Summer - July '12 Archive
says coloring is just for kids? Learn about artists who seek
inspiration from coloring books and non-profit organizations that
utilize coloring in unique ways. Advice from educators and industry
experts will be featured as well.
The Works of Henry Darger
Coloring books can be one of the earliest entries into the art world
for children. And for many, coloring books come to represent positive
memories of childhood. So it should not be surprising to discover the
ways in which adult artists return to coloring books to further their
artistic technique and explore thematic concepts. In every issue of
Coloringbook.com’s Magazine, we will showcase artists of exceptional
talent who utilize or are influenced by coloring books in their creative
Days before his death in 1973, Henry Darger’s landlords entered his
apartment and to their amazement, discovered the immense, extensive
artwork and writings their tenant created in his forty-three years as an
occupant in his second-floor apartment. In addition to extensive
writings (one fictional work alone totaled over 15,000 pages in length,
single-spaced!), hundreds of watercolors, drawings and studies occupied
the 900 square foot apartment located in Chicago’s North Side.
Recognizing the artistic merit of their tenant, landlords Nathan and
Kiyoko Lerner assumed responsibility of Darger’s estate and introduced
the world to this self-taught artist. Today, Henry Darger’s work has
achieved international notoriety and influenced several visual and
performing artists.“Henry Darger adopted countless images from
popular-media sources, such as newspapers, magazines, comics, and
cartoons, but no single source influenced him as steadily as the
coloring book,” commented Brooke Davis Anderson, curator at the American
Folk Art Museum.
Darger’s human figures were achieved by continual tracing from books
and rendering the desired size through simple photographic enlargements
provided by the local drugstore photo department. Tracing allowed for
repetition of featured figures in his works. Coloring book pages were
also utilized in collage, combined with other found objects to achieve a
new meaning and association for the design. Finished compositions
repeat the themes from his epic writings and events in his life.
Darger has achieved unique status in the art world. He remains one
of the most popular names of arts in the community of self-taught
artists, or “outsider artists” – those whose are skills are not achieved
by academic training, nor are featured in commercial art galleries or
established museums. Additionally, Darger’s work is also highly
regarded by the contemporary art world, including museums, and artists
in a variety of genres. “There is a long history of academically
trained artists drawing inspiration from self-taught artists and thus
freeing themselves to think in unexpected ways and on their own
idiosyncratic terms, almost in defiance of what they were taught,” said
It should be no surprise that the list of museums presenting Darger’s
work is just as unique as the artist himself. The Intuit Museum of
Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago created a permanent exhibit in
which the visitor can truly step into Darger’s world. Darger’s work
environment – that intimate apartment – is recreated with materials from
his studio. According to the museum’s website, “Experiencing Darger’s
personal environment through the installation will provide an important
link to the man who struggled relentlessly throughout his life to give
expression to the polarized spectrum of humanity. The archive and
material represents a vital resource and the installation will enhance
the understanding and appreciation of the art of Henry Darger by
providing artists, scholars, and the public access to a unique and
innovative archive of study materials.”
The American Folk Art Museum in New York City established the Henry
Darger Study Centre to encourage further study into the life of this
unique, mulit-disciplinary artist. The collection contains thousands of
items from Darger’s home – including watercolor paintings, tracings,
source materials, correspondence and the extensive manuscript. It is
the largest public collection of Darger pieces in the world. Modern
artists have studied and utilized Darger’s art as inspiration and source
material in their own works. From paintings, collage, song lyrics,
graphic novels, plays and even a documentary film, popular culture
honors Henry Darger’s method for using everyday objects as a springboard
into a deeper, imaginative realm.
Museums featured in this article:
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Established in 1991, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider
Art (Intuit) is the only nonprofit organization in the United States
that is dedicated solely to presenting self-taught and outsider art.
Located in Chicago: http://www.art.org/
The American Folk Art Museum is devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of
traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary
self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The museum
preserves, conserves, and interprets a comprehensive collection of the
highest quality, with objects dating from the eighteenth century to the
present. Located in New York City. http://www.folkartmuseum.org/
Color A Smile
Back in 1986, when Jerry Harris stepped into a friend’s
kitchen, he noticed the cheerful crayon drawings that decorated the
refrigerator door. This simple
experience was truly profound as Jerry began thinking of a way to use
children’s artwork to spread smiles. With
the help from his family and other volunteers, Color A Smile was created in
1986 and every month since, crayon drawings have been collected and mailed. To date, over one million drawings have been
collected, with an average of 5,000 drawings distributed on a monthly
basis. The number of smiles generated from
this project is infinite.
This intergenerational link is a great opportunity for
children of all ages to experience the wonderful feeling that comes through
volunteering and brightening someone’s day.
Schools, scout troops, religious organizations, and service groups -- as
well as individuals and families -- can gather their drawings and send them to
Color A Smile, located in Morristown, New Jersey. There is no cost to submit or
receive the drawings. Artwork is mailed
to individuals and groups on the mailing list. Anyone can contact Color A Smile
to add a name to the distribution list. Packages of several drawings per month are
sent to administrators of group facilities such as nursing homes and assisted
living homes. These drawings are displayed in common areas for everyone in the
building to enjoy. The drawings are
especially dear to those whose children and grandchildren have grown out of the
Children of any age can participate and many adults have
also sent their drawings as well. And
while Color A Smile initially began seeking submissions from children, the
contributors now represent all ages.
“Coloring is a great ice breaker, especially when people learn that
their drawings will be used for a good cause,” explained Harris. From college
orientations to corporate meetings, people begin talking and sharing as they
recall positive memories about coloring while they are working on their
“We have grown in ways we never imagined,” commented Harris. With the assistance of the Internet,
information spread exponentially about the organization, with artwork now
coming in and going out throughout the country. Harris also recalled the wonderful surprises
that have come about due to organization’s long-term presence. Because Color A
Smile has existed for 26 years, some children truly have grown up with it,
beginning as enthusiastic participants, and then leading efforts to collect
artwork. The majority of thank you letters received are from teachers, troop
leaders and adults who witness the meaningful experience of kids at a very
young age doing something for someone else and thinking of others.
The organization is staffed by volunteers and while Color A
Smile does not engage in soliciting, donations are always welcome to cover the
costs involved in mailing the drawings.
For more information about Color A Smile, and ways you
can participate, visit www.colorasmile.org
Ava Gardner Museum
True Fans and Collectors For Life
man behind it all is Thomas M. Banks of Pompano Beach, Florida, a
former publicist for Columbia Pictures, who collected Ava memorabilia
for over 50 years. It all began when Tom was a 12-year-old boy playing
on the campus of Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in
Wilson, NC where Ava was studying to become a secretary in 1940. Tom
and his pals would “pick on” Ava and her classmates calling them their
“girlfriends”. In retaliation, Ava chased Tom and caught him, and gave
him a kiss.
Tom wondered about Ava when
she did not return to school the next year. In the late summer of 1941,
he saw her picture in the paper and learned she signed a movie contract
with MGM. Tom was overwhelmed that he knew someone who had “gone to
Hollywood.” His fascination began!
read an article about Ava, he cut it out and saved it. Tom contacted
Ava during his college days at William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and
asked her to become the sweetheart of his college fraternity, Phi Kappa
Tau. Ava accepted, and she sent autographed pictures to all the new
After graduating college, Tom headed to Hollywood (his graduation present to himself) and watched Ava on the set of Show Boat.
After completing service in the US Navy and a brief career as a
publicist for Columbia Pictures, Tom earned a PhD in psychology. In
1960, he married Lorraine, and they moved to Florida, where the couple
worked for the Broward County School System.
& Lorraine traveled the world collecting Ava memorabilia, and
amassed an extensive collection. While visiting Ava in London in 1978,
they discussed donating the collection to an institution such as
Columbia University, but Ava suggested the collection belonged in her
home state. The very next year, the first exhibit of the collection was
held in downtown Smithfield.
Beginning of the Museum
the early 1980s Dr. Banks purchased the house where Ava lived from age 2
to 13, and operated his own Ava Museum during the summers for nine
years. Dr. Banks suffered a stroke at the museum in August of 1989 and
died a few days later. Ava died 5 months later on January 25, 1990. In
the summer of 1990, Mrs. Banks donated the collection to the Town of
Smithfield, being assured that a permanent museum would be maintained in
Johnston County, Ava's birthplace and final resting place.
Ava Gardner Museum was incorporated in 1996 as a 501(c)3 organization
to manage and care for the Museum's collection of personal items and
movie memorabilia gifted to the Town of Smithfield by Tom and Lorraine
Banks. Since that time the Ava Gardner Museum Foundation has continued
to acquire artifacts related to Ava's life and is committed to
preserving theses items and displaying them in an educational manner.
August of 1999, the Museum’s board made an investment in downtown
Smithfield by purchasing and renovating a 6,400 square foot building
that became the permanent home for the Museum’s vast collection. In
October 2000, the new Ava Gardner Museum opened its doors and has
continued to draw national and even worldwide attention with
approximately 12,000 visitors each year.
All aboard this historic museum that celebrates
the iconic railroad hero, the grandeur of trains, and life in 1890s!
Jones was a railroad engineer who became an internationally known hero on his
last ride on April 30th, 1900 when he saved all the passengers on his train. The Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum,
located in Jackson, Tennessee offers a visitors the opportunity to step back in
time and learn more about this railroad hero and the significant role that
trains played in shaping the surrounding area.
newly built 8,000 square foot "Train Station", located right next to
the home, has been re-created to look like an authentic train station from the
1890’s. Artifacts from Jones and his
fireman Sim Webb as well as from other Tennessee railroaders are
displayed. Exhibits highlight the city’s
railroad history and the importance of trains in the Civil War. With three authentic railcars in the
collection, kids of all ages are welcome to climb aboard the engine and ring
the bell. The inviting reading nook and
play area, (complete with train tables and Thomas the Tank trains) is a hit
For more information, visit www.caseyjones.com
The Bright Side
Wedding and Coloring Books
Colorfully Ever After: Saying I Do to Coloring Books at Weddings
The summer season is the peak of wedding season and coloring
books provide a playfully creative way to add a fun and memorable touch to the
celebratory day. Wedding websites and blogs
like Weddingbee.com and TheKnot.com are
chock full of brides sharing their stories.
Custom made coloring books can present the story of the bride and groom
in new and different way. With the help
of photo software, you can transform pictures of the bride and groom into black
and white drawings. And don’t forget the
games, puzzles and activities:
crosswords, connect-the-dots, mazes and word jumbles can feature fun
facts about the couple. Added details
like crayons in the shape of hearts will enhance the thoughtfulness behind this
Even if a tailored coloring book doesn’t synch with your overall
wedding theme, coloring books are a great way to occupy kids at the ceremony
and reception. A special tote bag filled
with activity books, stickers and crayons can help keep the young ring bearer
and flower girl entertained as they embark upon a very long day. At the reception, the kids’ table can easily
be transformed into a center of entertainment and fun as it is stocked with
crafty materials and coloring books. A
paper tablecloth presents a great canvas for doodles. Their parents will be appreciative, too!
To truly bring out the youthful spirit in your guests, offer
coloring books at their tables, too.
Pages of wildflowers and butterflies can make fitting accompaniments to
an outdoor wedding. Even designating a
place for adults to color can be a great ice-breaker for guests who may be a
bit shy to hit the dance floor.
Have you attended a wedding or other celebration that used
coloring books in a creative way? Share
your story with us.
By Heidi Spear
can be your key to a more balanced and easeful life. Although there are
many ways to meditate, the purpose is always the same: to strengthen
your connection to the present moment, and to help you disengage from
the effects of stressful thought patterns. Meditation is a time-tested,
all-natural way to deal with life’s challenges while experiencing a
peaceful heart and mind.
might seem like a paradox is that in order to be able to handle what
comes up in life with more ease, one must take breaks from planning,
scheduling, and making lists. Take time to relax and come into the
present moment, where there is joy, freedom, and an abundance of
possibility and color.
is meditation when you allow yourself to be in the present moment and
not get tangled up in uncomfortable thought patterns. To do this,
appreciate what you are doing moment by moment: notice the creative
images in the designs you’ve chosen; notice the texture of the crayons,
pastels, or colored pencils you have on hand. Notice the beautiful
shades you have at your fingertips, and allow the experience to unfold
as it will. Notice that you’re doing an activity that inherently has no
stress --- nothing for you to produce, no one for you to impress,
nothing for you to become.
you color, if you notice yourself spinning into a stressful thought
pattern about anything (related to coloring or not), breathe and allow
that thought pattern to float away. Return your attention to coloring,
allowing yourself to put colors to the page in any way you want, with no
judgment, no attachment to the outcome, and no need to reach a goal.
Allow there to be no rules because there’s nothing to judge. Invite
yourself to relax in the knowledge that this type of meditation is fun,
good for the whole family, and healing for mind, body, and spirit.
Chakra Healing and Coloring
means wheel or disc, and in the tradition of yoga, it refers to the
wheels of energy in the body. When you receive acupuncture, practice tai
chi, or take yoga classes you are helping energy flow more freely in
the body, and you are supporting the chakras in doing their job. Chakras
are located throughout the body. When they are in balance, they spin
freely, transferring energy to support your physical, mental, and
When the chakras are not spinning well, energy
becomes stagnant and doesn’t travel to where it needs to go to fully
support you. Unblocking the chakras helps energy flow freely: enhancing
mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
balance the chakras by coloring, choose colors that support the chakras
you need to unblock. There are particular colors associated with
balancing each of the seven major chakras. These seven major chakras run
along the largest energy channel of the body --- which is located in
the spine --- and they affect important physical, mental, and spiritual
more of a certain color, regardless of what design you are drawing, may
help you focus on that specific energy center. So, use all the colors
you want to for your creative expression, and be sure to focus a little
extra on certain ones you need for more balance.
you are able to balance the chakras, you are able to create peace,
ease, and balance in your life. With more understanding of how they
work, you are able to create exactly the life you want to be living. You
begin to notice how you can affect the path your life takes, and you
can bring health and healing to yourself and others…especially by
coloring with them.
Here is a brief summary of the some of the basic attributes of each chakra:
Name of Chakra
(base of spine)
Contentment with your basic needs for survival (food,
Will power, self-esteem
(center of chest)
(in the throat)
(between eyes, just above eyebrows)
(top of head)
purple and gold
Heidi E. Spear is the author of The Everything Guide to Chakra Healing and co-author of 5-Minute Mindfulness: Simple Daily Shortcuts to Transform Your Life. For more information, visit: www.heidispear.com.
coloring fun! Word search, quiz, tips from artists and of course,
coloring book pages to download.
How to draw a...
step by step tips for learning how to draw objects from professional
illustrators. After you master drawing items, perhaps you will want to
create your own coloring book! More info...
Take a break from all that reading and relax with a word search puzzle.
Test your knowledge of the names of colors.
Free Downloadable Coloring Page
ColoringBook.com offers free downloadable pages for you to print off and color.
Painting is a form of communication. Before people could read or write, artists
used paintings to share a story.
My name is Joy Baer and I am an artist who specializes in
telling stories through frescos.
Fresco is the Italian word for "fresh", and that's
because artists create fresco painting with fresh, natural materials, water and
plaster. In ancient days, a mortar and
pestle were used to grind colorful, earth minerals and rocks into a fine
powder. Then water is added to create
fresh paint. The oldest frescoes we know
of come from 1600 BC.
When I was nine years old, I was inspired by an article on
Pompeii, Italy in a National Geographic Magazine. Did you know that in 79 A.D., the volcano
Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the town in volcanic ash? The city, objects and frescoes were preserved
and discovered 1700 years later! Today,
I teach fresco workshops in the excavations in Pompeii. I paint to communicate the lost language of
symbolism, codes and signs found in the frescoes at Pompeii. My frescoes convey a feeling of hope,
something you can’t see, but you can feel.
Have you seen a picture or read an article about a far-away
place that inspires you, too? What is
it about that place that interests you?
Now it’s your turn! Go and draw
your own pictures of this amazing place.
Be sure to put yourself in the picture, too!
Passing with Flying Colors
My Glass Bottom Boat Ride Coloring BookEric Styles
Perhaps one of the most interesting and relaxing experiences
in Ocala, Florida can be found aboard the Silver River Spirit, a glass bottom
boat that amazes and educates passengers as they cruise down the Silver River. The primary focus of Glass
Bottom Boat Tour Inc. is to provide free, glass bottom boat rides for everyone,
especially those who may not have the financial means to do so. “We are not running a business here, we’re
just bringing friends along on our river adventures,” explained Eric Stiles, Director
and Senior Captain. As a non-profit charity, the business utilizes
coloring books as a way to bring in additional revenue.
The coloring book captures the array of animals --
turtles, birds of all kinds, alligators, fish in a range of shapes and sizes,
and even monkeys – that might be seen during an excursion. Detailed pictures of flora also adorn the
pages. “We give them as gifts to kids who ride our boat. Customers
love them,” commented Stiles. The book continues to educate and promote
environmental awareness of Florida’s natural resources long after the boat ride
For more information, visit www.glass-bottom-boat.com
Importance of a Good Cover
Books might or might not be judged
by their cover but a good cover will attract the interest of a
potential reader and communicate something. Your cover must attract the
potential reader by creating an emotional impact which will communicate
something to him or her. Once you've gotten that, then the back cover
will need to maintain that interest, and then the first few pages of the
book. That’s how good a cover has to be. Take a look at the books on
your shelves, what grabs you – or doesn’t ?
Bringing it Together
Here's a project for kids and adults to do together.
Cooking – creating a recipe of a family favorite
Grandma’s chicken soup, Uncle Al’s
spicy barbeque sauce, Aunt Helen’s famous lemon cake – in every family,
there is a beloved dish that, for some reason or another, may lack a
written recipe. Perhaps we just know how to make it, bake it or cook it
from experience and years of fine-tuning and experimenting with
different pinches, dashes and dollops of “secret” ingredients.
For this activity, the child/children in the family
think about the special dishes their relatives make. They will cook
together and work together to get the recipe written down so that later
generations will enjoy the treasured recipe.
Materials: ingredients and tools needed for cooking; paper, crayons or markers
Step 1: Before cooking, take out all of the
ingredients and tools. Write them down, and if the child is too young,
encourage the child to draw them.
Step 2: Cook the dish together, discussing the procedure, writing down the steps and measurements whenever possible.
Step 3: After cooking, sit down together and
discuss the process involved. Write them down together and draw
pictures of the steps involved. This will help the child to remember.
You can even add commentary like, “This part was my favorite,” or “Be
careful when you crack the eggs!”
Step 4: Your special recipe
book is almost finished! Decide on the best way to bind your recipe
book. Consider bringing the pages to a local copy shop or scan them
into a computer and send additional copies of the recipe with
illustrations to family members. Make a great gift and a wonderful
present at a family reunion.
Spending Time with Grandfather
Antoinette Harrell, a renowned genealogist, created a way
for children to begin learning about their family history. Spending Time
with Grandfather: A Coloring and Activity Book provides pages of coloring,
games and informational questionnaires for both grandfather and children to
complete. Here’s a great way to spark conversation between the
Antoinette Harrell is the producer and host of an
Educational Television Program, entitled Nurturing Our Roots. A renowned
genealogist for the past sixteen years. She is the author of Nurturing My
Family Tree & Coloring and Activity Book for children & A Genealogy
Field Trip With Grandmother. Antoinette Harrell also co-founded a genealogy
camp for children in New Orleans, LA. The camp and campers received national
and international attention for their programs in outstanding family research.
Her work in the study of genealogy has been
recognized by People Magazine, Nightline News and many other media
publications, national and international. In 2007 she had the state of
Louisiana to proclaim October as Family History Month.