When I first developed the style I used for my coloring pages, I was in a funk. And so I wanted to return to childhood creativity. Return to freedom and exploration.
And I was going to do it by restricting myself in every way possible.
The only way I could find the freedom to explore was to remove my tendency to sketch, erase, and correct. As I grew and developed my art, the strategies I learned also caused me to agonize over perfection I could never reach. So I restricted myself to a pen, a single page, and no preparation, setup, or references of any kind.
I felt good about it, better than I'd felt in a long time about my art. So I decided to explore it again. The result was a series of coloring pages that sprawl out across the entire page.
I see fantasy maps as a potential influence. I have been obsessed with them since childhood. Next, I see Benjamin Chaud, although he did not directly influence these pieces and some old Russian artists from children's literature that I can no longer name.
Childhood is that state which ends the moment a puddle is first viewed as an obstacle instead of an opportunity." -Kathy Williams
The key to developing a style is to stop worrying about getting things perfect. I know that advice sounds a bit enigmatic, but in practice, it means that you have reached your destination already, and now you must use the tools you have at your disposal to create. What comes out is truly you, the sum of your experiences, practice, and taste.
I also stand by the concept that style is developed naturally without any effort at all. You create it over time in an effort to convey meaningful ideas as clearly as possible.
Good luck on your journey.
If you are interested in taking home a piece of this style for yourself, buy my unique printable coloring pages.
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Hi, my name is Cory Shaw. I am an author and illustrator of books and book covers for children.
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