by Aisling D’Art
When I’m designing coloring book art, I’m inspired by the world around me. At the moment, we’re in Orlando, Florida, so I have the luxury of visiting Walt Disney World regularly.
Epcot’s World Showcase is among my favorite sources of inspiration for my coloring book pages.
The Moroccan pavilion has always been one of my favorite parts of Epcot. When I need fresh ideas for art — or some delicious food and a backdrop of energizing music — I head to Morocco… the one at Disney World, that is.
The Moroccan pavilion’s architectural details are remarkable. Because many Moroccan artists do not decorate with images of people, their geometric designs are among the most sophisticated in the world.
At right, you’ll see a photo I took at Epcot, a few evenings ago. It’s typical of the mandala-style decorations in every nook and cranny at the Moroccan pavilion.
I’m impressed by this mix of simple geometric shapes, curved line art, and the use of negative space.
Inside the buildings, you’ll find even more inspiration for coloring book art. For example, one room contains information about henna, its use, and examples of some henna-related art. The hands at left (standard window display ceramics) have been painted with typical henna designs.
Many of the symbols and patterns have specific meanings. Some are for celebrations. Others ward off evil. Still others are whimsical and based on the shape of the hand, or an expression of the henna artist’s talents.
Henna art has inspired one of my upcoming series of coloring books. This kind of line art existed long before “tangles” gained popularity.
In the henna art photo, be sure to notice the tile wall behind the hands. It’s the kind of mosaic that inspires many of my mandala designs. The designs include lots of white, and a simple mix of colors. Those shades could be straight out of a basic crayon box. Good mandala art relies on both design and color, and neither need to be very fancy.
Since I first saw it, the art and architecture at Walt Disney World’s Moroccan pavilion has always influenced my work. Epcot is an extraordinary place to visit, for far more than its popular theme park rides.
In future articles, I’ll share more photos of art, architecture, and other elements that inspire my coloring book designs. If you have any questions or comments, I’ll hope you’ll share them with me, below.