On April 25th, Feral House Publications released “Prince: The Coloring Book.” This third book joins the already popular Bowie and Lemmy coloring books. I took a stab at coloring Prince with crayons, colored pencils and markers. Having not colored since I was a child, I found the activity relaxing and strangely engrossing. I suggest you crank Purple Rain and let your creativity flow.
We spoke with Christina Ward of Feral House to gain some insight into their process.
What was the inspiration for making the rock idol tribute coloring books?
Coloring books are at their core, black-line illustrations, cartoons if you will. We know and love so many talented artists that we thought: What if we ask actual artists to create ‘coloring book’ style drawings? We had discussed doing coloring books for the past few years. When David Bowie died in January of 2016, and we saw the shared grief as well as people searching for a way to express that grief- we knew that creating our artist-based coloring books would be a way to give voice to the outpouring of emotions about Bowie’s death. Bowie, Lemmy, and Prince all had a great sense of humor. I like to think that some of these images would make them laugh.
How were the artists selected?
We initially asked artist friends (Tony Millionaire, Mike Diana, Mahendra Singh, Mica O’Herlihy) to contribute then quickly realized that there are wonderfully talented and unknown artists who wanted to be a part of the project. We set up an Open Call for art and reviewed every single submission. We were and are looking for illustrations that reflect the life and cultural impact of the subject.
Some of the art is very intricate. Are they all colorable (I think I made up that word) if someone is to have enough patience? Or were some intricate drawings too good to pass up even though the spaces are tiny?
We too used the word ‘colorable’ when looking at submissions! Honestly, it ranked lower on our criteria. Good art is always subjective, but we wanted art to be good first and ‘colorable’…well, that becomes a creative challenge to the colorist. (Which is a word I learned from coloring book aficionados.)
We have an ongoing coloring ‘contest’- where we encourage people to send us their colored-in pieces which we then feature on our social media and randomly select to win prizes. It’s interesting to see the images that people choose to color and submit. Some of them are the harder to color pieces which are wildly and beautifully interpreted. We’re still Feral House; we’re not following anyone else’s rules about coloring books!
I have tried crayons, pencil and marker. So far marker seems to be the best medium. What do you think?
Personally, I prefer colored pencils. I’ve seen photos of beautiful watercolor painted images. Someone sent us a finished Lemmy that utilized gold-leaf! It was stunning. I think that’s part of the fun of including non-traditional drawings into a coloring book- it inspires and challenges an individual’s creativity. If you see an image and think, ‘I can do that.’ You’re right, you can! So do it. Add the color and make it your own work of art.
Any hints as to the next coloring book?
The Prince, the Coloring Book, is just out now. Muhammad Ali-The Greatest Coloring Book of All Time is set for release in May. The trendsetters and cognoscenti claim that coloring books are over. We’ll wait and see about that. We have ideas on what we think would be fun and exciting. We’ve had fans suggest themes that they’d like to see; though I’m not sure the world is ready for a Grand Guignol coloring book…
(Laughs) Please? We’re ready! I have so many red crayons.
Coloring books are priced at $15.95. Buy them here.