Daniel Howard: Coloring Book Artist and Dragon Extraordinaire
Adult coloring book artist Daniel Howard knows more than anyone about the mental and physical benefits coloring can have.
After a back injury left him unable to work, Howard turned his love of drawing into a new career as a coloring book artist. His fantasy-inspired books feature animals, dragons, and many other mythological creatures, and his most recent work also includes tattoo designs and flowers.
We first connected with artist Daniel Howard when his wife, Cindy, shared a coloring page featuring one of his designs for a GelWriter giveaway—we’ve been a fan ever since, and we are excited to feature an interview with Daniel in this week’s blog!
GelWriter: When did you start making coloring books—and how did you get interested in doing it?
DH: Just over a year ago I got interested because my wife had picked up adult coloring—since I’ve always loved to draw, she asked if I would draw her a couple of pictures to color. Shortly after that, I ended up hurting my back and couldn’t work at my regular job in the factory anymore, so my wife suggested I start making coloring books. After I had gotten enough images drawn up to make a few books, we got ahold of our friends over at Black River Art for their guidance in getting the books published. We put our first book out on December 28th, 2015.
GelWriter: How did you learn to draw? Are there any other forms of art that you enjoy doing?
DH: The first person who taught me about art and drawing was my dad. He used to draw a lot to relax. Of course, I had some really good art teachers in school as well. My inspirations for the images I like to draw are artists similar to Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta. I also like to paint, do woodworking, and design my own stuff.
GelWriter: Walk us through the creation of a drawing…what is your artistic process like?
DH: Some images will just come into my head and I can sketch them out without looking at photos, for others I may surf the internet to get inspired and then draw my own version of what I have found. I’ve always had a knack for drawing dragons and horses, so while doing the Dan-Cin Dragons book every image in the book is inspired by something I have drawn before.
I draw freehand in pencil first, and then draw over them with either .5 or .7 mm pens depending on how detailed the image is. Then I erase the pencil lines. Finally, I hand over the picture to my wife/computer whiz and she scans it, cleans it up and vectorizes it, changes to a pdf file, and gets it ready for print.
GelWriter: What are you working on now–or what’s next?
DH: I am currently finishing up the newest book, which is Dan-Cin Tattoos. Hoping to have it ready to go in another week or so. We have also recently put out our very first grayscale adult coloring books: Flowers in my Yard, Vol 1 & 2.
GelWriter: If you could make a coloring book about anything in the world, what would it be? What is your favorite subject that you’ve ever drawn in a coloring book?
DH: I would have to say something that would make everyone smile, because that is part of the adult coloring movement. Most images will not make everybody happy, but everybody likes something so it would be great to find a subject that everyone loves. I love drawing dragons, however I was quite inspired drawing the Native American book as well.
GelWriter: Why do you think adult coloring books have become so popular? What is the best part about being a part of this adult coloring phenomenon?
DH: The reason coloring has become so popular is that it’s something that we can all do—there are even people who color with special computer equipment because they are disabled. It’s good for relaxing, getting rid of stress, and even physical therapy for motor skills. I really like it because I severely hurt my back last June, and drawing these books has helped me cope with not being able to do the things I used to do.
GelWriter: Do you have any tips for people who want to try coloring for the first time since they were a kid?
DH: Jump in with both feet. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, it takes your mind off your troubles…at least for a little while.
Are you ready to jump into the fantasy world of Daniel Howard’s adult coloring books? You can currently find all of his books on Amazon. You can also connect with Daniel on Facebook, and join his coloring group.
Enjoy this free downloadable coloring page from Daniel Howard, and be sure to show off your work on Facebook and Instagram!