Artist Interview: Erika Oliver

ThreeGoodThingsColoringBookErika Oliver was one of the first adopters of the coloring for adults trend. Back in 2007, she created her first self-published coloring book for adults to combine her love of coloring with her affirmation work as a corporate trainer. “I noticed that whenever I used crayons in my communication, leadership, and planning workshops, people enjoyed the process more. I believe it helped their learning and retention,” she said.

Erika designed her coloring book, Three Good Things, to be a simple reflection on the power of nature and creativity to affect your mood. This means it’s perfect for days when you want a quick and easy project that you can finish in just one coloring session. Her book is available on her website in hard copy form or as a downloadable PDF file.

Want to learn more about Erika? Her answers to my interview questions are as follows:

When did you first start drawing?

My cousin says that she remembers me drawing when I was very little. I remember being interested in drawing and in middle school I was picked as part of the team to do a holiday mural on the front windows of the school. I guess I draw whenever I can!

How would you describe your artistic style?

Intuitive. That’s a grown up way of saying that sometimes I draw realistically and other times I am just drawing what I feel.

Do you have any mentors who have influenced your work?

Helen who owns The Art House in Vicksburg, MI was my first formal art teacher in my mid 40s. Helen taught me that art is a science and she changed how I look at and do art. SARK and her illustrated books have been a huge influence too.

In your opinion, why has adult coloring become such a popular hobby?

I think people have been coloring all along and some grown-ups finally admitted it and then the research came out that showed the health benefits. Together that made it “cool” to color.

What’s your personal favorite medium for coloring?

Markers – Sharpie. Crayons – Crayola. Colored Pencils – Prisma. Paint – whatever is left over from the house! I like mixed media – drawing something with colored pencils and then using Sharpies to accent, for example.

Do you have any coloring tips to share?

I’m still learning but one thing I have been doing lately (for budget and fun purposes) is looking for something to use that I already have before I go to the store and get something new. Challenge myself to be creative with my tools before I am creative with my art.