Craig Holland is an illustrator that has released an interesting coloring book that is graphic novel / comic book inspired where colorists can not only color the art as they choose but also add their own wording.
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Lets get to know Craig Holland
Do you remember the first thing that you drew and if so what was it?
The earliest memory I have is drawing swirls in a loose leaf notebook with a no. 2 pencil. I think I was going for a tornado.
Do you have any formal art training or are you self taught?
I received formal art training from the New Hampshire Institute of Art. In 2014, I received my BFA in Illustration. During my time at the Institute, I took courses that refined my fine art drawing skills and explored my illustrative style. Having the formal art foundation really helped me create a base and help my art grow.
What are your favorite things/topics to draw/illustrate?
A variety of things that typically involve animals, nature, and perspective. I live in Southern New Hampshire surrounded by a plethora of wildlife and it inspires me to create characters.
Where do you create your drawings? Can you describe what your workspace looks like?
I will create my drawings in two locations. In my basement, I have a drawing table, which is where I start the pencil drawing and the ink portion of my artwork. If I do any scanning of pencils, I have a computer with a two monitor setup in my bedroom. That computer is meant for digital inking if I’m working on a book or if I’m coloring a piece in Photoshop.
What is your drawing process like? Do you prefer to finish a drawing in one sitting, work on it over a number of sittings or do you switch between drawings that you are working on? Or do you do something else?
I try to do each part into sections. On weekdays, I might only have a few hours to work on artwork. I will try to sit down have the pencil portion done in one sitting. The next day or so, I might come back to see if I need to make any revisions. The next portion would be adding inks or scanning into Photoshop. Once I’m done the inking portion, I would come back in a day or so before moving forward. I try to stagger a little each day so I’m always going in with fresh eyes.
Do you listen to music while you illustrate, if so, what are your musical tastes?
Quite the variety. I predominately listen to hip-hop such as Blueprint, Masta Ace, DJ Shadow, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Big L. I also listen to other bands such as Silverchair, Metallica, and the Lemonheads. There is also music from video games and movies that I listen to such as Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat. It truly ranges on what type of mood that I’m in.
Does your workspace/environment influence your art work at all?
My personal computer workspace is covered with various images to inspire me. One in particular is art from other artists that I enjoy, both professional artists and other artist friends that I have. In addition, there are pictures I have of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, basketball players I look up to including Reggie Lewis and Spud Webb, and other images I’ve collected over the years. In terms of environment, I live in a densely wooded area. So I see quite a few animals and plant life that inspire me to create.
You have published a coloring book/s please tell us what drew you to the coloring book market and a bit about your book and your inspiration for it
What drew me to the coloring book market (no pun intended) was how diverse coloring books have become. I’ve seen in the past few years people my age and older were using coloring books as a way to deal with their anxiety. Someone recommended that I make a coloring/comic book and I thought that would actually be a fun idea. I thought it would be nice knowing something I created would help someone with their anxiety and other issues.
My coloring/comic book is titled ‘Color Me Reggie.’ The premise of the book is that it’s an interactive coloring book and a comic book. The reader can color in the panels and write in the dialogue. There are also other sections for coloring in characters as well as variant covers. Since the coloring portion would be interactive, I figured the writing portion could be interactive as well. Also, that is normally is how I write dialogue by waiting until the image is drawn and think of it on the spot.
What do you look forward to doing in the next 6 months in the coloring world?
Promoting and getting ‘Color Me Reggie’ out into the world. I funded the Kickstarter for it back in June and they were fully printed last August. Right now I want to spread the world via social media and at comic conventions. I’m working on a children’s book now, I hope to promote ‘Color Me Reggie’ as much as I can. In about a year, I hope to make a sequel to ‘Color Me Reggie.’
What was the feeling like when you first seen your art work published in a coloring book?
I was honestly dumbfounded holding my own book in my hands. I spent so much time drawing and formatting the files that I thought the final product wouldn’t be a shock. Seeing the binding and that glossy cover really caught me off guard. It hit me and I thought, “Wow. This is real.”
What did it feel like to see your art work colored in by someone else?
I’ve seen one child color in my book so far. I became giddy while coloring it in and seeing their color choices. I hope to see more to come!
Do you color as well illustrate/draw/publish books?
I color mostly in Adobe Photoshop with my Intuos Pro tablet. If I’m at a convention or away from my computer, I will color in either prismacolor markers or colored pencils. It can be therapeutic and I really focus in on building color.
It can be very difficult managing day to day life as well as publishing a coloring book. Can you tell us about your daily routine and how you manage your time?
If there was a way to add 12 extra hours into a day, I’d be golden! I work Monday thru Friday and get out at 3:30. After relaxing from my day, I will work on art between 5-6. After dinner, I try to work spend another hour working on a project. On weekdays, I try to average 1.5 – 2 hours worth of work. I figure I can get projects done little by little. Over the weekend, I usually get up early in the morning and get 3-4 hours worth of work done. By night time, I get maybe a few more hours to work again. My thinking is that doing a little each day can make long strides in the end.
Publishing can be a creative and a chaotic experience with a lot of learning curves along the way. Tell us the best and worst experiences that you have had creating your coloring book
The best experience that I had is knowing the exact dimension of each page and not worry about color correcting after print. Since the interior pages are black and white, I don’t have to worry about the colors being off. The worst I experience I had was formatting the pages into Adobe Indesign. In the end, it’s not too bad since I use Indesign so infrequently.
What is your favorite treat/reward for a job well done?
Either a celebratory burrito, a movie/series of movies, or losing myself in a video game.
Connect with Craig Holland
Where to buy coloring books and pages by Craig HollandAmazon
Happy coloring x