It’s apparently spring now, not that my little town in Pennsylvania feels at all like springtime. (We got snow a few days ago!) You know what does feel like spring, though? This coloring book, Inkspirations: The Art of Grace!
This Christian coloring book for women, illustrated by Erin Leigh and featuring a wide variety of scriptures, has some simply lovely floral designs to color. There are other designs too: a stack of teacups, a house, a sewing machine, dragonflies. It’s such a great way to greet the springtime — well, at least wait for the springtime to catch up, anyway.
Keep reading for a review of the book and an interview with its illustrator, Erin Leigh!
A huge thank you to the team at Inkspirations for providing the review copy for this showcase! Also, this page contains some affiliate links. That means that if you buy anything after clicking my links, at no additional cost to you, you’ll be helping support Cleverpedia. Thank you!
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A Look Inside Inkspirations: The Art of Grace
Inkspirations: The Art of Grace was released on Tuesday, March 14. It aims to inspire Christian women, whether they are mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, or friends, pairing Erin Leigh’s lovely illustrations with devotions and proverbs.
The book is softcover and substantial, with a glossy cover. There are 32 designs to color, each on one side of sturdy, perforated pages. Like other Inkspirations books, the reverse side of the page includes inspirational quotes and devotions, and repeats motifs from the design opposite.
Read the interview with Erin Leigh below to learn more about her inspirations and creative process!
An Interview with Erin Leigh, Illustrator
Cleverpedia: What led you to creating and publishing coloring books?
Erin Leigh: I have always loved to draw and doodle. I seem to have doodles everywhere. About 5 years ago someone suggested that I create a coloring book and I always had the idea in the back of my head. When the adult coloring craze started I wanted to create one, and I finally did!
Cleverpedia: Besides illustration, what other kinds of art do you create?
Erin Leigh: I love to play and experiment with mixed media collage. I love combining different materials and textures such as paper, fabric, paint, and wood, to create different pieces. I also enjoy playing with color and discovering different color palettes.
Cleverpedia: What role do you see your book playing for the women who color it?
Erin Leigh: I hope that my book is a great big exhale for women; a chance to relax; a reminder to give themselves a break. I hope it’s an easy, accessible way for women to be creative in their faith, in the midst of a busy schedule. I hope it brings peace and joy, especially when our lives can feel so hurried and chaotic.
Cleverpedia: Where does your inspiration come from?
Erin Leigh: Everywhere! Truly I am constantly inspired to create from my environment. I keep a little notebook of ideas and I often feel as though my head is going to explode with all of my ideas.
This book was, of course, inspired by the Bible. Some of the imagery is very literal from each verse, but some illustrations are the result of a feeling or a thought I get from reading it.
I am also constantly inspired by the endless creativity found in nature. The infinite shapes of flowers and leaves, bugs and plants. When I get stuck in a rut I will go on a walk and collect pieces of nature to draw and doodle: the shape of a leaf, a rock, a flower, anything.
Cleverpedia: What does the process of making a page look like for you?
Erin Leigh: I start by sketching the idea in pencil, usually on graph paper. I erase and redo a lot, and when I have it just the way I like it, I trace over it with tracing paper and a black pen. Next, I scan it into Adobe Illustrator and “clean it up.” It edit and move things around until I get it just the way I want it.
Cleverpedia: What kind of environment do you like to create while you make your art? Do you listen to music? Do you surround yourself with other sources of inspiration?
Erin Leigh: I LOVE to create in my bright little studio upstairs. It is my happy place, for sure. But in reality, with two small boys, I create everywhere! I sketch and jot down ideas in my sketchbook at baseball practice, in the front yard while the boys are riding their scooters, or at the kitchen table, while they are playing legos. I am a night owl, so I love to stay up late and listen to music and lose myself in the work.
Cleverpedia: What’s next for you? Are there more coloring books in your future?
Erin Leigh: I hope so! I loved the process! It has truly been a dream come true. I still can’t believe it! I have about hundred ideas for more coloring books and different kinds of books, but for now I am going to rest because it was way more work than I ever dreamed, but so, very worth every minute!
Cleverpedia: Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing a creative career?
Erin Leigh: Yes! (And I’m preaching to myself here…)
Create, create, create… and your artistic style will emerge.
Experiment and play and put it out into the world.
Don’t be afraid to make bad, ugly art. Beyond the fear, lies treasure! I promise.
Make stuff that you love, even when you are working on a project that you may not be your first love.
Put down your phone and don’t compare yourself to others.
Go for a walk.
Seek beauty in your daily life and record it, in whatever way that looks like for you.
Try to create every day. Be it a doodle, a tiny watercolor, a crayon drawing.
Feed your creative soul!
Cleverpedia: I love that! Where can people see more of your work?
Erin Leigh: They can visit my website: ArtByErinLeigh.com. Stop by! I have lots of tutorials and free printables to share.
Cleverpedia: Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your book and creative process, Erin!
Here are a few sample pages from the book:
Wow, I just love Erin’s artwork, the florals especially! They are just really loose and fun to color. There are other designs that feature teacups, a sewing machine, birds, and more. Most of the pages incorporate text somewhere within the image, usually a proverb or a devotion.
Here are a few sample pages:
Here’s the first page I’ve colored so far:
I just love the florals here! The spaces are just the right size for markers, and the lines are thick enough that coloring with markers didn’t have to be a super careful process. I used my Tombows.
Another thing I love is this pink, green, brown, and gold color scheme! I think it looks very springtime. As usual, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, specifically this pin:
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Then, because I couldn’t resist, I topped it all off with shiny gold gel pen goodness! My gel pen is from this set of three.
Check out my speed coloring video below:
I started with the background and worked inward to the frame. It’s so nice to have the colors all picked out ahead of time, because then I can just focus on what looks best where!
In total, the page took exactly one hour from start to finish (I know because I filmed it!). I really enjoyed pulling together the color scheme and then bringing the design to life with it, and I am looking forward to coloring my next page!
Okay, I’m sold… how do I get a copy?
If the same pages and colored page I shared above look like they’re up your alley, I encourage you to pick up a copy on Amazon! The book is just $10.95, or 34 cents per page.
Don’t forget to share your colored pages! Tag them with the #inkspirationscoloring hashtag on Instagram or Twitter in order to connect with the rest of the Inkspirations community.
Thanks again to Inkspirations for providing the review and giveaway copies!
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