THIS MONTH’S FEATURE artist is the lovely Collette Fergus. Collette has drawn five exclusive pictures for this month’s in celebration of the month of love.
What made you decide to become a coloring book artist?
I’ve been an artist most of my life doing mixed media paintings, but when I got diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2015 I had to look at other forms of creativity that I was capable of doing, I started drawing dresses and someone suggested I make them into a coloring book.
How do you create your art? Do you create your drawings by computer or do you prefer old school pencil and paper?
I always start with old school pencil and paper, I love drawing and the feel of graphite on paper cannot ever be replicated with a computer, although I do ‘tidy’ my work up on the computer before publishing now, as I was told most people prefer the cleaner lines it produces. It is only a small part of the process, so I can still call myself a traditionalist in that sense. I like the 1950s in general and they didn’t have computers then so I try to stick to that concept!
What is your inspiration for the different types of art that you create for your coloring books?
My main inspiration is vintage, especially the fashions of that era. I wear 1950s dresses most days so it only seemed natural I’d draw them as they give so much scope for coloring in. Two of my books are dress related, one is vintage & Retro style things and one is vintage doilies in mandala form and a complete side step to a cartoon character called Chardonnay Minx.
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 do like to color my own work, but don’t get a lot of time to do so. I prefer watercolor pencils and often will use them without adding water. I work in watercolor quite often so use paint sometimes too. I also like gel pens, they’re so creamy, a nice change! And I’ve been known to use eyeshadow for smudging backgrounds, it’s a great medium to play with.
How do you define success and how do you measure it?
Success is that wonderful tingly feeling of excitement about what I do. It’s sticking with what matters through the hard times and living a life I can feel proud of. It’s not about money or fame, for me it’s about happiness and that’s how I measure it.
Besides yourself, who is your favorite coloring book artist?
Steve Turner is my fav other coloring book artist and not just because of his work but because he’s an incredibly funny guy. His sense of humor resonates with me!
What color or colors do you most love to work with?
I’d like to say I have a favorite color but I’d be lying. I like red, pink and teal most of all but every color except green and orange I enjoy.
Outside of creating coloring books, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you love?
I work part time as an artist painting, some call it a hobby but I’ve worked full time in it and prefer to be part time so I can enjoy it rather than paint to live. I also sew, having a passion for fashion means I can save a lot of money making my dresses and also makes my ones original as I always add my own touches. I often up-cycle clothing too.
What are your plans for the next year? Do you have any new coloring book releases planned?
I’m currently working on an exhibition for my artwork so my coloring books have taken a bit of a backseat, but I have recently started on two new books that I can get back to completing soon.
What are the titles of the last three books you have read or movies you’ve watched?
I enjoy Marion Keyes books as they’re light reading, I’m currently reading her book – Making it up as I go along, it’s funny and has nice short segments so fits in nicely with my life.
Before that I read “But is it Art?” by Cynthia Freeland
As for movies, I last saw an NZ movie “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” it’s very funny and I’ve been binge watching “Suits” so it’s a while since I saw any other movies!
If you could be any animal on a carousel, what would you be, and why?
Oh gosh, I guess a monkey which is my Chinese star sign, they’re cheeky and fun and I think they’re clever and able to react quickly! I think on a carousel they would also be a fun animal to ride on