Friday, September 30, 2011

I have created my very first video for YouTube!

OK, OK, I do feel somewhat behind the times, but all the is the day! Here is my new video which presents a tour of my new coloring book. I hope it makes you smile!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are you ready to color?

My Day at the Horse Show: A Tell Your Own Story” coloring EBook is now available for digital download at my web store.
It’s been a long road. It’s taken a lot of faith. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve done a children’s book, and even though this one is self-published, it was no less work. But as the process of creation is completed I realize that I have really missed doing books for kids. A lot. Now that I’m back in the swing, I have several more coloring books, paper doll books, and a cartoon book in the design phase.

So what’s so special about this coloring book?

I put a lot of thought into how to make this coloring book a little bit different. I decided to make it an EBook because I wanted to give colorists a chance to re-use the pages. If you don’t like the way you’ve colored a page you can just print out another one and start again. Or, you can color different pages in different ways. It also allowed me to charge less per book. At $5.00 I felt that it would be approachable even in these tight economic times.

More features

One of the things I’m particularly excited about in this book are the fill-in-the-blank captions on every page. This allows everyone to make it their story, told their way. I have also included a helpful list of horse show terms to give you further ideas for your horse show adventure.

Too old to color? Think again

I believe that many artists have been set up for success in art by their early experiences with coloring books and crayons. The simplicity of the crayon is so non-threatening that even art-shy adults can use it with confidence. With fine art crayons you may feel the specter of “making a mistake” looming behind every corner. Not so with Crayolas. Try them for yourself and see. With crayons come a sense of artistic freedom plucked straight out of childhood.  

You’re invited

I invite you to visit my shop and take a look at the new coloring book. If you like it please give it a try. If you really like it please recommend it to friends. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to play with and I hope that many will. After all, what else is a coloring book for?

Cheers to all!


P.S. I have put up a new information page about the coloring book here on my blog. You can find it under the "Resources" tab on the right hand column. While you're there you'll also see pages that collect my How-to and Art Supplies product review articles. Check them out!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Flying Free Issue #1

I have just posted the first issue of my newsletter “Flying Free” on my website. Each month Flying Free provides simple art and design tips for artists of all ages and skill levels. This month’s topic is Clip Art: How to use it to enhance your documents and DIY projects.

The topics covered in the first issue are:

  • Terrific Ways to Use Clip Art
  • Colorizing Clip Art
  • 7 Easy Steps to Adding Clip Art to Your Word Document
  • Getting Personalized Clip Art Made For You
You can read the newsletter here.

If you’d like to sign up for future issues of Flying Free (and download some free clip art while you’re at it!) just go to my website and follow the directions.  By signing up you will not only get lots of art and studio tips delivered to your mailbox monthly but you’ll also gain access to special subscriber features like limited release clip art and other fun stuff.

If using clip art interests you and you’d would like to read a more detailed article about using clip art for your craft and art projects I have also written “How to Use Clip Art - 8 Terrific Ways to Use Copyright Free Images” for the website Ezine articles.

And don’t forget…the My Day at the Horse Show coloring EBook will be available for purchase this week in my web store! Stay tuned right here for all the details!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Day At The Horse Show

Here is the cover of my first coloring book, "My Day At The Horse Show." It will be available as an EBook for digital download next week from my website store. More details to follow... *happy smile*

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coloring Book Facts

A coloring (colouring) book is a type of book containing line art for a reader to add color using crayons, colored pencils, marker pens, paint or other artistic media. Although coloring books are generally used by children, coloring books for adults are also available.

According to Wikipedia, the McLoughlin Brothers are credited as being the inventors of the coloring book in the 1880's. The Little Folks' Painting Book was produced in collaboration with well-known children’s book illustrator, Kate Greenaway.

Another coloring book pioneer was Richard F. Outcault, creator of Buster Brown. Although today most people associate “Buster Brown” with the Brown Shoe Company, Buster was actually created in 1902 as part of an independent comic strip. Buster Brown was a young city-dwelling boy with wealthy parents. His strip featured the first talking pet to appear in American comics, a pit bull named Tige. Buster's Paint Book came out in 1907.

As a predominately non-verbal medium, coloring books have seen wide applications in education in some cases where target groups do not speak and understand the primary language of instruction or communication. This can be seen in the use of coloring books in Guatemala to teach children about hieroglyphs and Mayan artist patterns.

Since the 1980's, several publishers have also produced educational coloring books intended for studying graduate-level topics such as anatomy and physiology, where color-coding detailed diagrams are used as a learning aid.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Crayon Facts

Crayola LLC started as “Binney & Smith” in 1885.

There are 133 regular colors in the Crayola line.

Crayola is probably the most famous brand of crayons on the market today. But it’s not the only one. Prang and Sargent also make scholastic crayons for kids.

Fine art crayons are made by Alphacolor, Caran D’ache, Conté, Cretacolor, Lyra, Koh-I-Noor, Steadler, and Yarka to name a few. You can find them wax-based, water soluble, and for use on fabrics.

Caran d'Ache Neocolor II fine art crayons

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crayon fact

According to Wikipedia, a Yale University study rated the scent of Crayola crayons to be one of the most recognizable scents for adults (#18), beating out cheese (#19) and bleach (#20), but falling well behind coffee (#1) and peanut butter (#2).

Who knew?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why coloring books?

By the end of this week I hope to have my first coloring book up for sale as an EBook on my website. The creation of this coloring book is the culmination of many years of process for me as a children’s illustrator and writer. Coloring is an activity that brings us all back to the time before many of us stopped enjoying the creative and expansive delights of making art. To a time before we experienced the frustration of not being able to portray the world we see around us accurately.

According to Betty Edwards, author of the landmark book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, “The majority of adults in the Western World do not progress in art skills much beyond the level of development they reached at age nine or ten.” This is the stage when children become fascinated by realism. This is also the stage of development where if correct and useful artistic guidance is not received by the child, their art skills stultify and eventually go into a permanent state of artistic crisis.

The beginning of adolescence creates a conflict for children between their increasingly complex perceptions of the world around them and their current level of artistic skills. They simply don’t know how to draw what they are seeing, correctly. Before the age of nine, children are less interested in realism and more interested in portraying feelings in their drawings. As any parent knows, these earlier drawings are not realistic, but certainly prolific. After the age of nine, children become desperate to capture the world as it actually is.

As an educator, I have always felt strongly that children can and should be taught how to draw accurately. They want it and we owe it to them as teachers to provide that education to them. But as many art teachers do not have a great deal of confidence in their own abilities to teach the art of seeing, they may have trouble assisting the child as required. I believe it is of benefit to every artist and teacher to look back into their own past and see if they still carry any of the blocks that may have been put there by careless comments and poor teachers. Once the blocks begin to loosen, we can begin to experience the boundless creativity and fun associated with expressing the world confidently through art once again.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Visual Acoustics

"Post Modernism is to architecture as female impersonation is to femininity." - from Visual Acoustics

CSH 21

Two years ago an intriguing independent film came out called, "Visual Acoustics." It was about the life and works of architectural photographer, Julius Shulman. As it was a small, art film, once gone it was really hard to find. We didn’t know if it would ever be marketed as a mainstream DVD.

The other day I saw that it was playing on the Sundance Channel and taped it. We watched it today. It proved a most remarkable movie about a most remarkable photographer. Shulman made an enormous contribution to 20th century photography (architectural or otherwise). I highly recommend this film if you can find it. It, and his works, are things of beauty.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Planning and catfish

This was my week to write up my next set of 90 day goals for the business and for myself. I find this process somewhat stressful, as creating specific/time-bound goals is always tricky. Not only do you need to get things done by a certain time but you also need to be willing to succeed. For many people, the fear of success is a constant challenge. I am one of these people and I need to monitor my progress carefully in order to make sure that I’m not dismantling my progress even as I make it. The same is true for my health and fitness. I know what is most healthy for me but do I make that a way of life? Not hardly. *chuckle* But I’ve been thinking that it may be time to do better. After all, there’s no downside and every reason to recommit to health. So why not?

Taking a little break from my planning sessions, I did a pen & ink drawing for the Noodler’s company's 2011 art contest. I think it’s quite cute. I don’t want to show it off yet, as they should be the first to see it, but here’s the little guy I drew on the envelope.

On the envelope he said, " folding or bending! OK?"

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Busiest Week!

I realize that I haven’t written here in a little while. When I last posted (about two weeks ago) all was proceeding along expected and “normal” lines. That is to say, my coloring book was nearly completed, but for the captions, an introduction, and glossary of terms. But the artwork was done! Yeah!

Then, out of the blue, a whirlwind picked me up like a mystical sandstorm and flung me up into the air!

With extremely little effort we found a house to buy (our first!), I moved my horse to a lovely new farm (after 3 years at the old one), suddenly my class on Flower Essences for Pets (which I had thought canceled due to lack of interest) was ON and with only about 12 hours notice to prepare. Not to mention the regular coordination of my weekly animal massages, business meetings for design projects, and, did I mention that we’re BUYING A HOUSE?!?

It was crazy!

Amazingly all went beautifully and smoothly. Yesterday I took a little time off and rode my pony around the new farm. What a delight!

Thumbs up for my first ride at the new farm.

Today, with my feet back on the ground at last, I am finally able to start thinking about my coloring book again. As a prequel to seeing the actual completed book (to be unveiled here VERY soon) I thought I’d share a coloring book image that I completed today for a friend who has a very cute dog named Bella. Here are both the pen and ink and colored images (colored in Crayolas of course!) 

Bella as a pen and ink image ready to color.
Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2011.
Bella colored with Crayola crayons..
Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2011.

Who ever said you can't do a portrait in crayons? *smile*