Nick Dolan joined my Facebook group early on, and has been a contributing member of the group. It’s been great having a guy’s perspective in the group, and he agreed to answer some questions for us about his very unique art.
Q: What inspired you to start creating art for coloring books?
Nick: When I share my art with people, the most common responses are always along the lines of “Wow, I’d love to see that colored!” or “Oh neat, I would love to color that.” Two or so years ago, enough of those responses planted the idea of a coloring book in my head, and there it remained until a few months ago when I finally got around to compiling a selection of my work for publishing in a coloring book format. The media hype about the resurgence of coloring as a popular hobby among adults began right about the same time I began to put together my coloring book. That coincidence seemed like a good omen.
Q: How long have you been drawing?
Nick: I’ve been drawing this style of super-detailed, psychedelic line art since I was probably 10 or 11. My art has evolved and improved over the years, but it remains strikingly similar to the weird shapes and squiggles I would compulsively doodle as a child. Throughout most of high school and college, the limit of my drawing was doodling in the margins of school notes. A few years ago I started to draw just to draw, rather than as a distraction from other things that were happening around me (doodling). Since that point, its been really hard to stop drawing!
Q: Do you work entirely digitally, or do you prefer pen and paper when creating?
Nick: I draw everything on paper with Faber-Castell pens. After finishing the pen and paper illustration, I scan it, edit as necessary in GIMP (the free and open source equivalent to Photoshop), and then convert it into vector art with Inkscape (the free and open source equivalent to Adobe Illustrator). This allows me to scale the illustration to any size necessary without distortion of the image resulting in especially high quality and “clean” prints.
Q: Do you make/sell other kinds of art?
Nick: I’ve produced downtempo electronic music under the name “Vegenaut” for almost 10 years now. I’ve had a few releases through record labels such as Harmonious Discord Recordings and Mindspring Music and I also have an intermittently updated soundcloud page featuring most of my unreleased material.
Q: When coloring your own art, what is your favorite medium?
Nick: I like using fine-tipped pens. My art is typically so intricate and full of tiny details that anything bigger than a fine tipped pin doesn’t provide enough precision.
Q: Do you enjoy relaxing with coloring books by other artists? If so, do you have a favorite artist or book?
Nick: There are two other coloring books in particular that I love. ‘Doodle Invasion’ by Zifflin, and ‘Forbidden Activities for Neglected Children’ by Skinner. There are tons of books out there with designs that look really enjoyable to color, but when it actually comes to buying books I tend to lean towards the weirder, more bizarre stuff.
Q: What color or colors do you most love to work with?
Nick: Everyone thinks I’m weird because my favorite color is brown. I love all sorts of earth tones though. When I color, I have this really bad habit of trying to use ALL THE COLORS. I don’t consider myself a good colorist at all. I don’t really have a great eye for what colors go together and how to artistically limit your palette to good effect. Usually the pieces I finish coloring look like technicolor explosions of detail. This is why its very nice to have a published coloring book out there, I usually far prefer other people’s coloring of my art to my own coloring!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your art. Do you have a favorite piece that you created?
Nick: I don’t think I have a favorite piece in particular, but I do have a selection of favorite little creatures and/or details from all my pieces.
Q: Other than creating coloring book art, what interesting hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
Nick: My other artistic passion is producing music and playing piano. I also love exploring the outdoors and living in the American southwest, I have virtually limitless opportunities to do so. My weekends usually involve some combination of hiking, camping, backpacking, hot spring soaking, offroading, climbing, mineral collecting, exploring old mines, etc.
Q: If you had to choose one superpower, what would it be?
Nick: Omniscience. There is so much out there we don’t know, to understand it all sounds tempting to say the least.
Q: Who is your favorite artist?
Nick: Without hesitation I can say its Jim Woodring. I can’t place my finger on why, but even though everything Jim draws is extremely unique and bizarre, it all feels very familiar. I look at his art almost daily and ‘Frank’ is my spirit animal.
Q: Is there some person, place or thing that inspires you when you are creating your art?
Nick: Nature/Wilderness/Life inspires me. The morphologies of life on all different scales, microscopic and macroscopic. I’m also greatly inspired by the landscapes of the american southwest, stray alien transmissions, and yogurt.
Q: Why did you call your first book ‘Vegebook’?
Nick: I’ve produced music under the name ‘Vegenaut’ since I was 18 and this has since become my moniker. I’ve gotten in the habit of naming everything I produce or make vege[thing]. For example, vegedoodles, vegetunes, vegeshoes, vegecakes, you get the picture. A friend once told me that his favorite thing about my art (in all its forms) was that I create an entire universe/lore/mythology for it to exist in. That’s really stuck with me and I’d like to continue that trend.