Hello October

Here we are in October. A month of tricks, treats, funny memes, and a bit of head scratching at the sight of all the Christmas decorations that are already on store shelves. Some of us have already begun listening to the call of all things pumpkin spice, while the majority of us just want to enjoy the month and get our spook on!

We have an spooktacular issue for you. Mark Coyle is our feature artist this month. Mark has drawn five exclusive images. We also have awesome images from Bernard Whitman, Chet Minton, Deborah L. McDonald, E. Daniel Reeves, Jason Smith, Matthew Breer, and Steve Turner.

Thanks again to our wonderful team Alex Whisman, Kim Bussey, Larry Pierce, Melissa Pierce, Tina Pankuch, and Travis Baribeau.

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.

Last Minute Treat Bags

By Stephanie Anders

Have you ever had special trick-or-treaters stopping by last minute and you have less than a day or a few hours to come up with something special to show you really care or that you’re crafty cool? It happens to me every year and even though it was last minute, and I was totally unprepared, I always wish I could have made their visit more thoughtful.  I also wish each year the day after that I had done something more and make plans to make things spectacular next year. Well, life happens, we all get busy and time flies so fast that special wishes and plans for that super holiday touch gets forgotten.

This year I’m prepared. I’m making my own treat bags utilizing my coloring images. This is a great way to add that personal touch that we all want to do at the holidays. It’s also great for those last-minute trick-or-treaters whose parents you would like to impress. (I want everyone to think I’m a jack of all crafts…lol) Also, treat bags are mostly geared for children. You could color from your spookiest coloring books and make awesome treat bags for those office Halloween parties or pot luck lunches.

Simply color your image and scan it to your computer. Using your printer’s photo settings set up your image in 5 x 7 size with two instances on the same page. Print, fold, and staple or glue along the bottom and side to create a bag. Add ribbon, sequins, or dribble red paint for a bloody effect.

Treat bags are also a big hit for Easter, Christmas, or even Valentine’s Day. So, pull those coloring images out of those albums or drawers and use them to create personal touches for all your holiday occasions this year!


Fun Halloween Decorations

By Stephanie Anders

I’m back this month continuing my mission to start utilizing coloring images in crafts that become part of my home decor or future holiday gifts. Paper-mache box sets really interest me. This set of coffin stacking boxes have caught my eyes several times. This year I decided to quit staring at them and get busy on them.

Amazon does carry some awesome craft products because a lot of the large craft retailers sell through Amazon. Be sure you check their official websites because sometimes there are price differences between their site and Amazon’s site. The coffin boxes were a few cents cheaper on Amazon.

Patterned, colorful, eye grabbing boxes were my intent, so I colored some pattern coloring pages from our own October 2015 and August 2016 issues. Drag out that collection of coloring books you have. You might already have something suitable in your collection.

Color your images and then scan them to your computer and print off a few copies for your boxes. For this project I did not line the insides of the boxes, I painted them in coordinating colors. Grab your Mod Podge and scissors and get to work. There are several videos and tutorials out there for Mod Podge to apply decorative paper to boxes. Get creative in your search using terms such as “decorating paper-mache boxes, decorating hat boxes, etc.”. It’s still a hit and miss struggle for me finding creative ways to cut paper to match the outsides of the box shapes, but I am learning and having a great time.

You can find a lot of unfinished Halloween craft items that you can use your colored images on. Witch hats, coffin trays, and even block words. All you need is a little paint, some Mod Podge,  and your colored images and you have holiday decorations with that personal touch that become family favorites.

The framed colored image in my Halloween setting is from our October 2016 issue. Drawn by artist Jenny Luan and colored by Deb Rucinski.

Meet Colorist Tina Pankuch

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?

I actually got involved with it just before it became a big craze. I would always color black and white pictures in game manuals, and one day a game developer that I really love released a few black and white pictures of concept art for people to color. I remember my inner child being so excited! Not only could I enjoy the artist’s work in designing the game, but I could give it life, myself! Shortly after I stumbled upon the displays set up in local bookstores, and I probably bought one of everything!

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?

I prefer pencils… specifically Inktense (which are a water color pencil), Prismacolor pencils and Black Widow pencils. The three brands play really nice together when blending color, and I’m able to really add depth to areas by mixing the three. I will use markers for smaller areas if I need to make something brighter, and I usually pick Ohuhu markers for that. I’ve tried gel pens….. they hate me.

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

If I had to be honest, I probably use purple, blue and green the most. I recently did a color palette challenge using only reds, browns, and tans. It was very hard for me!

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?

I enjoy both! I’ve always collected art books, whether it’s fantasy art, game art, etc. So collecting coloring books is just another extension of that, for me. Digital books are nice because you can guarantee the kind of paper you’re using, and are able to make multiple copies in case of mistakes, or if you want to do the picture a different way. I bought a tablet (quite a while back) and plan on trying my hand at digital coloring down the road. I really like using Georgia Pacific Premium Card Stock Paper to print on. I buy the 110lb 92 bright, and it really holds up when using wet medium like the Inktense pencils.

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

Chet Minton’s artwork just calls to me. I’m a big Dungeons & Dragons fan, and of course add the fact that I love all things fantasy and game related! I fell in love with his work the first time I saw it. The amount of detail he puts into each picture is just amazing, and each picture is a fun challenge to complete. Not to mention he is one heck of a nice guy. I’m really honored to call him a friend. Cristina McAllister is probably the first artist I found through Facebook groups, and I just love her Magical Beauties coloring books. Christine Aldridge has some gorgeous books out that are very relaxing to color, and Nicholas F. Chandrawienata’s books are collector’s books in their own right. Some new artists I’ve recently found are Bernard Whitman, Mark Coyle, and Mario Noriega. This is probably a bad question to ask me because I could go on and on!

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

Oh… that is a tough question. I don’t really plan on buying items. It just spontaneously happens at any given moment. I have a love hate relationship with Amazon and Etsy.

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 met so many wonderful people from all over the world that I’m honored to call good friends now! From other colorists to artists. I’m able to take something I love and share it with others who enjoy the same thing. Two years ago my coloring looked like a third grader picked up a pencil. With helpful advice from people in the coloring community, and just talking and watching how other colorists do things, I’ve found my own style to share with people just learning.

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

Take me to any ancient ruin, anywhere in the world, and I’ll be happy as long as I have my Prismas, Inktense, and Black Widows, and a suitcase of coloring books and pictures. Could probably save some room for bug spray.