You know how coloring books are all the rage? It can be overwhelming to pick one, can’t it? Several weeks ago I was asked if I would be willing to look at Meditations: Beautiful Bible Verses for Coloring by Lorien A. Normally I say “No” to these kind of requests, but what caught my eye is that Lorien grew up on the M field and adds some Indian flare to her work. If, at times, we don’t have a soft spot for each other, Lord help us, this world will be a cold place, so I said, “Yes, send it to me.”
I don’t really know much about coloring books, so here is my unofficial take: the drawings are engaging, she has a variety of suggestions for how to use this book to connect with God, and the quality of the paper is impressive. The paper is thick and has perforated edges, so you can easily tear out your art work! I have enjoyed coloring in it :).
Her publisher has agreed to give one to one of you. Fun, fun! See below for more details, but first, I asked Lorien if I could ask her a few questions. I thought it might be interesting to talk with someone who makes coloring books. I was right. Lorien is interesting!
Hi Lorien, this is my first time to get to talk to a real, live illustrator! How exciting. First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself? Where do you live? Are you as artistic and cool as I’m picturing?
Hi! I’m a wife of one and mother of three and I live in Sydney, Australia. I was born here in Sydney, but spent 12 years as a kid/teen living in South Asia and the Middle East with my family. I doubt that I’m actually as artistic and cool as you are picturing, although I do love to make art, and occasionally my kids call me cool, but that’s because they are all 6 or under. I don’t expect it will last for much longer! I spell colouring with a U, but don’t hold that against me. ;)
I have several artistic nieces (my skill as a child was organizing people, not drawing), so I’m wondering, did you draw as a kid? What kind of art were you interested in at a young age and how did that develop over time?
I remember when I first really ‘clicked’ into art. I was about nine years old and my teacher at the time, (who I remember less than fondly) gave us an opportunity to do still life drawing with charcoal. I loved it, and got some much-treasured positive feedback, so I decided to ask for art supplies for my birthday and to keep ‘doing art’ and see what happened. I haven’t really stopped since, although my creative pursuits have taken many forms since then. Growing up in South Asia, one art form I was particularly taken by was the mehendi, or henna decoration that was common around celebration and festival times. I learnt to do henna by watching and practising, and that kind of design has stuck with me and influenced my style quite a bit.
What’s a little bit of the back story on your coloring book? (I am a sucker for back stories!)
It’s funny. There are thing in life you plan for and work towards and dream about for years and years as they slowly take shape and come to fruition. This colouring book is not one of those stories! Last April I drew a colouring page after a discussion on Facebook with a few friends, more as a dare than anything else. I had a six month old baby and two little boys, my husband was studying full time and we were preparing to move overseas. There was nothing on my radar at that time that had indicated drawing a colouring book should even blip on my long to do list.
I ended up drawing three colouring pages, then, as I was too lazy to keep emailing files to the surprising amount of people who wanted a copy, I set up a Facebook group so I could upload files there and whoever wanted them could get hold of them easily. The group grew alarmingly fast (there were over 6000 people there in just a few months) and one person who joined early on was Cecily, my now, publisher, who saw my art, couldn’t sleep for all the ideas running around her head and decided something HAD to be done.
God made it pretty clear that this opportunity, as crazy as it was, was from him, so I started drawing and now, there is ‘Meditations’ and our fourth print run in the five months since it was released was delivered today! It has truly been the most surprising, exhausting, joyful, fly by the seat of your pants, adventure I have ever been on. God has done something special and I am so thankful to have been allowed to come along for the ride. The best thing is having the opportunity to encourage people to delight in Gods word and enjoy the sweet gift of creativity he gives us.
What’s your process for drawing a coloring book page? Is there a process?
Because my work at the moment is all about Scripture, there is no lack of excellent stimulus material! I start by choosing a Bible verse or short passage, asking God to bring ones to mind that would be helpful for people to meditate on. I often ask for suggestions from other people because I love hearing the stories as to why the verses are significant or special to them. Next, I do the hand lettering of the verse, then I add the design. Sometimes the design and verse happen at the same time, but usually the verse comes first. I love having the opportunity to meditate and pray as I letter and draw the pages.
What do you love about coloring pages? And for those who are new to them, how can they draw a person closer to God and closer to themselves?
Don’t tell anyone, but I have honestly never been into colouring in a traditional sense, as I much prefer to draw! However, I have loved using art to reflect on Gods word for ages, and I really like how scripture colouring pages take all the anxiety out of producing something ‘beautiful’ from scratch – that terrifying blank page moment and frees up people’s brain space to actually meditate on the scripture. As people occupy their hands and engage their senses with the colours and the repetitive movement of colouring, they can find a small stillness that is quite hard to come by in everyday life. In this quiet space, they can listen more intently to God and hear what he has to say to them through the words of the Bible. They can focus and pray and take delight in great truths and simple, unplugged joys.
Working on any other projects now?
Yes! I am one drawing away from finishing my second colouring book ‘Reflections’ which is due for release in late April. I’m also knee deep in the project of partnership development and preparation for moving my family to a different continent later this year, so let’s just say I am not getting bored!
Thank you so much for your time!
You’re very welcome! Thanks for having me!
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing to receive one of Lorien’s coloring books. Comment ideas: What art do you create? Are you raising any artists? What’s been some of the joys and/or challenges of pursuing your art at this stage of life? What do you appreciate about art?
(For more information US residents, can check here, those in the UK (who also distribute in Europe) here , and the Australian site is here. You can purchase and download individual pages very reasonably priced. There will also be an easter one! So, if you’re looking for something for your small group, Sunday School class, Youth Group, or some other club, check out the choices!)