National Coloring Book Day 2018 Was Epic Awesome!

For three years in a row I have held a Have Color Will Travel
National Coloring Book Day celebration at Court Street Coffee
here in Seguin, Texas:)

With over 45 people in physical attendance here in Seguin, Texas, and quite a few others who participated in my coloring awesomeness in spirit (as far away as California to one side and Spain to another!), I think it was fair for me to have titled this blog post "National Coloring Book Day 2018 Was Epic Awesome!" 

I really wish that I had had the presence of mind to get a head count at Court Street Coffee last Thursday because when I explain this event that I have now hosted THREE times to non-coloring sorts of folks, they are dumbstruck by the sheer size of the group I've been able to encourage to gather together just to color! I'm not offering live music or free food, there is no raffle and it's not a fund-raiser. All I have to offer is a free coloring page and my enthusiasm for them to share their creativity with mine.

And, what gorgeous creativity came through in this year's coloring contest! I had to puzzle over choosing the winners for hours, weighing in my mind what quality might put one entrant over another, because I promised the good folks at Court Street Coffee, who generously donate prizes for the top winners in three age categories, that I would indeed choose winners! 

So here we go with a bit of a detailed, behind-the-scenes, look at the winners and runners up (I can't have just one winner - it just hurts - so I try to find something I've created to offer the runner up that they will hopefully enjoy). 

In the adult category, the top coloring prize went to Bekah Sikes.

So many of the bookmarks had such lovely shading done by both pencils and markers, but in the end, what pushed Bekah's bookmark to the top was that her shading wasn't just visually beautiful, but it also added a three-dimensional depth to the illustration; the blue scales look round, the swirls look as if they are going inward, there is movement outward with the central circle illustration. I had 5 bookmarks vying for the top, and I narrowed it down to this lovely example of shading because of that extra level of visual interest.

The adult runner up was Karen Roberson.

Runner up for the adult category was just brutal for me! So many fabulous colorings!! Why Karen's won finally was that within my illustration she continued the patterns I started but in new blank spaces where it made perfect sense for her to do so, she added complementary new patterns as well. It's sorta known that I am a sucker for folks who "color-outside-the-lines," as it were; I absolutely LOVE when folks add their own unique mark to my black line drawings! The lines are not the boss of you or me or anyone else! There is no wrong way to color an illustration, and Karen adding colorful new patterns to "It's All Connected" really made me happy:)

In the High School/Junior High division, the top winner was Morgan Hamilton.

The whimsy of Morgan's color choices and the free-spirited nature of her color patterns just made me smile:) Coloring with pencils on printer paper is rather challenging as the paper just doesn't have enough tooth to grab the waxy pigment of the pencil and lay it down smoothly, but Morgan did a lovely job of dealing with that coloring obstacle with what appears to be firm and strategic pressure.

In the High School/Junior High division the runner-up bookmark belonged to Jonah Reilly.

I actually loathe all the colors Jonah chose (I'm most definitely not a pastel gal!), but somehow the way he pulled them all together made me finally like pink! That he used colored pencils on really rough watercolor paper also, I think, gave the pale colors a depth that changed my opinion of them in his bookmark. 

In the Elementary division I'm really happy to say that the top winner was Courtlyn Ward.

This young lady, 10, has been coming to National Coloring Book Day for all three of the years I've held the celebration, and each year she has tons of detailed questions to ask me about art, drawing, how to use different coloring tools and where I get my inspiration from when I draw. Courtlyn is a little sponge, and I have seen her coloring grow more confident and more adventurous as she has matured. She is now shading, using patterns, varying her pencil pressure, choosing disparate colors and making them work together - this bookmark is the whole package! Yes, I realize that I may not be an impartial judge because I am now acquainted with this young artist, but quite frankly, once you've joined in one of my coloring meet-ups, I know you! No one leaves a stranger from a Have Color Will Travel coloring event because there is something about being in a group of like-minds (folks who are all there to do one thing - color) that makes even the deepest introvert like myself comfortable talking to others, even if all the conversation is mostly about the art of coloring:)

And, the Elementary division runner-up was Tess Mathews.

Tess is 6 and her commitment to this very simple color scheme blew me away. I was also quite impressed with her disregard for the lines of the smaller spaces while maintaining an obviously thought-out color pattern. I know that sounds counter-intuitive to what may appear to be the goal of coloring (staying in the lines), but as an art educator, I feel that is more important to encourage young minds in their creativity, period, rather than to subject it to arbitrary rules. For example, staying in the lines when coloring? That's an arbitrary rule that may go against the young child's overall plan for the coloring page. Some non-arbitrary coloring rules that should absolutely be held tight to? Take good and respectful care of your coloring supplies, put them where they belong when you're finished, and when someone compliments your work, politely say thank you (That last one is a toughie, and I'm still working on it, honestly!).

And, there you have the winning coloring pages from the Have Color Will Travel National Coloring Book Day Coloring Contest and Meet-up. But, you've got to believe me when I say I adored every single bookmark that got colored on August 2nd! Every. Single. One. I love them all so much, from the one that was colored solid black in crayon (Such commitment to a single color is to be commended!) to the one that was colored entirely with Sharpie pointillism (Yes, pointillism - itty bitty dots used to shade and fill in large spaces!! Soo detailed, soo cool!!), that I decided to take a glamour shot of each one and pull together a montage for y'all near and far to enjoy. Intermixed with a photo of each bookmark are some coloring candid pictures and video I took that day, and it is all pulled together to the jaunty jazz stylings of Thelonious Monk ("We See," specifically).

I hope you all enjoyed this up close look at the winners of and participants in this year's National Coloring Book Day Coloring Contest! If you enjoyed coloring this year's illustration, you may also enjoy coloring my my full-sized coloring book, Doodled Blooms! You can find it HERE on Amazon or also locally on the shelves of You're So Crafty here in Seguin, Texas. Oh, and remember: my coloring bookmark "It's All Connected" is free to download through the month of August once you sign up for my email list! Once September rolls around, though, it will only be available for purchase in my Blog Store, a new part of that will be launching in full after Labor Day that I'm super excited/terrified about! But, if it is the free pages that you enjoy, don't worry - each month I plan to share a new illustration with y'all, and hopefully keep you coloring all year long:)