Hello February

Well hello February! You are always welcome you gorgeous month of love. Bring us reds, pinks, chocolates, and sweet nothings. We’ll also take a latte and a warm blanket. We love you, but we’re ready for warmer weather too!

Lots of lovely images this month from artists Anisa Claire, Bernard Whitman, Chet Minton, Krystyna Nowak, Ligia Ortega, Lynette Hansen-McNamara, Lynnda Rakos, and Sabine van Ee.

Thank you to our wonderful team Kim Bussey, Larry Pierce, Melissa Pierce, Tina Pankuch, and Travis Baribeau.

For the Love of It

by Anisa A. Claire

OUR LIVES ARE often filled with stress. We wake up, rush out the door, work all day, tend to the kids, feed the animals, and go to sleep only to repeat the process all over again the following morning.  We live in a world that demands a lot of our time and attention to simply survive. When we do have spare time, it’s important we do things for the love of it. That’s what this article is all about, taking a moment to consider what we love and why we should invest time and energy into those activities.  And, of course, because this is a coloring magazine, we’re going to primarily focus on, you guessed it, coloring…

Art is all encompassing.  It’s everywhere we look. We use it to express ourselves by hanging it on the wall, we package our food with it, it’s on our bedding, clothing, in TV shows, advertisements and even on our socks. We’re a highly visual society. But why is that? A text poster would provide the same amount of information as a poster with pictures, yet we’re ten times more likely to take the time to look at the one with the visual ques, right? It looks more appealing, it’s warmer and more interesting. We are more drawn to it. Why? Because it appeals to our emotions, whether that is happy, sad, funny, angry… it speaks to us on a different level and we process it a lot quicker than reading.

Diversity is a huge part of it, too.  All of us are attracted to different things for different reasons. Different colours schemes, designs, emotion. Art helps us express ourselves individually. It tells our tale and, sometimes, art even helps us make sense of the world around us. It can get us through difficult times or assist in celebrating the good times.  In certain cases, it allows us to push the boundaries in a productive way. Art really is all of that and more. So, why would we hold back or not make time to enjoy something so incredible?

As mentioned in the opening, we often feel we don’t have time. There is always an underlying guilt for taking attention away from ‘important’ tasks to spend our precious time on ‘frivolous’ activities.  But that’s the funny part, isn’t it? Time is precious. Tomorrow is promised to nobody. Why would anyone want to focus all of their energy on things that won’t mean anything in the end, anyway? It’s not going to matter if the house was spotless or if an appointment was missed once you’re gone. What will matter, though, is if you (to the best of your ability) lived a fulfilling life.  If you were happy and you spent time doing the things that you loved to do, the very things that truly made you who you were. Even better? To have spent that time doing them with the people you cared about while they also were engaged in activities they loved.

People who don’t understand the beauty in simplicity will never understand why you’re ‘wasting’ time fiddling around with ‘kid’s activities’, such as coloring. Who cares what they think. They’re not you and chances are they’re lost in the rat race like the majority of people are. All you can do is hope they’ll also see the light one day and begin doing what they love to do. Move on. Ignore those negative comments, and trust me, like in almost anything in life… those comments will surface. People fear and minimalize what they don’t understand.  It’s as simple as that.

Moving onto the more positive side of things, art evokes emotion. It is creative imagination.  It often gives us the ability to send a message without uttering a single word. That’s powerful.  Art allows us to see the world through other people’s eyes. It, really, is a language all of its own.  And here’s the insane part… insanely awesome, of course… coloring allows us to be part of the process, even if we, ourselves, can’t draw or we don’t know how to sew or quilt or paint a picture from scratch. Coloring gives us the ability to express ourselves creatively simply by adding colors to a page, no real ‘skill’ required. We can translate those pictures into what we envisioned when we initially looked at them.  Pretty cool, right?

And what happens when you do things simply because you love to do them? A plethora of positives, such as living in the moment, appreciating the simplicity in your life, relaxation (unless you’re coloring with fineliners!) and creative release.

You don’t need to have any other reason to do something you enjoy. Do it just because it makes you happy. Open up and let it all in, no stress attached. Be in the moment and enjoy what you have while you have it because, as mentioned before, we never know what tomorrow will bring.  Express yourself and do it with an air of pride. Coloring also brings with a sense of accomplishment, even if it’s just small.  It allows us to start and finish a complete project if we want.  That can then be applied to bigger aspects of our existence. See? Something huge can grow from the tiniest moments if we simply allow give in and just allow ourselves to do it… for the love it.

Until next time, folks. Here’s to positive thinking, being in the moment and enjoying the finer things in life. Leave those dust bunnies in the corner for now, grab some markers, crayons or pencils and hit those coloring pages. Have fun!

Reviews from a Dude



By Larry Pierce

Greetings to all my fans (both of you) and welcome back to Reviews from a Dude. I know it’s been a while and you all have questions like, “Do these pants go with this shirt?”; “What are you reviewing this month?” and “Does my dog understand Klingon?” To answer those questions, no, a book and yes..yes he does.

For this month, I’ve decided to do a review of The Chronicles of Narnia Official Coloring Book. Unlike most of my reviews I don’t have a picture colored for this, and before you say anything, NO, it’s not because I’m lazy, some books I just own and do not color because I feel like they are more than coloring books, they are pieces of art to collect.  I’ve looked through this book hundreds of times and have marveled at the gorgeous art from the first page to the last.  This coloring book is a storybook collection based on all seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and can be used as a fun addition while you are reading the stories. The designs are based on the original artwork by Pauline Baynes from the books written and published in the 1950’s. In some cases, the artwork has been turned into what I call “wallpaper” style designs with repeated patterns.

Now the technical aspects for all you people who are actually going to be coloring in this book.  There are 96 pages of designs based on original artwork from  The Chronicles of Narnia printed on both sides of the page. The book is from a larger publishing company so you know the paper is good quality. Paper is heavyweight, white, slightly smooth (just like me) and non-perforated, and many of the designs merge into the binding area. Like most other coloring books, I’m just going to assume that alcohol-based markers bleed through paper, so if you want to use these types of coloring mediums expect that you won’t be able to color the picture on the reverse side.  I recommend scanning the picture you want to color and print it out if alcohol markers are you marker of choice.

Although I cannot speak for the coloring aspect of this book, I can tell you from a book collector and C.S. Lewis fan’s point of view that this is a great book to add to your collection.

Meet Colorist Deb Rucinski

By Stephanie Anders

The adult coloring craze skyrocketed a little over two years ago. Is this when you got involved in coloring or have you colored all your life?

Art has always been a part of my life since I was a young girl. My paternal grandmother taught me painting and other crafts. She was widowed early in life and had 3 children to raise, one whom was born with Cerebral Palsy, who was taken care of at home for over 50 years. Grandma had a doll hospital, did oil paintings and other crafts for many years to sell, to earn money to care for her family and pay her bills.  I enjoyed my early years sitting with her, making beautiful memories and creating art. When I became an adult, life got busy with jobs and parenting, and with little free time, my creating art just slipped away. The most I did was kid crafts with my daycare children.  Then in 2015, I had to close my business and quit full time work due to some health issues, which forced me to go on disability. There was only so much reading and crocheting I could do before I was going stir crazy.  I have always worked since I was quite young, so not working much anymore was and still is, hard to get used to.

It was then I happened upon the Facebook coloring groups and became hooked. I started coloring and then painting again. After about maybe a year, my skills came back to me, and  I wanted more. I formed my own Facebook coloring group, called “Adult Coloring Competition Group “ and more recently “Deb’s Coloring, Art and Review” page.  My page is where I share some of my own colorings and paintings, my coloring book reviews, and other things related to the art and coloring world.  I also became a part of several artist coloring teams to help promote their work. Being part of the adult coloring trend has been great. I really don’t see this dying anytime soon. People really enjoy it. It brings families together with a shared interest and even many husbands and boyfriends are taking part in it with their ladies.  Many people have started coloring as a method of relaxation and stress relief due to chronic pain issues. It really takes our mind off our pain for awhile, taking our imaginations to another place of peace and tranquility.

 Markers, pencils, and pens, there is an ocean of coloring mediums available to colorists today, what are your favorite mediums to use in your coloring work and why?

When I first started out, I used less expensive brands like Craz-Art, Crayola, and Marco Raffine colored pencils, as well as US Art Supply watercolor pencils. My go to at the beginning was my watercolor pencils, because they are so versatile in how they can be used. I prefer using them first as a pencil, and then going back over them with a water brush to blend the pigment into the paint and do my shading. I really liked what I could do with them. Sometimes I would use them without water for fine details.

I also wanted to try Prismacolor Premier Soft Core pencils. I heard so much about them. They were much easier on the hands and richly pigmented. I bought a couple small sets.  At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked them. You really have to learn how to use them. Once I learned how, they quickly became my favorites. They layer and blend so easily. There are different methods of blending, but I prefer blending with odorless mineral spirits (OMS) and a paper stump. It smooths the pigment,  filling in the tooth of the paper and getting rid of pencil strokes. It also allows me to use less pigment and less layers, saving on my pencils. Once blended, the color becomes more vibrant. I now have the 150 count full set,  thanks to my boyfriend, as a Christmas gift a couple years ago.  I am elated.

I also tend to approach my colorings like fine art. Lightening the lines that I can, so they fade into the colors, eliminating the bold appearance of  a “coloring page” look.  I often do several layers, which can take up to a week to do, depending on the detail. I have literally put in many hours, doing several layers of hundreds of individual hairs when coloring fur. This takes time. I use my Prismacolors most and often combine them with watercolor or acrylic paints. Gel pens and markers I use sparingly. I have better control with the pencils and paints. I even use soft pastels and eye shadow occasionally.  They work great for skin tone and backgrounds, for a nice, smooth, soft appearance. There are so many options of different products to use for coloring, aside from the typical medium colorists generally think of.

 What are some of your all-time favorite colors that you tend to use the most in your coloring work?

Although there are a few in my set that I haven’t used, corals, yellows, sage greens, Indigo, purples, Chocolate, black and Tuscan Red get the most use, mainly the Indigo. That beautiful blue works wonderful for so many things, especially an evening sky. It is really a good thing I have a second one in my smaller set, as it is getting quite small. I also use the flesh tone colors often, because I love coloring portrait style illustrations.

 Modern technology is allowing colorist of today more choices. We can either download digital coloring pages and digital books and begin coloring immediately or we can wait for USPS to bring us our next great coloring adventure in a physical book. Which do you like best, physical book or digital? 

 Sometimes digital is necessary when shipping costs are too great from other countries. However, I prefer the physical books, even with my reading books.  I just love the smell and feel of them in my hands. I also prefer them because I have had my share of computer issues and the last thing I want to do is purchase all these digital books and then risk losing them if my computer crashes. I also do not like having to use flash drives to save them on, as I could see myself easily misplacing them.

Even though I love the physical books, you won’t find me coloring in many of them. I have close to 100 coloring books, maybe more. Since the majority of them are self-published, the paper is generally a medium weight. It does not work well enough with some of  the different coloring medium I use. I always copy to a heavier 110# weight card stock, so that the paper can hold up to the repeated layers and wet mediums that I use.

 Who are some of the most memorable artists you have met whose coloring designs you have been drawn to the most.

There are so many fabulous artists, it is truly hard to just choose one or two. I am constantly finding new artists that I love.  The list is incredibly long. However, since I prefer coloring realistic floral,  portrait style, animals and fantasy, I would have to say these are some of my favorite: Christine Karron, Teri Sherman, Jason Hamilton, Mariola Budek, Jane Maday, Inge Dagmar Manders and Jenny Luan.  Christine and Mariola are my new favorites for portrait style. So I am anxious to get some of their books.

 What is the next coloring book or coloring medium you plan to purchase in the near future?

I really want to get some Faber-Castell Polychromos, and Caran d’ache Luminance pencils. I see the work that some of my favorite colorists can produce with them and want to see what I can achieve. I also would like a higher quality watercolor pencil that has more color varieties, so I would also like the Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolors.

The coloring communities on Facebook have allowed colorist from all over the world to come together and share their coloring work, techniques, and general information on coloring mediums, and best of all make new friends. How have the coloring communities impacted your life? What effect have they had on your own personal coloring work?

I have learned so much from them as far as advancing my skills, but more importantly have developed wonderful friendships. We have all bonded over the love of the art. I have met so many great people. They are so kind and helpful to one another. We talk often and share with each other our ups and downs in life, not just coloring related topics. They are like a second family. The only difference is we can’t really visit each other from across the states and the world.

 If you could visit any setting in the world to color, where would you go and what coloring supplies would you take with you?

I would love to just be able to get together with all these amazing colorists and artists I have become friends with. Just to finally meet in person, sit down and produce amazing work together would be memorable and heartwarming. It would mean so much to me.  It would be so relaxing to meet in a location overlooking some beautiful scenery in a warmer climate. For coloring supplies, I would at least need to take my Prismacolors, OMS and some white acrylic paint.


Love Event Contest Winner

Coloring On! Magazine is happy to announce the winner of  the Beyond Crayons Coloring Group’s Pre-Valentine’s Love Event!  Artist Krystyna Nowak drew the image for this fantastic contest which you can find in this issue!

Deborah McLaughlin is the event winner and will receive a six month subscription to Color On!. All colorists who participated in the event will receive a copy of our February issue. Congratulations everyone!

February Feature Colorists

By Stephanie Anders

Our feature colorists for January are Deirdre Gamill-Hock‎, Christine M. Miller-Ramey, and Tina Pankuch.

Image drawn by artists Anisa Claire and Bernard Whitman. Colored by Deirdre Gamill-Hock.

Image drawn by artist Sabine van Ee. Colored by Tina Pankuch.

Image drawn by artist Chet Minton. Colored by Christine M. Miller-Ramey.