National Coloring Book Day is Here, Again!!

by Michelle M. Johnson

(Click  HERE to get coloring this year's National Coloring Book Day
 illustration right away, otherwise keep reading, and the link will also
show up at the end of this blog post's brief journey:)
Four years ago I had never heard of such a thing as National Coloring Book Day (seriously, google it - it's on the National Register), but as of tomorrow, Thursday, August 2nd, 2018, I will have held THREE Have Color Will Travel National Coloring Book Day gatherings at Court Street Coffee Shop here in Seguin, Texas. The last two of these coloring meet-ups of mine have been coloring competitions as well, with folks coloring an illustration that I created especially for that day's event. Top prize winners in three judged categories (adult, high school/junior high, and elementary) receive goodies generously donated by the coffee shop (the folks at Court Street Coffee are amazing supporters of all things creative here in Seguin!).

I learn a bit more about hosting these events with each occasion, and last year's takeaway for me was that an 8 1/2 x 11 coloring page was too much for folks to color-in completely with the short time span of our gathering (last year it was 2 hours; this year we are coloring from 4pm-7pm). Folks had to take their uncompleted pages home and bring them back to the shop the next evening for me to judge. It wasn't a disaster, and we all still had fun, but it left room for some strategic improvement on my part, for sure!

So, this year I created 2in x 7in bookmark coloring pages. Yes, bookmarks, plural! Once I started creating coloring bookmarks, I couldn't stop! I had no idea drawing on such a small scale could be so much fun! I capped myself at four because time was running out for me to finish the drawings before August 2nd (this summer has been especially busy for myself and my family as we are preparing to send my son, Sam, off to college in Chicago), and decided to add an extra bit of what I hoped would be fun for folks: I ran a poll on which of the 4 bookmarks was the crowd's most favorite illustration on all the social media platforms I enjoy (FB, Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat). My thought was the winner of this poll would be the coloring competition illustration for National Coloring Book Day 2018, and I would also make it available to download for free from my blog for the month of August as a way for me to say thank you to voter participants for sharing their time with me and my National Coloring Book Day project.

And, this leads you (since you are reading this post:) to the reason you are here: which of the 4 bookmarks will be available for you to download, print, and color for free!

And, the winner, by a large margin on some platforms and by just a smidgen on others, was...


I found it very interesting that this one, the most detailed and crazily patterned of my drawings, was the illustration that most folks were drawn to (pun intended;) - I am always on the lookout for creating too detailed an image because such a thing can cause some folks to feel overwhelmed, a feeling I never want to inspire in a person who comes to my drawings for relaxation! But, despite its detail, this bookmark was the crowd's favorite. I do know for a fact that it can be colored in under two hours as my partner, Steve, was awesome enough to test drive it for me at last Saturday's Seguin Public Library's Summer Seasonal Coloring meet-up:)

All of the bookmarks ended up having titles
 in my imagination, and this one is called
"It's All Connected."
And, if you are curious as to my super scientific votes-collection-and-tabulation process to determine the most popular bookmark, I documented my process for all to see:

Yes, this is a Hello Kitty notepad. Yes, I am 45. I have a suspicion
these office supplies are for us older folks, so I am not ashamed at all;)
So, to get the link to download your free "It's All Connected" bookmark and start coloring it for tomorrow's National Coloring Book Day event (if you're local) or just because free bookmarks and coloring are awesome (if you live elsewhere, live here & are busy, or live here & are an introvert who doesn't like large gatherings) hop on over to my FREE COLORING OF THE MONTH tab here on my blog and get coloring!

My heart was warmed by the truly enthusiastic response online to all four of the illustrations I created for this year's National Coloring Book Day gathering. It was that warm response that gave me the push to do something that I had long been told I "should" do, but had been too timid to undertake: create a blog store and set my website up for e-commerce. As of today, the Have Color Will Travel Blog Store is open for business, and I am only moderately nauseated by that fact. At this point, there are only a few items (all four of the book marks I just created, a selection of coloring cards, and signed copies of my coloring book, Doodled Blooms), but I have quite a few ideas for new mini-coloring adventures (I'm super excited to try my hand at creating coloring postcards once we get back from taking my son to Illinois!), and it feels nice to have a spot all my own to offer signed copies of my upcoming books (Feminism Is For Everyone is getting my full attention come Labor Day!) for folks who don't live here in Seguin, Texas.

So, get coloring your Have Color Will Travel National Coloring Book Day bookmark, visit my blog shop and see what's I've got available (especially if your favorite bookmark was NOT chosen to be the free illustration - the other three are in the shop and YOU get to choose from the 3 different types of paper I can print them on, AND they come with a cellophane display bag to protect your colored work of art!), and many thanks for reading all the way to the end; folks who read to the end are my favorites!

P.S. Be sure to get "It's All Connected" FREE this month!! Come September, it goes back into the blog store and I will choose a new Free Coloring of the Month:)







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