When I was asked to review Wendy Piersall’s coloring books, I wondered why the name sounded so familiar. Then I realized that I knew the name from my entrepreneur reading online. In addition to being an artist, Wendy is a well-known authority on blogging, web 2.0 marketing, entrepreneurship, and social media.
Her blogging about being a single mom and activities for kids led her back to drawing, which led to creating her first coloring book with Ulysses Press. Wendy shares some of her thoughts with us in this interview.
Q: What inspired you to start creating art for coloring books?
Wendy: I used to create coloring pages for children on my kid’s activities blogs. As I was brainstorming ideas for new topics, I rediscovered mandalas that I used to draw when I was in college. I started drawing mandala coloring pages for kids and adults in 2009. Only a handful of people seemed to care about intricate coloring pages back then, but I drew up over 30 mandalas at the time because they were extremely fun to create. Ulysses Press found these mandalas in 2013 and asked if I would be interested in creating a whole book of mandalas – and I jumped at the chance.
Q: How long have you been drawing?
Wendy: I’ve drawn my whole life, but didn’t get any joy out of it until I was an adult. I’m naturally artistic, but I would always get frustrated that the art I created was never as pretty as I saw it in my head. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I could silence my inner critic enough to enjoy painting and drawing and create on a regular basis.
Q: Do you work entirely digitally, or do you prefer pen and paper when creating?
Wendy: I have many years’ graphic design experience, so I draw my coloring books with a tablet using Adobe Illustrator. I really need the flexibility of being able to make changes without having to start over from scratch. When I am drawing or painting for fun, though, I always prefer pen/paints and paper!
Q: Do you make/sell other kinds of art?
Wendy: Since art is such a big part of who I am, I always need a creative outlet that is not tied to my income. I paint, sew, craft and make jewelry just for the fun of it, and I usually don’t sell those items.
Q: When coloring your own art, what is your favorite medium?
Wendy: My favorite thing to do is paint my mandalas with watercolors or gouache. But working with Prismacolors and gel pens are a close second!
Q: Do you enjoy relaxing with coloring books by other artists? If so, do you have a favorite artist or book?
Q: What color or colors do you most love to work with?
Wendy: This is an interesting question, because the colors I always choose to work with are not the colors I gravitate towards in other areas of my life. I really like using a whole rainbow spectrum of colors while coloring, but if it comes to home décor or clothing, I always go with muted colors or retro color combinations.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your art. Do you have a favorite piece that you created?
Wendy: My favorites are always changing, and I usually prefer my more recent work to older work. I also find it fascinating that there are such a wide variety of responses to my art. Sometimes my least favorite pieces become really popular, like the turtle mandala in my first book, Coloring Animal Mandalas. And sometimes my favorite pieces seem to get a lot less attention than I think they will. One of my favorite mandalas I’ve ever drawn is the poppy in Coloring Flower Mandalas, but it doesn’t seem to get as big of a response from readers as do other illustrations in the book.
Q: Other than creating coloring book art, what interesting hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
Wendy: I garden, cook, and go biking and boating. I live in Woodstock, IL, a tiny town on the outskirts of the Chicago suburbs that has a thriving artistic community with festivals and events all year round. I’m also really active on Facebook and Instagram.
Q: Have you had any memorable responses to your art work from collectors?
Wendy: The most memorable responses for me are from the people who have found using my coloring books to be very therapeutic. I received an email from a man from Australia who had been recently diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD who was finding a great amount of peace and healing through my book. I broke down and cried after reading his message!
Q: If you had to choose one superpower, what would it be?
Wendy: To be able to parent teenagers without fighting with them or losing my marbles. 😉 Seriously, that would be one crazy awesome super power!
Q: Who is your favorite artist?
Q: Is there some person, place or thing that inspires you when you are creating your art?
Wendy: I’ve been really focused inward lately, using meditation, visualization and journaling to inspire my work. I used to find a ton of inspiration on Pinterest, but I found that after too long, I would start feeling like everyone else had all the best ideas and I felt drained. It’s hard to feel inspired when you are so saturated with others’ ideas – it crowded out my own thoughts. I still use Pinterest, but more for ideas on technique or execution, not style or substance.