When Fangirls Color

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Thanks to the coloring craze, I’ve been able to reach a whole new level of literary geekdom. Over the last couple of months, some of my favorite YA novels have been transformed into some pretty amazing coloring books. Since I’m a total sucker for this stuff – I’ve been an avid colorer and YA reader for years – there was no question that I’d jump at the chance to color images from the The Mortal Instrument Series and The Lunar Chronicles.

When I heard The Mortal Instruments was getting a coloring book, I literally squealed. This is one of my all time favorite YA series, (I may have mentioned it few times)! The book itself is quite beautiful – the illustrations are done by Cassandra Jean, a longtime collaborator with the author, Cassandra Clare, so she has strong insight to the characters that mean so much to me.

The images are beautifully drawn and are paired with select quotations from every book in The Mortal Instrument series. Everything from major plot-twist to fan favorite scenes are included, creating a well-balanced collection of images.

I started by coloring the couples I shipped throughout the series, (both books and TV show). Of course, Magnus and Alec (Malec) are at the top of my ship list, so I decided to color the scene that depicts when they first met.

Next on my ship list are Clary and Jace (Clace). This scene happens in the second book of the series after much DRAMA between these two. It was a moment that drove shippers such as myself into a fit of hysteria. The good kind of hysteria, I assure you.

These images are now loaded into my phone to personalize my home screen and locked screen. 🙂

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a relatively new favorite series for me, but its easily one of the best I’ve read since The Mortal Instruments. I just got the coloring book and I can’t wait to dive in and color the characters and story that captured my imagination in the books.

The illustrations are done by Kathryn Gee and they are stunning! However, what I love most about this particular coloring book is that the illustrator was a fan that caught the attention of the author. An actual fangirl got the chance of a lifetime to represent not only fandom, but the characters we all love so much. Seriously, how cool is that?

The word fangirl (and fanboy for that matter) often receives negative connotation, but I think this coloring book truly defies the label that fandom is just a bunch of crazy, obsessive people. I prefer to think of fandom as passionate individuals that pour a lot of effort and love into something beyond themselves. That effort and love can lead to some pretty amazing, creative, and innovative accomplishments. Kathryn Gee is a glowing example of that fact.

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c.b.w. 2017

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Coloring Is Finally Cool!

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Years ago my Grandma taught me coloring is fun, relaxing, and even therapeutic. The recent explosion in the popularity of coloring books tells me the rest of the world has figured out that she was right.

When I was a kid, I had the usual simple coloring books – Barbie, Garfield, and Rocky & Bullwinkle. I actually still have them and do occasionally indulge in a little childhood nostalgia by coloring one of the few remaining blank pages.

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My old childhood coloring books. Bullwinkle and Rocky was my favorite.

However, as I got older the need for a challenge and creative inspiration lead to the discovery of Dover coloring books for adults. Intricate images of botanicals, animals, geometric design (everything from Turkish tiles to stained glass windows), mandalas, and even Medieval Tapestries kept my colored pencils endlessly busy.

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Some of my favorite coloring books. I will happily spend hours and hours on a single page.

Not only was coloring a great stress reliever throughout college and beyond, it was something I did with my Grandma and sister. We shared coloring books, colored pencils, and the best conversations. As we sat and colored in teeny tiny spaces, we talked about everything, laughed, and had an all out wonderful time together.

We also created a few masterpieces along the way …

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Both of these came from the Decorative Tile Designs coloring book. Grandma’s is on the left and mine is on the right. 

When Grandma started having small strokes, we immediately saw a difference in her motor skills and speech. Yet, we still pulled out the coloring books. It turned out coloring was an amazing source of physical therapy. Holding colored pencils and having some control over where the color went made it possible for Grandma to retain a bit more dexterity. Not to mention the mental exercise of maintaing focus.

Coloring helped hold her together a little bit longer, even after dementia began to set in. Towards the end colors started going a bit outside the lines, but she was still with us – sharing laughter and stories.

One of the more meaningful things I inherited from my Grandma was her stack of coloring books. I keep them safe along with my own. Every once in a while, I’ll pull one out and color a page or two. It brings back beautiful memories and makes all my stress melt away at the same time.

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Grandma’s Coloring Books. In particular we all loved working the Floral Alphabet book.

At my local bookstore, what started as a small display of coloring books has grown into three entire shelves. People are flocking to it and actually buying coloring books filled with fancy shmancy designs. It makes me smile and I hope they find the same joy I do every time I open a coloring book.

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The coloring book display at my local Barnes & Noble. I’ve got my eye on the travel book. That looks like fun!

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c.b.w. 2015

Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids

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While paging through my Wreck This Journal, I came across the “Test Page” where there are instructions to use the space to test out crayons, paints, and other art supplies. The test page reminded me of something I always did in my coloring books as a kid and now as an adult. As a five-year-old and a 34- year-old, I’ve always created color swatches on the inside cover before coloring anything on an actual page.

Scribble, scribble!

Yes, I still color.  Even though it’s an activity mostly reserved for children, I find immense joy in the practice of filling blank spaces with color whether it be Garfield or an intricate Medieval tapestry.  I love how the image changes when color is added, the smell of crayons and colored pencils, the swishing sound of a crayon going back and forth, and the feeling of accomplishment when the page is completed.  The process is very relaxing and cathartic when real life threatens to turn everything black and white.

My drawer is filled with at least twenty coloring books.  Some are brand new while others have been with me since I was a little girl.  The oldest one I have is a Bullwinkle and Rocky coloring book I’ve had since I was about eight years old.  My juvenile scribbles scrawl across half of it, right beside the pages I colored just last week.  Yup, I still color Bullwinkle and all his friends! The inner child in me rejoices, (and she really giggled when I bought a new Smurfs coloring book a few months ago).

Garfield, Barbie, and Bullwinkle are relics from my childhood, but I still color in them on a regular basis. The Smurfs coloring book is a brand new addition to my collection!

Last week’s coloring creation.

When I’m looking for a challenge, I delve into my collection of Dover coloring books which contain highly artistic plates ranging from intricate tile patterns, butterflies, Egyptian art, and complicated geometric designs.  My muse is always challenged to come up with interesting color palettes to fill in all the blank spaces.

Dover coloring books offer unique and artistic images.

From my Medieval Tapestry Coloring Book. It probably took a total of 4 hours to complete.

I stock a wide variety of coloring supplies and I’m always a sucker for something new.  I have everything from crayons (regular, glitter, metallic, variegated,), colored pencils, markers (fat, skinny, classic, bold, and bright), Twistables, glitter glue, and metallic gel pens.  Every time I sit down to color, I make a huge mess and lay out all my coloring utensils.  The possibilities are endless and I love the sense freedom that comes from all those colors.

Part of my collection of coloring supplies.

Once I’ve chosen what coloring book to play in and what image to color, I set about finding the color combinations.  That means making color swatches on a piece of scratch paper or on the inside cover.  After a while, the swatches make for an interesting piece of art in and of themselves.

With all the colors chosen, I let myself get lost in the moment.  If the image is particularly complicated, two hours (or more) will easily fly by without my knowledge.  I’m totally absorbed and the outside world just disappears.  All that matters is color.  No one is ever too old to bask in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Go ahead and grab some crayons.  You know you want to.

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c.b. 2012