Do you ever find yourself coloring an illustration that you love and wondering about the artist who drew it? Personally, I’m a huge fan of getting the “inside scoop” on my favorite creative minds. So, I thought it would be fun to start interviewing a few creators of adult coloring books.
My first interview for this blog feature is Agy Wilson. Agy is working on her second all-ages coloring book. Her first book, Precious Pets: Kittens & Puppies & Old Places is available through Amazon and CreateSpace. Her followup coloring book, Angels & Fae: Fabulous & Fantastic Female Forms will hopefully be available by the end of this month.
When did you first start drawing?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. My dad was a paper engineer, specializing in designing papers and paper coatings. So, I was spoiled rotten with that. If people wanted to shut me up, they’d send me off drawing. It still keeps me occupied.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I look at many people’s works. Most of the influence has come more from painters and illustrators. I write and illustrate for children, but I was one of those weird brainiac kids, so most of my stuff is the stuff I would have loved or found interesting at the age I’m writing for. Kid’s illustrators I love include Pat Polacco, Ponder Goembel, Kadir Nelson, Floyd Cooper, John Steptoe, Lita Judge, and Will Terry, to name a few. I love well conceived and executed work.
In your opinion, why has adult coloring become such a popular hobby?
There are many reasons. A few years ago, I was telling people this was a thing, and no one would believe me. However, I would have people “secretly” share with me that they did this and wished they were able to draw.
I think we ALL have a creative drive that is easily thwarted. Coloring speaks to it in a way that isn’t threatening and comforting. Many people color with kids they love. It harkens back to easier times. When you become immersed in what you do. If you’re enjoying, it literally changes your brain. Your brain releases endorphins and you can often go into a zen/alpha wave state. It’s a healthy way to destress and honor the creative you, all for a very little bit of money.
What’s your personal favorite medium for coloring?
Right now, it’s all about the Photoshop. My eyes are challenged, so I can blow things up, and there’s so many neat things to play with. But I actually love working in coloring pencils — I’m a big Prisma and Derwent fan. I used to love to work in Sanford watercolor based markers and water. The truth is I’m not a colorer, per se, and never was good at it as a kid. I hated staying in the lines, and often found the lines wanting (I love a nuanced scribal line! Nothing like a great flourish!), but I do love coloring my own work.
Do you have any coloring tips to share?
It really does depend on your material. If you use a water-based color, you can sometimes pick up “mistakes” by re-wetting and then sopping up. and carefully “pick” out the color with an X-acto by removing the top fibers of paper. But the paper has to be a good one and you must be VERY careful. You can also add salt to watercolor based paintings for an interesting effect, and protect whites and some colors using rubber cement or maskit.
If you’re using coloring pencils, be careful NOT to drop them. If your lead keeps breaking off, it’s probably because it was dropped. You can use a colorless blender with Prisma colors (or a white or cream if you want a tint) though I would suggest that building up the color so the surface goes from light to dark and is saturated. You can also use a small bit of acetone (nail polish remover) on a Q-tip to blend. Again good paper.