may i have your attention please? we’re gonna have a problem here …

Scenario: I am sitting at my desk covered with pencils and pens coloring one of my illustrations. Someone walks past my open door and suddenly I feel like a little kid. Guilty that I am “playing” and not doing more important things. But I am working. Really.

Over the past few months, I have found that it is absolutely necessary to color each of the designs I am illustrating for a coloring book and coloring pages. First, because it allows me to uncover flaws in the design itself. Perhaps there is a line missing that throws off the parameters of a space. Or a line that causes uneven spacing. Or maybe it’s just a messy line. Minutia for sure, but it is important for me to think about audience and how an audience might approach a design.

If someone is filling a space with color and he or she realizes there’s a flaw, it could be frustrating, yes? And people who love to color seem to enjoy the relaxation the act of coloring provides … so I test out my designs.

In the design below, the bottom curl on the right side of the rod puppet needed another line to complete the overlap of hair over the the blue “cloud” curve in the background. A very small detail, but without actually coloring the design I may have never found it. And it bugs me. The solution? I pull up the line drawing in Procreate on my iPad and correct the issue before making it available for others to use.


Sometimes we can fudge an illustration and make it look okay (I used this flawed version in some of my social media), but for final designs ready to be sold, I like to be sure they are right.

Another reason I color my illustrations is so that I can use them in my social media accounts, for parts of my website and other marketing materials. And, I can’t lie: I do find laying down some color very enjoyable – especially on a wet, grey afternoon when it’s too crummy for yard work or a walk with the dogs.


A black and white illustration and a colorized version for testing. The process of coloring allows met to catch potential issues before someone else does.

Lion fix

While testing this illustration, I discovered a missing line at the bottom of the lion’s leg. I added into my master drawing on the iPad, and also added small dots along the bottom of the leg to make that space more clear, and to imply a little dimension.