Local artists create adult coloring books
Some ideas seem to spring up in several places independently when their time is right.
Over the last year, adult coloring books have blossomed in popularity. As grown ups rediscover the catharsis of color, several local artists have found themselves riding the crest of the wave.
A second generation West Slope native, Dickerson first heard the call of Carbondale when she stopped to use a payphone on her way to a party in the late ‘70s and got a good look at Sopris.
After 26 years as the proprietor of Sounds Easy, she decided to get her art degree from Naropa in 2009, then returned to the area to be inspired by the likes of Dan Sprick and Dean Bowlby.
Now settling into life as an artist and a role at the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, she released “Mountain Life COLORado” in November with a run of 1000 copies.
“I had the idea, and then I discovered that, while adult coloring books had been around for a while, they’re just now having some sort of crazy, explosive acceptance. That motivated me to follow through,” she said. “Art and creativity are a really precious gift that human beings have. There’s something that drives people to play, draw, write — whatever it is — but a lot of people don’t take the opportunity to paint and have fun with color.”
Sopris looms in the background of many of her designs.
“I wanted to do something that was thematic and recognizable. Scenes that are either iconic or endemic to life here,” she said. “We have some of the most photographed scenes in the world, and there are also some sights that are kind of common that I think we all love — hay bales, Aspen trees…”
“Essentially, all of the world that we witness visually is just shapes,” she added. “It’s really just doodling.”
Still, her illustrations aren’t quite like what many of used to entertain ourselves with in restaurants.
“What we grew up with are more basic, simple designs,” she said. “These are more sophisticated. It takes a different focus to really color in these myriad complicated shapes.”
To enhance the creative process, the pages are perforated for easy removal and reproduction.
“I encourage taking the pages out and making copies on different types of paper to play with different mediums,” Dickerson said.
At $15 a piece, they’re going quick.
“It’s really caught on,” she said. “Most places that have them for sale have reordered them several times.”
The book is at businesses throughout the Valley, including the Launchpad, Roaring Fork Coop, Dancing Colors, Book Train, Tredz, Factory Outdoor and Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
For years, Hubbard has unwittingly been creating coloring book illustrations as part of his creative process, which involves sketching an outline before enlarging it and coloring it in.
“I was completely unaware of this whole trend. I just do my thing,” he said. “I had all these drawings and about a month ago my wife said ‘You know, these adult coloring books are kind of all the rage. Why don’t you create one?’ I thought, why not.”
His new book “Relax in Color Coloring Pad” is available with local delivery through his website, kiphubbard.com, as well as at Dancing Colors and Basalt Printing.
Hubbard’s work ranges from bizarre and abstract to realistic.
Together, he hopes the pieces he chose will create something almost therapeutic.
“Adults tend to limit their imagination because they just don’t feel like they can do it,” he said. “For me, art creation is really a meditative process.”
A longtime New Castle resident and photographer, Cox was ahead of the curb with “WhimZingles” in 2011. The whimsical mandala like designs proved popular, and she came out with another this year.
“My second volume began with a design inspired by a raven, one of my favorite birds and symbols,” she explained. “Some designs are more abstract while others represent favorite images like mermaids or campfires.”
Both are printed locally on heavy card stock with a sturdy spiral binding which allows the books to lay flat.
They run $34 plus shipping and are available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, craft fairs, and through the WhimZingles Facebook page, where folks are encouraged to post their completed creations.
There are also local adult coloring parties, with the next scheduled for Thursday, January 21st at the Silt Branch Library, 6-8 p.m.
“I was surprised to have a few people tell me that after owning one of my coloring books for more than a year, they had yet to color even one page because they thought the designs were so beautiful and they didn’t want to mess them up,” Cox added. “I hated to hear this and encouraged them to take a purple crayon and just scribble all over one page to get over that. This coloring book is meant to bring out everyone’s creativity. There is no right or wrong way to color. Just color and enjoy!”
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