencils or transfer my image to a different surface like wood.
How do you define success and how do you measure it?
This is a deep question. For me success has always been an internal measure of satisfaction. And since for the longest time my satisfaction comes with a sense of performance and perfection in results, I was never really happy nor feeling very successful despite the praises I was receiving toward my art. Lately I am focusing more on the pleasure that comes with creating and playing without expectations. It’s that childlike mindset that coloring evoke for me. I am finding a level of satisfaction and happiness (therefore success) I was never experiencing before.
Besides yourself, who is your favorite coloring book artist?
I have to say in all honesty I don’t know of any other coloring book artists. I came to the craft with fresh eyes and my own experience in tattooing, graphic design, publishing, art therapy and overall traditional arts. I haven’t picked up a coloring book myself since I was a child, and I am learning to rediscover this pleasure on simple pages with my 3 year old son. I am mostly inspired by botanical art that I twist into mandalas or different compositions.
What color or colors do you most love to work with?
I am definitely a rainbow kind of person. I like bright and bold, soft gradients and dramatic contrasts. When I do monochrome, I’ll usually opt for black and reds.
Outside of creating coloring books, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you love?
Apart from my tattoo work, I spend free time in nature, doing yoga or meditation. I also like to crochet occasionally, usually smaller items like hats and gloves for my loved ones.
What are your plans for the next year? Do you have any new coloring book releases planned?
I plan on coloring! I would love to tattoo less and invest time in doing tons of new pages. I have the resources to publish a book if I want to, but I feel the fist step is to immerse myself in that universe, really feel it and do a whole bunch of coloring of my own. I wish to connect with other coloring enthusiasts and feel what this community is all about.
What are the titles of the last three books you have read or movies you’ve watched?
I really liked reading “the subtle art if not giving a F—” by Mark Manson. It was a real life changing read and helped me let go of a lot of stressful expectations in life and gave me the permission to start playing again. Otherwise I had a beautiful time watching the all Canadian tale of Anne with an E on Netflix and reconnecting with my inner feminine archetype with the Red Tent.
If you could be any super hero, who one would you be? Why?
I think it would have to be Wonder Woman, because she is tall, strong, bold and a feminist icon. She is a powerful, strong-willed character who does not back down from a fight or a challenge. She’s also considered just as strong and sometime the alter ego of Superman, who is my favorite male superhero.