Today I get the pleasure of introducing you all to Wendy Piersall. Wendy is an artist that makes some of the prettiest and fun drawings that you get to add to. Currently she's been creating coloring books for adults. I for one am a huge fan of her work and have found coloring in adulthood to be lots of fun and a relaxing way to spend sometime. I've also found browsing the colored pencil isle of my local Blick Art store to be fun...there are so many colors to choose from!
So without further ado Wendy is going to answer some questions for us.
What’s your art background?
I've been a self-taught artist my entire life, but I also went to school for fine art photography. After college, I taught myself to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and that enabled me to become a graphic designer for many years. Those skills eventually led to me becoming a successful kids' craft and activity blogger on WooJr.com, which is where I first started drawing mandala coloring pages in 2009.
Do you have a preferred brand of colored pencil / water color pencil?
I was always a fan of Prismacolors, until I broke down and tried Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. They really are superior to Prismas, and are now my favorite tool to work with. I also love using watercolor paints, but only when I can print out coloring pages onto real watercolor paper. Paints don't work very well in books! :)
Do you gravitate toward warm or cool color pallets?
Interestingly, when coloring I gravitate towards using a full spectrum of colors. The more the better! But if you looked at my wardrobe, walls, and home décor, all you would see would be shades of blue, brown, gray, and maybe a tiny pop of a bright color here and there. I have no explanation for the incongruence - it really is a mystery to me!
What is a Mandala?
Mandalas have roots in Buddhism and Hinduism, and are traditionally a circular drawing representing the universe. Carl Jung rediscovered and brought the mandala to western healing and spirituality through his groundbreaking work in psychology and healing in the early 20th century. He stated that the urge to work with mandalas happened during intense periods of personal growth. I can definitely say that has been true for me!
What was your inspiration when creating “Coloring Flower Mandalas”?
Flowers have always been the easy, go-to subject for my personal sketches and paintings over the years. They are the easiest for me to draw, and drawing them never gets old. When Ulysses Press and I were trying to come up with a second coloring book idea, I'm not sure which one of us had the flowers idea first - but I couldn't have been happier to do a whole book of flowers!
What is your next art project?
I just released my third adult coloring book, Coloring Dream Mandalas, last week. And as of tomorrow, I will be done with my fourth coloring book for grown ups, Coloring Ocean Mandalas, coming out this fall. (YAY!) I have a few more projects in the pipeline, but I can't say much until they are finalized. Suffice it to say that I absolutely adore drawing coloring books, and I really want to do more general book illustration work, so I am actively pursuing projects in these areas!
Do you work as an artist full-time?
I do! When people ask me what I do for a living, I can't even answer them with a straight face: "I'm - uh - a coloring book artist!" and I bust out laughing every time. It is the most crazy awesome thing EVER! But this is a recent development - I've been blogging for over 9 years, and still do some blogging work here and there. Since April of this year I've pretty much been constantly working on new coloring books, and expect to be lined up with similar work indefinitely. Even if I am not putting out new books, I now have such a huge body of work to reinvent through licensing or other avenues (t-shirts! fabric prints! pillows!!). I just haven't had the time to work on those other avenues... something that's been a really good problem to have lately.
How can readers find relaxation by using your book?
When I color, I put on my favorite music, grab a cup of tea, and I get set up in my little home office - an enclosed porch in our 115 year old home. It may get a little cold or warm depending on the weather, but it's got three walls of windows, so there's tons of natural light. That's really all I need to have a really great coloring experience - except that I have to take breaks every 30 minutes or so otherwise my carpal tunnel will flare up. I think it's most important to check your inner critic at the door and focus on the experience of coloring, not necessarily the end product. It's fun to share pretty results on social media, but inevitably someone will like your work, and someone else will dislike it. So let the process be the fun, and worry less about whether you like what you did when you are done. I only like about half of the pictures I color - but every one of them has been a joy to create!
Thanks so much for joining us Wendy. To wrap this interview up we have a couple fun videos for you all.