I’m testing a few new ideas for bolder coloring books.
(Jan 2019 update: Since no one commented, I’m assuming this concept didn’t interest anyone. That’s okay… as my grandfather, the inventor used to say, “Lots more ideas where that came from!”)
“Bold” refers to the lines. I draw them heavier than most people do. My bold-style coloring books are ideal for coloring in low-light conditions, and they’re helpful for art therapists and anyone facing vision challenges.
(My “bold & easy” coloring books also have heavy lines, but the spaces are bigger than usual, too. They’re ideal for people with vision, dexterity, or eye-hand coordination issues, as well as those coloring in low-light conditions.)
I’ve already drawn about 20 coloring designs, and I’m working on more this week.
Here are some samples of the bold designs. Most have hippie themes, and will appeal to those who remember the 1960s, as well as those who love the designs of that era.
(I hand-colored the two illustrations, using a mix of Prismacolor, Pluqis, and Staedtler colored pencils.)
This is a test to see how you like these kinds of designs.I hope you’ll leave feedback in comments at this article. Tell me what you like, don’t like, and want more (or less) of.
Your comments will help me plan my coloring books with bold, hippie designs, as well as my bold-and-easy coloring books.
Click any image to download it as a PDF. (8 1/2″ x 11″ – ready to print!)
Here’s how I colored one of those pages. (It’s even prettier in real life. In natural sunlight, the colors really glow.)
This started as a way to leave happy looking notes for a neighbor. The subject was kind of serious, and I figured I’d lighten it up with hand-colored stationery.
To use these pages, I write my message in the white rectangle in the middle. Then, I hand-color the border design.
Yesterday, I realized I could print these for the little ones in my family, so they had an area to color, but also an area to draw in.
And then, I decided to make these available to everyone, free. So, you can click on any image below, and the PDF will open for you to download. (These are 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages.)
And then… I realized my neighbors might enjoy them, too. So, I got an easy-to-remember Bit.ly URL, Free2Color. After that, I created the sign, colored it (by hand, of course), and taped it to our front door.
This kind of goes along with another recent project for my neighbors: Every morning, I put a new message in my window. I’ve printed them large enough so passers-by can read them when they’re on their way to work, or walking their dogs.
Most of the messages come from late 1960s’ and early 70s’ songs… things from Woodstock and the hippie era, in general. Others reflect similar attitudes.
Here are a few of them, stacked on my floor.
If you like this idea, the font is Elsie Swash Caps Black font, and the size should be at least 120 pts to be read by people passing by your home.
Generally, I’m printing on two sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, horizontal, and then I tape them together to make the window sign.
For me, these ideas come from my “still a hippie” soul, with the idea that doing nice things for other people – and putting more happiness into the world – is the right thing to do.
And yes, I am planning to create more writing paper you can download, free, and more coloring book freebies, in general.
As a coloring book artist, I like to be sure I enjoy coloring the designs I create. If they’re not fun for me, they can’t be in my coloring books.
Quality is important. I want you to enjoy my books.
Recently, I’ve started scanning my coloring art as I go along. Now you can see the colors I use, and my coloring process. That’s what’s in this video, and there will be more, similar videos in the future.
I hope this shows you one coloring option for this design.
At the moment, I think many of us are coping with some extraordinary external stresses. I’m not sure it’s a simple generational shift. This feels bigger. It reminds me of the hippie years.
I’m in the U.S., so I’m watching an unfolding political scene.
But, we’re planning to move to England, so today’s British General Election is important, as well.
Yes, I find the news stressful. I also feel as if history is unfolding in front of us. I want to witness it, or at least remain aware of what’s going on.
Also, I like to make my own decisions, not rely wholly on others’ interpretations.
So, I’m on the sofa, watching the TV, more often than usual.
And, though I check facial expressions and body language during some news coverage, I can usually just listen to what’s being said.
So, I color. And, I like to color “happy” images.
For me, that’s hippie-style art, and — currently — hearts. In my head, I’m often recalling a song that was popular during my childhood, with lyrics that said, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love… that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
This week, I’ve been coloring pages from my Hearts! Volume 4 book. I printed them with my home printer, on regular printer paper. Then, I put a few sheets of paper beneath the page I’m coloring, and use a clipboard for support.
Here are the three pages I’ve colored, so far.
For me, this is a relaxing way to maintain my sense of calm and balance, while still being current on important world events.
Today, I’ll color at least one more page from this book.
And, when I’ve completed at least four pages, total, I’m planning to sign & frame them as a birthday present for a family member.
At the moment, my favorite YouTube video of the “What the World Needs Now” song features the composer, Burt Bacharach, with Tom Jones. (YouTube has removed that video now, but if it reappears, I’ll include it here.)
You see, I draw the kinds of designs I enjoy coloring, too. Here’s a page from Hearts! Volume 4. I colored it yesterday, while sitting on the sofa, catching up with a TV show I can listen to (and don’t have to watch, closely).
Pluqis are soft-ish pencils, but if I had to choose just one label (hard or soft), I’d probably categorize them as hard.
Despite that, Pluqis blend fairly well. In my coloring, they also play better with Prismacolor than the Staedtler pencils do.
Prismacolor is easily my favorite brand of really soft coloring pencils, because they’re so blendable. However, at a certain point (no pun intended) they suddenly stop blending, and I can add more colors because they just won’t “stick” as I color.
That’s when I go back to Pluqis. So, if I could use only one kind of pencil for an entire coloring page, I’d probably use Pluqis. It’s the brand I take with me when I travel.
Staedtler Ergo Soft is still a fairly hard pencil. And, it doesn’t always color over Prismacolor easily. However, I’m able to get really dark colors with Staedtler than other brands, and it’s not as shiny as Prismacolor. So, when I display my pages, the Staedtler dark colors (midnight blue, dark brown, etc.) appear darker in any light.
Hearts! Volume 4 is among my favorite coloring books, so far. (The cover is shown, at right.)
Drawing these designs, I realized I’d keep drawing (and creating these coloring books), even if they weren’t popular.
Christmas is ahead, and I’ve completed two coloring books of Christmas ornaments.
Each book includes:
Over 180 unique, round ornaments in different sizes and styles.
All designs are printed on one side of the page.
Every ornament is designed to color, cut out, and hang on your Christmas tree or wreath.
Also: Four pages of decorating and crafts ideas, to get the most from these ornaments.
Bonus: Two Christmas wreaths to color and decorate.
Plus: Additional pages of Christmas ornament coloring pages I’d created, mostly as experiments, as I designed my holiday books.
And sample pages from a few of my other coloring books.
Both books are suited to family activities. I tested them with children as young as three years old, and with adults. Everyone enjoyed them.
So, you can color your ornaments now, and display them at your home or office.
OR, you can plan this as a family activity, during holiday get-togethers. (They’re also ideal for classrooms and Scout meetings, “girls’ night out” activities, etc.)
The coloring designs in Volume 1 (black background cover) are more ornate and detailed, but still in my usual “hippie style.” If you liked 1960s art by Peter Max, and the designs in the Beatles’ film, “Yellow Submarine,” this is the book you’ll want. (Not sure? See the freebie sampler page, linked below.)