I was as surprised as anyone when I first heard that coloring books were being sold to adults, and in ever increasing numbers, to boot. While I wouldn’t go quite so far to say that making art as a full time professional painter is relaxing, there is a certain peace of mind that I get when I am firmly in the groove.
I began to realize this when I was working on the final drawings for Pandamorphosis. The process was long and winding, and had its share of frustrations. But once I figured out what the story was about, and went through many, many, MANY, studies and all the variations, doing the final colored pencil drawings was…there is really no other word for it, meditative.
For those of you not familiar with Pandamorphosis, it is the story of a cat who wishes her “pet” girl loved her (the cat,) as much as she (the girl) loved pandas. I like to think of Pandamorphosis as The Cat in the Hat meets Metamorphosis, except with pandas. Not to give too much of the story away for those who haven’t read it yet, the cat turns into a panda after making a wish on the full moon, and then chaos follows. Chaos always follows where groups of pandas congregate. Trust me on this one.
In addition to Pandamorphosis, I also spend a lot of time drawing the pandas which appear weekly on my blog, The Panda Chronicles. The cartoons are done with real ink, on real paper, and then scanned into my computer for a little clean up and formatting in order to share them on my blog each week. Over the years that I have been making these panda satire stories, I have gained a small (in internet terms at least) but loyal following of fans of pandas, humor, and my rather quirky outlook on life.
So, when I found out about the phenomena of coloring books for grown-ups (well, alleged grown-ups) naturally I went to my peeps and asked, Do you think you would want a Panda Chronicles coloring book, the answer came back as a resounding YES!!!!!!
What else could I do? Wanting to have it ready in time for Christmas giving, I knew I had to put the pedal to the metal in order to get it done. Since I had published Book 6 of my collected cartoons, (We R Endangered) in October, the process was fresh in my mind. I had to go through all my archives of drawings to find ones that had enough other stuff going on in the drawings to have something to color.
It has been delightful to see how people have been coloring up a storm. If you find yourself with a Panda Chronicles Coloring Book this holiday season, feel free to share your creations on The Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire’s page over on Facebook.
Many thanks to Cordelia’s Mom for inviting me here today, not to mention Cordelia herself, whose love of pandas and all animals shines through from the vast reaches of the inter-webs, and helped form this connection.
Anne Belov is a painter, printmaker, illustrator, and now purveyor of panda satire, living near Seattle Washington. You can find her books on Amazon, her new cartoons on her blog The Panda Chronicles, And follow her on Facebook at The Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire. Her paintings can be found at The Rob Schouten Gallery in Greenbank WA, and The Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle WA. Her main regret in life is that there is no MacArthur Genius Grant awarded in Panda Satire.
Images by Anne Belov