Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Anybody who has wandered through a craft store or a book store, cannot fail to notice all the adult coloring books currently on the market. Apparently there something for everyone,  geometric designs,  flowers, birds and butterflies, textile patterns, tribal designs, cats, you name it.  I was surprised and pleased to win a cat based coloring book at our family white elephant exchange - though I'd hardly call this adult coloring book a white elephant.  At any rate, I have hundreds of good colored pencils that I use infrequently, and they are perfect for coloring intricate designs.  They don't smell as nice a crayolas, but they look beautiful.

I know I colored as a child, lots of cartoon characters, farm animals, probably television characters like Zorro.  I don't know why I was surprised recently when I was looking online for a Janesville Daily Gazette from January, 1916, a hundred years ago, and found a drawing for youngsters to color:

At first I was surprised to find the detailed directions for coloring under the drawing, saying that the walls are gray, the dog black, Betty's dress pink, and so on, but later I realized that many of the contemporary coloring books I have flipped through have colored samples to copy.  I'm not sure why I think this is not only unnecessary, but down right wrong.  I can understand people not being willing or able to draw designs, but surely they can pick their own colors?

Anyway, it occurred to me that I could make some simple drawing of my life, an autobiographical coloring book.  Maybe I'd even make some copies for my small nieces to color - being certain to include lots of family members, and details from the farm.  I think this could be fun for me, if not for the nieces.  Later I could include some simple line drawings from Whitewater, where Dad had a shop and I went to college, some from Janesville where I have lived since I started teaching in the early 1970s. I don't know - maybe it'll end up being a slog and I'll give up.  But then again, maybe not.

I've considered designing other coloring books too.  How about tourist highlights of Door County?  Historic spots in Janesville or Rock County?  I have a feeling by the time I got either of these done the coloring craze will have passed.

Anyway, I tried a sample page for my autobiographical coloring book of my mother and father holding me looking worried - or maybe just nearsighted.

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