#throwbackthursday

 

CREATIVITY IS A BOOK YOU COLOUR

For many of us, colouring books recall our childhood, a madeleine that instantly brings to mind the smell of crayons and our efforts not to colour outside the lines. This is the spirit of #ThrowBackThursday, where we look back to discover something new about our favourite products. We start right from colouring books: in the last couple of years, there have been some made specifically for adults, becoming a way to relax and let one’s creativity run wild. We talk about them with Steve McDonald, author of the “Fantastic Cities” book.
Credits: Steve McDonald
Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books

Your illustrations show incredible and complicated architectures. Are the subjects of your work real or imaginary?

The normal views are all VERY accurate. They are real places, windows, towers and buildings. Obviously the kaleidoscopic views are not. They are manipulated versions of the other drawings. Part of my intention is to provide a little bit of an architectural voyage around the world. If you actually take the time to color some of them the amount of hours staring at different styles and types of architecture is sure to expand your awareness of different buildings of the world's cities.

Mandala are considered a medium to meditate and relax. Thanks to the high level of details, colouring books often use mandala as a subject. How would you like to see your illustration put to use?

I am proud of the normal views. But I think some people really enjoy the mandala type designs ( and the kaleidoscopes ) due to the fact that they are not real and you can kind of zone out and forget about things while coloring them...I love that people all over are finding great enjoyment working on these. To be able to help facilitate creativity and a positive stress-free, offline, analog activity in any way is exciting. Not to mention the exposure my drawings are getting. It really is just meant to be a fun and easy way to release your creative side.

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These kind of books are born for kids, but in the last years they evolved in over detailed drawings for grown ups, setting a new successful trend. Where do you think this need come from?

I think that the current success of coloring books is due to that fact that they provide an easy and stress-free option to be creative. I think we are all more creative than we sometimes get to show and anything that allows people to be creative in a fun and not too serious way is bound to be popular. There are also some really nice drawings in some of the coloring books out there, the quality of some of the books has really improved immensely in recent years. I think almost any creative activity — coloring, drawing, playing music, knitting, writing — naturally leads to some stress relief and can certainly help you relax. If you can embrace a hobby that doesn't involve a digital device, I think it’s bound to be good for your state of mind. We could all use more stress-free creative time in our lives. So perhaps these books can serve as a catalyst to creating that kind of space in your life.

Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books
Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books
Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books
Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books
Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books

In your website the first thing we see is a definition of Delineation as the action of indicating the exact position of a border or boundary. This took us think to our childhood, where we were told to colour in and not to go over the lines. At this point, do you think that not to respect your drawings boundaries is a form of betrayal of your work, a rebellion or additional creativity?

Additional creativity for sure ! Some of the drawings are so complicated and full of lines going everywhere that you don't have much choice but to ' go outside the lines' once and awhile. The book is meant to be a template for whatever kind of coloring you want to do on each page. I think different approaches or experimenting with how you choose to color them in is totally up to the owner of the book. I hope to see tons of different examples. You already can at the instagram hashtag #fantasticcities or on the Fantastic Cities facebook page

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Different formats for all types of publication!

Last but not least, did you colour in books when you were a kid? Can you remember the first one?

I did a fair amount of coloring when I was really little. I remember mostly superhero type books or maybe a few disney type ones....the weren't very good and were poor quality materials but I loved them for awhile. Later on I remember the great Doodle Art posters that you could buy with a set of markers...I loved them ! ...they were really detailed and quite big so they took a long time...The complexity of some of the Fantastic City drawings will create a similar need for a patient mellow approach to coloring them. Ther was also a paint-by-numbers trend in the seventies that I remember quite well: they were fun. The sense of accomplishment when finishing some of these projects was huge. Even if you are guided by some other artist ( myself in my book's case ) - someone else coined this phrase about the books 'they are a gateway drug to creativity' and I tend to agree.

Credits: Steve McDonald & Chronicle Books

Pixartprinting #throwbackthursday is an editorial project developed by Pixartprinting. Our goal is to present our products in a new, unexpected light: for this first episode we involved the Canadian illustrator Steve McDonald.

License: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 4.0

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