My conversation with artist and designer, Jacqui Lynch, was one of those pockets where time just disappears for awhile! Creator of the colouring book "Curious Treasures", Jacqui shared where she finds inspiration for the unique designs found on these pages. Think geology formations, seed pods, fruit slices, fantastical inventions and underwater treasures. For anyone seeking an alternative to the mass produced and often repeated themes in the world of colouring, this is the book for you. (See also the Spring issue of the Bendigo Magazine for more of the interview)
On the inspiration for...
A lot of Jacqui's inspiration comes from patterns in nature. From the sections that make up a beetle to the colours and crevices in rock surfaces....all the way to the other-worldly spheres of space. It's important to take the time to notice repeating patterns, to hone in on the smallest of details, to appreciate the ordinary and the amazing in everything around us...and this is where inspiration can be found.
Jacqui also specialises in fine art, and her work in landscapes, water-scapes, space-scapes and the abstract also sparks ideas when it comes to the pages of her book. She also loves to zero in on things that can't be seen by the naked eye by using a microscope, and finds the details of functional design (plants/beetles etc) are visually appealing. In a way, nature and the patterns to the abstract found within it, is what she thrives on.
On the role of colouring and creativity in her life, and the idea for a book...
Jacqui confesses that she was an avid colourer when she was small, often competing with her sisters for the colouring competitions that appeared in the local paper. Then there were the 72+ tins of Derwent pencils that every kid has coveted at some stage of growing up. (Bloggers note: I was always in awe that my cousin had the double decker tin...I had the 24 set and I dropped them one day and half of them rolled under the fridge. Absolute devastation and rivers of tears followed. A Derwent set was everything!)
With these memories fresh in her mind, and already being an accomplished fine artist herself, Jacqui's fourteen year old daughter also helped contribute to and refine the idea. Often colouring together, searching for new colouring books, and with a joint appreciation of Derwents...Jacqui realised that there was a market for unique quality designs to colour for people of all ages.
A quick Google or browse of YouTube reinforces the epic popularity of adult colouring books for the purposes of creative expression and mindfulness. But, with huge popularity comes mass produced books, and copying/repeating and pirating of designs is common. Jacqui realised, based on her shared experiences with her daughter, that things like heavier single sided pages and unusual designs like seed pods and geology formations would help her stand out from the crowd. Also an understanding of a designers mind vs. a colourers mind....exploring outside the lines vs. staying inside the lines, added an extra dimension to the project.
On the making of, and what she learned...
Jacqui discovered many things along the way. That digital designing with vectors (unlimited upsizing) helped with tweaking composition and designs along the way. It also meant she was able to supersize her designs as part of a local street festival which saw "floor to ceiling" size pages stuck to store windows near Bob Boutique. Throw in a bucket of crayons and passers-by found themselves participating in a huge communal colouring project.
Then, designing a book for herself as opposed to her clients (Jacqui also runs a graphic and book design company) also introduces a new perspective of moments like the anxiety before going to print for the first time!
Also, there are unique design considerations when it comes to colouring books. The inclusion of borders means each page feels more like an individual piece of artwork. That open spaces need to be closed....every single line of them. Paper weights contribute to postage categories. Ratios of colours and spaces, patterns and whitespace...these are all considerations. Then, what about alternating colours being applied to spaces that are numbered odd vs. even? The list goes on!
On her favourite designs?
Fruit slices and seed pods!
On future designs?
Butterflies, insects and moths...from a scientific angle.
On her most popular designs?
The geology ones are really popular as they're so different.
Where can we find her?
Jacqui sells individual pages to print and colour in her online store, along with canvas art of finished and coloured designs. Her book is also available in her online store, and locally at Bob Boutique in Williamson Street. Also, Facebook! Need help with designing your own book? She does that too :)