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!

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

mourning the imminent death of google reader

screen shot - Google Reader

I’ve been dreading it for months, ever since I first found out. The imminent demise of one of my favorite Google tools – Google Reader. For a few years now, I’ve tracked my favorite blogs daily on Reader, whenever I’ve been logged in to my email. Strangely enough, though, as soon as I found out Google Reader was on the way out, I suddenly stopped using it.

But I don’t want to lose the URLs of my favorite blogs – some of which I may not remember, if I can’t log in to Reader anymore. So for the last two days I’ve been pinning the favorites of my favorites to this Pinterest board, and transcribing the rest of them to a list of my favorite blogs that I keep on my hard drive.

Sigh.

It’s been surprisingly bittersweet. I DON’T WANT MY ACCESS TO ALL THESE BLOGS TO GO AWAY!!! Reading blogs every day was such an enjoyable habit for so long – like sitting down with a cup of coffee and the morning paper. Only without the paper. Or the coffee. There’s a hole in my life where Google Reader used to be. I hate that.

Update: I’ve exported all my feeds to Feedly.com. It worked like a charm – and saved all the old posts that I was afraid of losing from now-defunct blogs. Awesome.

cccccold

grocery store parking lot early morning winter

If I were in the habit of swearing on my blogs, I would swear. It’s gotten seriously cold. Yesterday morning I was so stressed, I drove to the local 24-hour Metro (grocery store) to buy some chocolate. This was what I saw as I walked back to my car. (That’s not my car, by the way. It’s the only other car that was parked by the grocery store.)

Something about the light – the pre-dawn gloom, combined with the glow from the parking lot lights – felt very tundra-like. Like noon in the Arctic, in the dead of winter. Or something.

(I like the way Camera+‘s HDR filter worked on this shot.)

thermometer

Above is the thermometer in my back room, after three hours of space heating by my blessed oil-filled radiant heater. My iPhone told me it was minus 17 Celsius out. Normally the temperature in this room can get to plus 26 with the space heater. Brr.

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.

drowning my cares

white bathtub

This is where I go to forget. And feel better. And rest. And restore myself. And feel born again.

Also: Clean.

Out of all the things in my life right now – all the things I love – my tub is my best friend, and the only thing that truly seems to calm me.

What calms you?

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.

fierce

cat yawning

RRRRRAWR! (Actually, that’s just him yawning. But doesn’t he look fierce? I need me some of that.)

napping with cat

Seriously, though – very lazy day. Lots of napping going on. Laziness. Good for me.

napping with cat

Made a frittata (below). Was trying to improve on my own technique, after sampling someone else’s at brunch. Very satisfying.

Do you ever do that? Try something for yourself, when no-one’s looking? I had an idea about the frittata – a way that I wanted to cook it, that might be an improvement. Fun to experiment…

frittata

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.

garbage juice

grey plastic bucket

Yesterday when I was bagging up my kitchen garbage to take out, I spilled garbage juice all over my work pants and wool socks. Nasty. I immediately took them off and soaked them in a bucket of water with a few glugs of vinegar added, to help deodorize them. I’ll be laundering them today…

black socks hanging to dry

petting cat

First thing in the morning (after sleeping in a little) I did yoga for the first time in a couple of weeks, and of course the boys had to join me on the kitchen floor. This is pettingcatasana

cat sleeping on lap

Later my little guy curled up for a nap on my lap while I worked at the computer.

vegetable scraps in sink

Vegetable scraps in my kitchen sink.

baby bok choi

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.

green bean massacre

plastic bag of green beans and cat

It never fails. I make a grocery store run, I end up with a green bean massacre on my hands. (My cats will eat all sorts of plants – including lilies – and green beans are one of their favorite things to snack on. When I bring my groceries in, they immediately go on a search-find-mission for fun, edible things. Below is a shot of one unrepentant cat and his mess…)

cat on kitchen floor

food scraps in kitchen sink

Another shot of my kitchen sink.

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.

pill bottle

bottle of Tylenol 3

I usually don’t use pharmaceutical drugs. Lately I have been. For my migraines, mostly. Gravol and triptans. Both make me feel awful. Thursday I went rooting through my (admittedly small) stash of drugs for some Tylenol 3, in order to get through a long day.

(In case it isn’t clear, I still had a migraine.)

three fried eggs

I slept in as much as possible before going to work. I didn’t make myself a lunch. I made the fastest breakfast I could think of – fried eggs.

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.

kitchen towel

kitchen hand towel

The above photo was taken early in the morning while I was preparing my breakfast and lunch. I lay on my kitchen floor beside my refrigerator to take it. This is the towel (rag, really) that I use to wipe my hands while I’m working in the kitchen. I change it every day for a clean one. It hangs from a hook with a clip – the kind you’d use in your laundry room, to hang a small item to dry.

kitchen sink

My kitchen sink on Wednesday morning.

dark bedroom

The day didn’t end well. I woke up with a migraine which got progressively worse as the morning went on. I left a community meeting partway through the noon hour, afraid I was going to vomit. (I did, later in the afternoon. Twice.) Spent the rest of the day in my bed, sick as a dog. When I have a day like this, where I don’t feel well, I get really down. Enough said.

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My #photo365 project on Tumblr.