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Break the Rules with Coloring

This past spring, I published a coloring book of floral mandalas called Flowers All Around. (It’s available NOW on Amazon!) I had so much fun drawing these designs. I can honestly say it was one of my favorite personal projects I’ve ever done.




Mandala designs are popular in adult coloring for their repetitive and intricate nature. I like to draw them using floral elements because I’m obsessed with drawing flowers and patterns. I’ve created floral mandalas with a variety of media—paint, pencil, ink, digital, etc. I often draw them when I don’t know what to draw. So I had a lot of practice before I got the idea to even make this book.

Adult coloring books are a great way to relieve stress and create works of art in the process. These aren’t the brand of coloring books you used as a kid. These designs are often very detailed and can be beautiful and sophisticated—though there are some fun quirky ones as well. There are adult coloring books for just about any subject matter you can think…

The Patterns of My Life and InkTober 2015

My relationship with arts and crafts has always been an on and off thing. One minute, I'm bursting with creativity, and then the next, I'll put aside my sketchbooks and craft supplies for months, or even years. I guess you could say it's an ongoing pattern in my life.

When I was a little girl, I loved to draw and paint, so I've always been a bit of an artist. Growing up, art was one of my favorite classes. In high school, though, I thought I wanted to pursue a career in math or science. Upon entering college, I majored in architecture for my first semester, which required a basic drawing class. That was all it took. True to form, I returned to art once more.

After receiving my art degree back in 2005, I suffered from lack of focus and direction. I knew I loved art, but what to do with it? During school, it seemed like my choices were limited to narrative illustration, graphic design, fine art, or teaching—all great, but none felt exactly right for me. I half-heartedly pursued children's illustration like my sister, Dani Jones, who has built a nice career for herself in the field. I did not stick with it, though, and if there's anything you need to become a successful freelance artist, besides talent, it's persistence. (Read Dani's thoughts on her success as an artist on her blog here.)

http://www.danijones.com/

When illustration didn't pan out, art was put on the back burner again. I found a job as a book compositor, laying out pages for trade and textbooks for various publishers, which is where I am today. I don't regret anything, though. I like what I do for the most part, and I have learned a lot from it. Certainly, a majority of my technical knowledge developed while on the job, such as experience with Adobe software and learning some of the processes behind book publishing. Plus, I was lucky to have found a job with regular hours and a regular paycheck, and with not much else going on in my life up till now, I had the luxury of time to develop new hobbies and discover the things that really interest me, such as crafting and my relatively newfound love of pattern design. Not that I always used that time wisely, seeing as it's been ten years since school and I still don't feel like I've reached my artistic or professional goals. But I've made my peace with it. I'm an artist and always will be, whether I'm making a living at it or not. All you can do is move forward.

My sister always tells me to just draw. Draw every day. And I still have trouble with it. But this month I'm determined to follow her advice by participating in InkTober next month. InkTober is an artistic exercise created by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009, where artists around the world take part in making ink drawings throughout the month of October as a way to develop one's skills and drawing habits. I did it a couple years ago, and it was really fun. Here's some of the drawings I did that year:

InkTober 2013

These were just small sketches done on index cards. This year, I would like to create some full-page pieces as well. I encourage you to follow along with me and other artists around the web by searching for the hashtag #inktober on various social media sites. And if you're an artist, try it out yourself! I will be posting my drawings regularly via Instagram and Facebook, with occasional updates here on the blog. So keep a look out starting on October 1st!

Niki



LINKS:

View my sister's work and read her blog posts here.

Learn more about InkTober here.




RELATED POSTS:



From my art and illustration website:

See my InkTober sketches from 2013.



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