A Day in the Life of a Drawing (with The Coloring Café!)
This week the GelWriter blog brings you an inside look at the creation of a single coloring page from start to finish, with guest blogger and coloring book artist Ronnie Walter!
By Ronnie Walter
When you walk into a store or shop online, do you ever find yourself wondering how all these fun coloring books are made? Where do they get all those wonderful ideas?
Well, I know exactly how it happens—one idea and one drawing at a time!
I’m Ronnie Walter, the artist and creator behind the popular The Color Café® series of adult coloring books. I thought it would be fun to walk you through the process of how each page gets made, and how they eventually turn into the book we all love.
I have been a professional illustrator for many years, mostly designing product for the gift and stationery markets, plus lots of greeting cards, gift bags, fabric designs and craft supplies like scrapbooking materials and rubber stamps. I work with some of the best companies and my work has been in stores like Target, WalMart, Michael’s and JoAnn’s plus many of the independent retailers throughout the US. I have been involved with a lot of products, and every one of those products started with a piece of paper and a pencil where I brainstorm ideas and sketch out possibilities before I take the art to a more refined state.
Like most things in life, it all starts with the seed of an idea. Most of my books have a theme, like “It’s a Girl Thing” or “Bible Blessings” or my newest books, “Kindness Matters” and “Happy Everything” (that last one is about celebrating fun times throughout the year). Let’s walk through my typical process of developing a page for one of my coloring books:
First, every page starts with a sketch—a very rough sketch!
Then I scan it into my computer and tighten up the sketch. I’m trying to close in on where I want the various elements to appear, and to make sure the type is spaced correctly. I really love that I can do this digitally now—in the old days I would have either redrawn things many times, or I would cut my sketches up and tape them back together to get them in a form that works.
Once I have the sketch laid out, I can draw right onto a computer screen (with a special piece of equipment called a called a Wacom Cintiq), essentially tracing over my sketch with a black “digital pen” until I am happy with the drawing.
Next will be some final clean-up of the lines and usually a bit of tweaking the design. When I am happy with the final art, I send it to my publisher to be included in the next book.
Oh, and I shouldn’t neglect my supervisor; Larry is a rescue Catahoula who makes sure I don’t work too many hours without letting him out, and that I get a little exercise by throwing a tennis ball. He also “protects” me during thunderstorms by sleeping under my desk (and on my feet).
As the book comes together the publisher and I will discuss any changes or additions, and once everyone is happy with the book, it gets printed and distributed to stores all over the US and Canada. Then the fun part—actually coloring—can begin!
The nice folks at GelWriter sent me a selection of pens to try out with my books—oh, wow—that was fun!
I love how smoothly the ink lays down on the paper, and what an amazing range of colors! You may want to move to a different kind of marker for any really large solid areas (like backgrounds), but the GelWriter pens are amazing for all the other details—and who doesn’t love a little shimmer now and then? If you see some of the pages I’ve posted on the Coloring Café Facebook page you will notice how much I love adding black to my pages. Black used as a color can really set off your designs and make them sing, and the GelWriter black is nice and solid (a personal favorite!). Actually—I love all the colors, especially the glittery ones!
Thanks for stopping by my studio!
All my best,
P.S. Be sure to stop by the Coloring Cafe Facebook page to enter our GelWriter giveaway starting 8/30!
Ronnie Walter is a writer, artist and creator of The Coloring Café® series of adult coloring books. When she isn’t drawing pictures (which rarely happens) she’s hanging out in a little house by the water with her adorable husband Jim and Larry, the rescue Catahoula. Contact Ronnie at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the website at www.thecoloringcafe.com.