Hello September

Yes! It’s September! For some of us school has started and we’ve just finished jumping on every bed in the house with glee. We’re ready for that controlled schedule of coloring and sipping coffee, carefree most of the day and getting that housework done in spurts during coloring breaks, or better yet that last thirty minutes before the bus arrives. Phew, it was time! Yay! School!

We have an awesome issue to start your school days off right. Christine Aldridge is our feature artist for September. Christine has drawn for us five exclusive images that will sooth the soul. We also have some wonderful images from Alexander Topolewski, Antonina Kalinina, Neringa Barmute, and Tina Hesskew. Also, meet Susan Curry in our new monthly colorist interviews.

Much love goes out to our Color On! team, Alex Whisman, Kim Bussey, Larry Pierce, Melissa Pierce, Tina Pankuch, and Travis Baribeau. Thank you for all you do!

A Chat with Christine Aldridge

Christine Aldridge is the feature artist for September. Christine has drawn five exclusive images that we know you will find as beautiful as we do.

What made you decide to become a coloring book artist?

The short answer is that I discovered I could draw. But, the longer and truer answer is that it was a complete accident. I lost a sister, a job, and then the other sister in a very short period of time. In desperation to find something to keep my mind from going off the rails I hunted up my favorite old toy, a deluxe Spirograph set, and went online to see if there was a pattern guide. Instead, I discovered a “How to Draw a Mandala” video with these instructions: “Start with a seed, draw with intention.” That’s it.

Up to that point, the most complicated thing I’d ever drawn was the pipe assembly under my kitchen sink so the guy at Home Depot would know what the “thingy” was that I needed for a repair. I posted some of my first drawings to my Facebook Page (they were pitiful), but I kept at it and the drawings got better. Friends started suggesting they would be great colored so I opened an Etsy shop, and that’s how it happened!

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

I am old school pencil and paper all the way. I draw with cheapo mechanical pencils (the kind that come 20 in a package) and then ink with Sakura Pigma Microns.  For the most part I draw free-hand, but I do have a ton of precision tools: Rulers, protractors, French curves, ovals, angles, squares, coins, etc., that I use to lay out basic shapes. I’m lucky to have been blessed with steady nerves and hands but because my drawings are “neat and precise” (that’s the “draw with intention” aspect), I’m often asked if  I use a computer program. I have tried drawing that way, but it sends my creative muse into hiding and eliminates the chances for the magical accidents that so often happen in my art.

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

Inspiration! Well, if I were only allowed one word it would have to be “symmetry,” but expanded out it would be proportion, harmony, balance and grace.  All the aspects of symmetry that are found in nature.  It’s expressed in mathematics as a Fibonacci series. A study of “classically beautiful people” indicates that their physicality is perfectly symmetrical. This happens in nature as well.. think of the way a flower looks when the bloom is fully open, the way a bird’s feathers cascade toward the wingtip, a butterfly’s wing.  You also see it in good architecture . I love to visit places with ornate moldings or carved woodwork. I can get lost for hours in the moldings section of a home improvement store, or walking along in an old neighborhood looking at the woodwork. My favorite art “periods” are both Art Deco and Art Nouveau, both of which I have bent into the shape of my work. Recently I’ve begun to try fanciful animals, but I keep getting drawn back to symmetry; my comfort zone.

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?

Initially coloring my own, or anyone else’s work made me a bit anxious because it took time away from drawing. I did it only when necessary ( like a colored-in version of the first drawing I released in my Etsy shop ), etc. At that time I owned a set of 24 Kodak colored pencils and a set of RoseArt Watercolor markers from a discount store.  Since then I’ve added substantially to my coloring supplies: Marco Raffines, Prismacolor Premiers,  a really lovely set of Polychromo’s-like pencils licensed by Deli (my current favorite pencils), and another nicer set of watercolor markers.

Recently my art was featured for a month of color-along’s on a YouTube channel, which pretty much necessitated that I color. I found that I love the subtlety possible with pencils, but when it comes to coloring for pleasure I love the deep rich colors of markers, and I really love the effect you get when you layer pencils over markers.

I watched some demonstration videos on YouTube of  Derwent Inktense (water-activated Ink Pencils) and Caran d’Ache Neocolor II’s (water-soluble wax crayons), and bought the smallest set of each to try. I’m still experimenting with them, but I have to say that they are definitely in the running for my absolute favorite medium. There is something very pleasurable for me about applying color with a brush. I’ve also discovered Extreme Glitter FolkArt acrylic paints to add just the right amount of sparkle.  I’ve given paper an aged look by dabbing it with strong tea and coffee, used old rub-on stencil paint from the back of my craft closet and mixed Pearlescent pigment with water-based glue to apply with small wet brush.  So far, I’ve avoided the lure of alcohol markers, but I’m sure I’ll go down that rabbit-hole one day soon as well!

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

 The very first time a stranger handed me money for the right to download and print something that I had drawn I declared that piece a success, and I still measure success one drawing, one sale, and one new fan at a time. The first time I held a commercially published physical book that I had created purely from imagination, in my hands (and yes, I did pet it a time or two, LOL!), and then watched as people across the globe reviewed it and other people I would never know paid money for it, I felt like that book was a success. Fans of an artist are amazing people, and they will tell you if you are on the wrong or right track with your art without ever having to say a single word.

On the less mercenary and fluffier side of that coin are the testimonials of folks who send me notes about the joy they’ve gotten out of coloring something I’ve drawn. The idea that I’ve contributed in any way to lightening or brightening someone’s life through my art makes my heart sing, and I do consider that a great success. Thanks to the magic of social media, artists and fans get to enjoy much more direct interactions through sharing of processes and beautiful finished colorings and it’s wonderful.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite coloring book artist?

Having just one favorite would be impossible for me, but some of the artists whose work I really admire right now are Jane F. Hankins, for her purely original whimsy in The Imaginary World of Jane F. Hankins series; Cristina McAllister, for her gorgeous use of symmetry in the Magical Beauties and Lost Lumina series; and Tatiana Bogema, for her Nice Little Town and Little Dragon series. This is just the tip of a very large iceberg!

I’ve also collected works by Bennett Klein, Tomislav Tomic, Hanna Karlzon, Maria Trolle, Leila Duly, David Petersen’s “Mouse Guard” and Sue Curry, to name just a few.

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

I am a huge fan of jewel tones: Deep rich golden browns, ruby reds, sapphire blues, emerald greens, amethyst purples, etc., but I also love a tangerine orange, teal blue, fuschia pink and charcoal gray, all of which you will find in my personal colorings.

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

I was fortunately blessed with “crafty” parents so I knit, crochet, sew and do various needle work.

Under the influence of my father and the fact that he only had girls, I learned how to do “home improvement” projects and repairs and I do love those, and I play a little golf.

My true and best pleasure though comes at the end of the day when I can sit down with a good book and enter whatever world the author has dreamed up for a few hours of absolute bliss!

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

My next coloring book, the 8th in the series, is scheduled for release in late October/early November of this year (I’m still drawing it), and is on track for the Christmas Season.

I’ll also be resuming work on my textiles line (wallpapers, fabrics and home decor), and am hoping to bring a new line of Prints and Original Art (non-coloring book related) forward this year.

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

Dance with Dragons“, (Book 5 of Game Of Thrones), by George R.R. Martin; “The Chemist“, by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight series & The Host); And “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto,” by Mitch Albom (Tuesday’s with Morrie), whose tag line hooked me: “I am Music. And I have come for the soul of Frankie Presto…” it’s an amazing read!

If you could be any animal on a carousel, what would you be, and why?

I think it would have to be some sort of leaping cat.. a tiger or a black panther or a leopard… color, color and color! They are all so beautiful.. sleek, graceful, elegant.

Crafty Boxes using Coloring Images

By Stephanie Anders

We are all looking for creative ways to use our colored images. Some of us put them in a drawer or an album in the hopes that we find a use for that image we spent a lot of time coloring. Normally I buy all my children a kitchen appliance every year for Christmas. This year I am making all my gifts. and I’m starting now so that I can finish  in time.  Am I saving money? At first glance it appears as if I am spending about the same amount on supplies. However, these supplies, such as the paint, will go a long way towards other craft gifts.  My first project was this set of nesting boxes incorporating pages I colored as the liners. You could take this idea and make it your own or you could create a set just like these for yourself.

Here are some supplies you will need:  Keep reading →

Meet Colorist Susan Curry

We are excited to introduce you to Susan Curry. Susan is an active member of Coloring Books for Adults as well as many other coloring groups on Facebook.

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 am 73 years old, and I have been drawing and coloring since I could hold a crayon. However, I got interested in adult coloring books about 3 years ago, when I visited a coloring group online and discovered that I wasn’t the only old lady who was just a grown up kid who still loved coloring books.  I soon owned about 30 new, adult coloring books.

 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 am a Marker Queen. I own every color of BIC, Sharpies and Tombow Paint markers available and even have hundreds of back up markers in plastic storage drawers around my desk. I also used Art-n-Fly markers…but only for flesh colors.

Why…markers and not pencils or gel pens? I had a crush injury to my right hand in 1995. After surgery to reconstruct my hand I lost the use of my hand for about 5 years to a form of dystrophy. Doctors managed to save the use of my arm; and eventually, I was able to use my hand again. However, writing/coloring with a pencil or even a typical ball point pen causes me pain in my hand after only a short time. Yet, I can color for hours (often 10 or more per day) without pain, when I use markers.

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

I love so many colors; but I tend to use warm yellows, peach to orange tones…and a wide range of greens, perhaps because so many of the pictures that I color are florals. I also love aqua blues and rich violets. I can’t choose just one or two colors. I love them all.

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 used to only buy books; but then, I would ‘disembowel’ them, cutting the pages out of the books so that I could print them onto cardstock. That way the marker ink wouldn’t bleed through or bleed out on the thinner paper of most coloring books. I could also scan the pages and reprint them, if I mess up on my first try.

After winning a PDF copy of a book in a group challenge, I discovered the ‘ease’ of printing from the PDF file without the trouble of cutting up a book and scanning pages. Though I love books, I felt bad about cutting apart some of the beautiful, hard bound volumes. PDF is a guiltfree, more economical way to get new coloring books.

I buy reams of #110 cardstock at the local Walmart, because I color so much.  My desk drawers are full of uncolored pages in drop files for each of the artist’s work that I love.

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

First…my favorite artist is Christine Aldridge. I love her floral designs, and I love that sweet lady. She is the person who got me into drawing again and helped me to get my own 4 coloring books published. Other artists that I love and whose work I color the most (in that order) are: Deborah Muller, Jenny Luan, Jason Hamilton, Rob Roskam, Maria Castro, Anisa Claire, Shelah Dow, Sue Chastain…and most recently, Hanna Karlzon.

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

Any book by Christine Aldridge and perhaps…a PDF copy of ‘The Imaginary World of Jane F. Hankins’, if she ever offers PDF versions of her beautiful but expensive books.

 As for mediums, I will buy any new colors of BIC, Sharpie or Tombow Paint markers in a heartbeat. I love the new Cosmic Colors Limited Edition set by Sharpie. I want about 12 to 20 backups of their new greens called Venus Green and Martian Green. They are perfect foliage shades.

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 discovered the work of artists from around the world, when I bought the Adult Coloring Book Treasury books in 2016. That’s where I discovered some of my favorite artists, including the work of people from Europe, Africa, Mexico, Canada, Australia and more. As I colored and shared their finished drawings online, I got encouragement from them and found the courage to draw and create my own books.

 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 take a cruise to anywhere. I love being near the ocean. The salt air, the sounds of water, the cool breezes and the beauty of the sun on the waves gives me a peace like no other place on earth. I would have to pack all of my markers and a suitcase full of printed, cardstock pages. On a ship, I could sit on the deck…or better yet the balcony of my stateroom…and color all day long. At night, I would sleep peaceful, until the sun came up over the distance horizon in the morning, knowing that somebody else would be cooking my meals, making the bed, cleaning up the room and treating me like a queen, while I was onboard a palace of the ocean.

Yes, that would be a wonderful way to escape; but I wouldn’t want to get off the ship at the end of the cruise.

September Feature Colorist

Each month we like to feature a few colored images by our coloring team members. For the month of September, we fell in love with these beautifully colored images by Debbie Mulkey, Deirdre Gamill-Hock, and Kim Heron.  Thank you ladies for all your support and hard work.


Colored by Debbie Mulkey. Image drawn by feature artist Christine Aldridge.

Colored by Deirdre Gamill-Hock. Image drawn by contributing artist Neringa Barmute. 

Colored by Kim Heron. Image drawn by contributing artist Alexander Topolewski.

Image by contributing artist