my adult coloring story

Colouring an illustration by @happydoodleland . . . #adultcoloringbook #coloringbook #coloring

A photo posted by Michelle Lynne Goodfellow (@emelgy) on

It all started with adult coloring books. They were everywhere, after the success of Johanna Bamford’s Secret Garden, and the subsequent wave of interest in adult coloring.

I picked up a few here and there, mostly in bargain bins at bookstores, or as impulse buys from drugstore magazine racks.

From the start, I was less interested in coloring and more interested in making my own drawings, so I never coloured in the adult coloring books I bought. I told myself that they were inspiration for future artwork.

A friend passed along to me an adult coloring book that he had tried and didn’t want, and I finished one of his pages (below). But I was still kind of like, meh. I didn’t want to colour, myself.

Then I bought the Pocket Posh Botanicals coloring book by Flora Chang, and coloured the page at the beginning of this post. I used these coloured pencils. I was pretty happy with how it turned out. (Plus I really liked Chang’s doodle drawings. I wanted to make drawings like hers.)

If you scroll through my Instagram feed from that point on, you can see a visual record of what happened. I started drawing again in earnest (after a long period of not doing much drawing or art journalling) – first imitating some of the work by others that I really admired, and then playing with my own style.

And it was play. It was a way to pass the time that put me in the zone, or flow state. I kept coming up with new ideas to try, and it felt good at the end of each day to see the things that I had created.

At some point it occurred to me that I wanted to share my drawings online (I mean, more than just photographing them on Instagram). I wanted other people to be able to colour my drawings. And my first downloadable adult coloring page was born.

How do you come up with ideas for your adult coloring pages?
I follow a lot of artists and illustrators on Instagram, and I my Instagram feed is always inspiring to me. I also save a lot of illustration, art journal and zentangle pins on Pinterest as inspiration.

But honestly, a lot of the time I just play around in my art journals and sketchbooks until I come up with something interesting.

Do you have any visual arts training, or are you self-taught?
I studied design at university for my first degree (a Bachelor of Science in Clothing, Textiles and Design), and I studied visual arts for two more years after that, thinking that I wanted to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, but ultimately transferred out of the program and finished my Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies, instead. So yes, I have visual arts training.

I’ve also worked for many years professionally as a writer, editor, desktop publisher and in-house photographer in the social services sector, and have illustrated a few publications like this one for clients.

I love drawing, and over the years have filled many sketchbooks and art journals with my drawings, often using them as illustrations on my blogs and websites.

How do you create your adult coloring pages?
I use a scanner and several computer programs to save the pages electronically, so I draw all my originals on individual sheets of paper. I usually choose plain, 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets of printer paper, since they fit best in my scanner.

Once the drawing is done, I scan it as a picture, and save the file as a JPEG. I then open up the image file in PhotoShop to crop it, adjust the contrast so that the lines are dark and the background is pure white, and then I clean up any smudges, or discoloured areas left behind by the scanning process.

Finally, I save the image both as a JPEG and as a PDF, and then update the metadata in the PDF using Adobe Acrobat so that the PDFs are optimized for online search engines.

Then I upload the finished files to blog posts on this blog, and they’re yours!

I love drawing adult coloring pages. Every day I have dozens of ideas for new ones, and making the drawings is very enjoyable. I hope you enjoy them as much when you’re coloring them!


Would you like more free, hand-drawn adult coloring pages like this? You can find an index of my adult coloring pages here.

even more maps

Instagram map 1

I had fun on the weekend (in between bouts of severe endo pain) taking and editing some more map photos. I used Instagram and Camera+ on each of these images. (Did I mention how much fun this was?)

One of the things I really love about maps – apart from their usefulness – is their colours and shapes. Pale pastels – especially blues and greens – or brilliant rainbow hues like pink, yellow, gold and purple. Most of these maps are from my own collection of old National Geographic or road maps. A couple are from photos I took of maps in magazines, which I then cropped and edited in my iPhone.

I appreciate the advice of someone who’s been there before.

Instagram map 2

Instagram map 3

Instagram map 4

Instagram map 5

Instagram map 6

sidewalk chalk


I love children’s sidewalk chalk scribbles. I love the colours, the raw energy of the lines and forms, the joyous abandon of the images and messages (like “LOVE” and “Hi!” signed by scrawling first names). When I walk in my neighbourhood at night, I’m always on the look-out for new masterpieces. I especially enjoy meeting the children who’ve marked the sidewalks and driveways around their home. “Beautiful!” I call out, watching them beam.

My favorite are block-long extravaganzas that start in front of one home and stretch on for several metres, as if the artists ran out of space before they ran out of ideas.

I appreciate sidewalk art.

playing on the weekend

art journal workspace

I’ve been spending so much time writing lately, I thought I’d put my visual art aside, but on the weekend I had the sudden urge to pull out one of my art journals and do some collaging. (I don’t think that’s a word, but anyhow.) Here’s a snapshot of my work area, gluing in progress. The finished art journal spread is below. I’m going to use it in an upcoming post on Kitchen Sink Wisdom.

art journal spread what is essential


map 1

I recently started a map pinboard on Pinterest. I was so excited and full of ideas about what I could put there, including some of my own art journal work, which sometimes includes collaged vintage maps. These are some Instagram photos of details from five different art journal spreads.

(And yes, I’m going to pin these photos to my board!)

map 2

map 3

map 4

map 5

how to feel fulfilled as an artist

How to feel fulfilled as an artist

I saw this image on Facebook Sunday morning. I wish I knew who’d originally created it, or who wrote the original list, because I’d love to credit them. But for now, I’ll just share what I think is a brilliant manifesto for artistic fulfillment:

How to feel fulfilled as an artist
Or, how to get over your self-sabotage

  1. Never compare yourself to other artists.
  2. Know that your family is biased. Whether for or against, their views are skewed and do not represent an accurate reflection of your work in the world.
  3. Base your success on how your art has enriched your life, and how you feel when you create it.
  4. Constantly push yourself to expand and learn.
  5. Know that art can never be measured in dollars – and can only ever appreciate in value.
  6. Trust that when you are making the world more beautiful, there is always enough. Honest work is not a compromise if it supports the creation of art.
  7. Remember, it is the job of the artist to create new culture, not simply to regurgitate what exists.
  8. Never expect your family to understand your art, but do your best to educate them, patiently.
  9. Whenever a client / gallery owner / patron offers their advice, smile and nod. Then create your art authentically.
  10. Remember what Dali said: “Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.”

where i create

writing desk on floor

I saw this post on a Google+ contact’s stream the other day, and was inspired to take a couple of photos of my creative space. The space tends to be pretty flexible, depending on what I’m working on. I have a folding table that I can set up if I want to do some extended work like crafting or drawing (some of the photos from this post were taken in my home studio, some in my mom’s kitchen). Lately I’ve been experimenting with living close to the floor when I’m at home, because I had a strong intuition that this would be better for my knees and back. So I set up my laptop on a small wooden chest, and I sit on my meditation cushion every morning and evening, writing.

The studio includes several bookcases and a couple of lightweight armchairs that I can move around at will. Right now they’re pushed to the edges of the room, so that I can enjoy the wide-open space of my hardwood floor.


What does your creative space look like?

If you’re curious about artists’ and writers’ spaces, you might enjoy this blog.

creativity is overrated. discuss.

green Crayola crayons

I’m still thinking about this conversation about creativity that I had with Meg Wolfe on Google+. The gist: Why are people so self-conscious and blocked about their creativity? Possible answer: Maybe the commodification and commercialization of creative products has something to do with it.

What do you think?

renewal – atomic energy

entrance mosaic, South Secondary School, London, Ontario

Speaking of my old high school, I recently photographed this section of a large mosaic that covers the west wall near the main entrance to the school.

I loved this mosaic when I was a student. It was so unique, so funky, so retro-50s.

I’m not even sure what this is supposed to represent. A sun? A star? I’m imagining that it’s an atom, exploding with energy.

I appreciate the powerful energy of atoms – and their energy that gets transformed into something else.


Photo theme for April: Renewal